at the Chevrolet Detroit Belle Isle Grand PrixAlex Gurney and Jon Fogarty look for needed win in No. 99 GAINSCO “Red Dragon”
GAINSCO/Bob Stallings Racing, and drivers Alex Gurney and Jon Fogarty, will visit the Motor City determined to get their 2012 season back on track in the No. 99 GAINSCO Auto Insurance Corvette Daytona Prototype in this weekend’s Chevrolet Detroit GRAND-AM 200 at the Chevrolet Detroit Belle Isle Grand Prix. Following practice and qualifying on Friday, the featured two-hour Chevrolet Detroit GRAND-AM 200 sprint race can be seen live on SPEED, this Saturday, June 2, at 5 p.m. EDT/2 p.m. PDT.
Despite some competitive showings in the year’s opening four races, GAINSCO has failed to finish the last two events and placed a distant 13th in the season-opening Rolex 24 At Daytona. The team’s lone highlight of the season so far has been a second-place finish at Barber Motorsports Park in March.
“We've dug ourselves quite a hole points-wise and that's going to make it very difficult in this year's championship,” Gurney said. “Stranger things have happened though, so we won't count ourselves out of the title race until all the points are added up. We had some encouraging signs at New Jersey though as our pace on old tires was relatively very good. We definitely learned something there that should benefit us the rest of the season.”
Gurney was running second in the most recent race at New Jersey Motorsports Park, and looking at a possible victory, only to be taken out by rival Scott Pruett with less than an hour to go in the race. That disappointment followed a mechanical retirement one race earlier at Homestead-Miami Speedway that put the No. 99 GAINSCO “Red Dragon” on the sidelines just 30 minutes into the race.
“We probably need to go on a small winning streak to get back into the points race, and Detroit obviously would be the perfect place to make it happen,” Gurney said. “Chevrolet has made a huge effort in bringing this race to life and we want to be the team that delivers them a win.”
The GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Series is making its Detroit debut, but Gurney and Fogarty each have some experience racing at Belle Isle.
“It’s been a while since my one outing at Detroit,” Gurney said. “I raced there when I first started in 1998 in Barber Dodge but I know they've changed the configuration of the track a little. It will still be nice to have some familiarity with the circuit. I've watched some videos and tried to pick out some reference points, but we'll certainly walk the track the day before practice and get ourselves oriented again.”
Detroit is also the first GRAND-AM Rolex Series “short weekend” of the season after the year’s opening races featured three and in some cases four full days of on-track practice, qualifying and racing. Sharing the weekend card with the IndyCar Series has made the Rolex Series race a two-day event but Gurney thinks the team may actually find the tight scheduled advantageous.
“I think the shorter weekend will be a plus for us as we think we've arrived at a place setup-wise where we don't have to do too much tuning,” Gurney said. “We feel we have something that will work at most tracks. Jon and I have built up quite a bit of experience over the years so we both feel we don't need much time in the car to feel comfortable at any track.”
The addition of Detroit and a race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway this season adds to what GAINSCO and its drivers already consider an ideal GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Series schedule.
“Just look at the remaining races on our calendar, it is very special,” Gurney said. “I think the GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Series schedule is a road racer’s dream. We are hitting nearly every mega track in the country and the Belle Isle street course in Detroit is another excellent addition.”