"Fire and Rain” for No. 99 GAINSCO/Bob Stallings Racing “Red Dragon” in short-lived Homestead raceGAINSCO/Bob Stallings Racing, and drivers Alex Gurney and Jon Fogarty, suffered an early exit from Sunday’s Grand Prix of Miami at Homestead-Miami Speedway where an internal engine issue sidelined the No. 99 GAINSCO Auto Insurance Corvette Daytona Prototype just 30 minutes into the timed 2-3/4-hour sprint race.Rainy conditions emerged as predicted Sunday, but that didn’t prevent starting driver Fogarty from settling in to a competitive pace on the wet track in the opening laps. Fogarty moved to fourth after an early restart and was zeroing in on the top three when he suddenly saw a burst of flame from the right tail pipe.“We lost power and we had a big oil fire coming out of the right tail pipe,” Fogarty said. “There was definitely an internal problem with the motor. They pulled the plugs, looked inside there, and didn’t see any damage, so it is something internal. We are not sure what it is at the moment, but it’s not temporary, let’s put it that way.”Gurney never had a chance to drive but GRAND-AM Road Racing officials indicated the No. 99 GAINSCO Auto Insurance Corvette Daytona Prototype and both team drivers would be awarded championship points for their ninth-place finish. A similar situation occurred with SunTrust Racing in the season-opening Rolex 24 At Daytona where both the team and drivers Ricky Taylor and Wayne Taylor were awarded points despite retiring from that race even earlier than GAINSCO did today.“The SunTrust car got points when the same thing happened to them at Daytona, both driver and team, so that’s a consolation I guess, but really kind of a crushing day,” Gurney said. “Jon said the car was coming to him as the water started to clear out so we were looking forward to hopefully having a good end to the race.”Fogarty’s fastest lap came just two circuits before the No. 99 had its issues and the time of 1:25.746 ranked as the fifth fastest lap of the race.“It’s unfortunate because the GAINSCO car was going pretty good,” Fogarty said. “As visibility got better, I started making headway on the guys in front of me and it was fun out there racing actually. The conditions weren’t too bad at the time but it is terrible what happened to GAINSCO today. If we come out of here with ninth-place points, it’s not the end of the world with as many races as we have to go.”A full 10 races remain in the 2012 GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Series and the schedule includes some of GAINSCO’s best tracks.“We have historically done well on a lot of these tracks that are coming up, so we are going to have to start winning a few to be in the hunt at the end.”
The No. 99 GAINSCO Auto Insurance Corvette Daytona Prototype, and Gurney and Fogarty, now have 72 points each in the GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Series Team and Driver Championships. Despite Sunday’s setback, both the No. 99 and Gurney and Fogarty are just 15 points out of first place in each championship.
Next up for GAINSCO/Bob Stallings Racing and the GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Series is the Global Barter 250 at New Jersey Motorsports Park (NJMP), May 11 – 13. The race can be seen live on SPEED, Sunday, May 13 at 1 p.m. EST/10 a.m. PST.