No. 99 GAINSCO Auto Insurance Corvette Daytona Prototype Holds Championship Podium Position Despite Being Knocked From Season-Ending Race with 10 Minutes Remaining
GAINSCO/Bob Stallings Racing and drivers Alex Gurney and Jon Fogarty held on for a third-place finish in the GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Series 2013 Championships despite being knocked out of Saturday’s season-ending race at Lime Rock Park just minutes from the finish.
Gurney, Fogarty and the No. 99 GAINSCO Auto Insurance® Corvette Daytona Prototype team totaled 312 points over the course of the 12-race season. That was good enough to lock down the final championship podium spot in both the driver and team title battles after being shut out of the top-three in 2012’s winless season.
This year, the BobStallingsCar.com No. 99 GAINSCO team finished in the top-five in half of the races, including four podium finishes. The highlight was a victory in Round 2 at Circuit of The Americas (COTA) in March. Other top showings were second at Barber Motorsports Park and third-place showings at Road Atlanta and Indianapolis.
“I am actually very, very proud of the guys,” Stallings said. “It would have been easy to let down after all of the disappointing things that happened all year, and we weren’t the only ones, a lot of teams just had some rotten luck, and we had certainly more than our fair share.”
GAINSCO’s bad luck emerged again 10 minutes from the end of today’s race when Gurney ran into a pack of cars that had just come together entering Lime Rock’s uphill chicane section. The contact destroyed the radiator on the No. 99 “Red Dragon” and the team retired from a race for the first time this season, ending up 12th in the final race results.
“I was right behind the 90, or close by, and it looked like he had contact with another car,” Gurney said. “He got into the dirt, it kicked up a lot of dust in the air, and it was difficult to see, and also slippery. I locked up and just ran right into him. Unfortunate way to end, we weren’t the fastest car out there anyway, but really a tough way to end the season.”
Despite the rare DNF, GAINSCO and its drivers still managed to hold on to the third-place championship position by four points over the pair of teams tied for fourth.
“We finished third in the championship, kept plugging away, doing everything we could, and that is the way it goes some times,” Fogarty said.
Fogarty had an incident of his own at the start of the race. Challenging from third on the grid at the drop of the green flag, he was entering Lime Rock’s notorious “No Name” straight only to go off course while racing in close quarters with the other leaders.
“It was a tougher race than I anticipated,” said Fogarty, who led five laps at the end of his hour-long driving shift. “The car got away from me there at the start but that was potentially going to play into our favor fuel strategy wise. We just never had the chance to capitalize on that, the car was capable of running quick for a few laps, but then it would start sliding around a lot, so it made for a long day.”
GAINSCO challenged for the championship all season after the COTA victory and entered today’s race with a mathematical chance at claiming its third GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Series Championships. The previous driver and team title were earned in 2007 and 2009.
“If even two races had gone the other way for us, we would have won the championship, even with today’s result, but that’s racing,” Stallings said. “That’s the way things go, and a lot of the other teams could say the same thing. We finished third in a very tough field, probably the toughest since I have been here from 2005 on, and that is something to be happy about and proud of.”
Next up for GAINSCO/Bob Stallings Racing is the 2013 Rolex Champions Awards Celebration at Manhattan’s Gotham Hall on Monday night.
- As usual, Stallings was more than gracious in congratulating 2013 Champions Jordan Taylor, Max Angelelli and the No. 10 Wayne Taylor Racing Corvette Daytona Prototype. “The 10 car itself, for most of the year, was the fastest car to race,” Stallings said. “So, hats off to those guys, the Corvette body with the Dallara chassis has really served them quite well. Beyond that, Wayne has put together an excellent group. His engineer is really quite good, all of his team guys and drivers are good, and they deserved this by a long shot."
- Stallings is also looking forward to Monday’s awards celebration in New York after not getting much of the spotlight in 2012 after a career-low seventh-place championship finish. “This year at the banquet we will actually be inside the room,” Stallings said. “Last year we were practically eating out in the streets, and it was awkward, so it will be good to be back in the room!”