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Gurney demolishes Grand-Am record
The fabled Gurney name was driven into the Daytona International Speedway record books again this afternoon, as Alex Gurney won the pole Saturday’s Rolex Sports Car Series Rolex 24 At Daytona behind the wheel of the No. 99 GAINSCO Auto Insurance Pontiac-powered Riley. [Editor's Note:  He broke the Grand-Am record which is not even close to the lap record set years ago by the IMSA, now ALMS cars.]

On the way to his fourth career Rolex Sports Car Series pole, Gurney shattered the existing Daytona Prototype track record by more than half a second, lapping the 3.56-mile speedway road course in 1 minute, 43.475 seconds at an average speed of 123.856 mph during the 15-minute qualifying session. With the pole in hand, Gurney and his GAINSCO/Bob Stallings Racing co-drivers Jon Fogarty and Jimmy Vasser will now turn their focus to surviving 24 straight hours of racing, from 1:30 p.m. Saturday to 1:30 p.m. Sunday — one of the most demanding challenges in all of motorsports.
“This is a big thrill for me personally and for the GAINSCO team,” Gurney said. “I feel like I’ve come a long way as a driver to be standing here today. But qualifying is really just for bragging rights. The first thirteen or fourteen hours of this race are unimportant. It’s such a long, long time that you have to just absolutely survive it. We’ve got to run clean to be at the front at the end of the race — when it really counts.”
A smart call by team engineer Kyle Brannan kept the 99 car from encountering traffic after the session was interrupted by a black flag, and that undoubtedly helped Gurney score his record-setting lap. That could be a metaphor for the GAINSCO team’s push to improve its own performance. Last year, the team was consistently quick at just about every track the Rolex Sports Car Series visited, but a number of problems kept the No. 99 Pontiac out of Victory Lane. Gurney said the team now has a better grasp of what it takes to win in one of the toughest and most competitive racing series in the world.
“Our team understands the process of endurance racing much better than we did last year,” Gurney said. “We’ve made a ton of progress, from the crew to the driver lineup to the car itself. All the pieces of the puzzle are fitting together, and we’re anxious to get in the winner’s circle.”
Fogarty said his job behind the wheel would be simple — run clean, consistent laps that set a good pace but don’t overly stress either the driver or the GAINSCO Pontiac.
“I’m so happy for Alex – but now we’ve got to make sure we follow this up with a solid race performance,” Fogarty said. “It’s an extremely long race and as drivers, we have to keep our overall goal in perspective. Only if we keep the car out of trouble and out of the garage all day and night will we have a chance to go for the win when the sun comes up on Sunday morning.”
Vasser won the GTP Lights class of the Rolex 24 in 1993, and knows from that experience how important a long-term outlook in a long, long race can be.
“Clearly, the GAINSCO car is fast enough. Now we’ve got to stick to our game plan and execute it, because it’s just too easy to beat yourself in a 24-hour race,” Vasser said. “You’ve got to just drive around until the morning comes and then take stock of where you are and who you’re racing.”
Team owner Bob Stallings was exuberant in the pits as the checkered flag fell, but immediately tempered his enthusiasm with the real-world knowledge that starting up front is no guarantee of finishing up front. His team’s task this season is to convert raw speed into race-winning performances – and they’ll have the opportunity to do just that starting on Saturday.
“I’m stoked that Alex put the GAINSCO car on the pole, but we’ve got to get through 24 hours of racing on Saturday and Sunday,” Stallings said. “We made changes over the off-season based on our experiences last year — where we’d be fast but we wouldn’t be around at the end. Alex, Jon and Jimmy all know that it will truly take endurance to be successful in this race. We’re thinking about a championship – but if we get a shot at the win, we’ll definitely take it.”
The GAINSCO team will get one last chance to make pre-race tweaks in a 45-minute final practice at 9 a.m. Friday. The 45th-annual Rolex 24 At Daytona gets the green flag at 1:30 p.m. on Saturday and runs to the checkered flag at 1:30 p.m. on Sunday. For the first time in Rolex Series history, the first hour of the Rolex 24 will be broadcast nationwide live on FOX network television, with prerace coverage beginning at 1 p.m. Eastern time. SPEED Channel will pick up live coverage from 2:30 p.m. to 6 p.m., then again from 8 to 10 p.m., with the final seven hours broadcast live on SPEED from 6 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Sunday.
The primary sponsor of the No. 99 Bob Stallings Racing Daytona Prototype is GAINSCO Auto Insurance (Amex:GAN), a Dallas, Texas-based auto insurer that distributes policies through a network of nearly 4,000 independent agents across the Sunbelt. One of the fastest-growing carriers in the auto insurance industry, GAINSCO uses its “Are You Driven?®” motorsports sponsorship and marketing campaign to build brand awareness and advance its distribution strategies. For more information, visit http://www.GAINSCO.com.


Pos Num Class Driver Car Time Gap
1. 99 DP Alex Gurney Pontiac Riley 1:43.475
2. 10 DP Max Angelelli Pontiac Riley 1:43.480 0.005
3. 91 DP Marc Goossens Pontiac Riley 1:43.516 0.036
4. 58 DP David Donohue Porsche Riley 1:43.584 0.068
5. 11 DP Patrick Carpentier Pontiac Riley 1:43.959 0.375
DIQ 05 DP* Bill Auberlen BMW Riley 1:44.011 0.052
7. 19 DP Michael Valiante Ford Crawford 1:44.133 0.122
8. 23 DP Patrick Long Porsche Crawford 1:44.205 0.072
9. 02 DP Scott Dixon Lexus Riley 1:44.344 0.139
10. 47 DP Timo Bernhard Porsche Riley 1:44.348 0.004
11. 6 DP AJ Allmendinger Lexus Riley 1:44.352 0.004
12. 75 DP Max Papis Pontiac Riley 1:44.558 0.206
13. 01 DP Scott Pruett Lexus Riley 1:44.674 0.116
14. 39 DP Christian Fittipaldi Porsche Crawford 1:44.890 0.216
15. 20 DP Andy Wallace Pontiac Crawford 1:44.910 0.020
16. 77 DP Memo Gidley Ford Doran 1:44.957 0.047
17. 59 DP Hurley Haywood Porsche Riley 1:45.680 0.723
18. 61 DP Mark Wilkins Lexus Riley 1:46.434 0.754
19. 00 DP Tomas Scheckter Porsche Crawford 1:46.487 0.053
20. 51 DP Eddie Cheever Jr Porsche Fabcar 1:47.011 0.524
21. 18 DP Terry Borcheller Porsche Fabcar 1:47.649 0.638
22. 12 DP Bill Lester Pontiac Riley 1:47.846 0.197
23. 76 DP Tracy Krohn Pontiac Riley 1:50.466 2.620
24. 81 GT Patrick Huisman Porsche GT3 Cup 1:51.800 1.334
25. 74 GT Wolf Henzler Porsche GT3 Cup 1:52.199 0.399
26. 70 GT Sylvain Tremblay Mazda RX-8 1:52.222 0.023
27. 66 GT Andy Lally Porsche GT3 Cup 1:52.237 0.015
28. 06 GT Johnny O'Connell Pontiac GXP 1:52.427 0.190
29. 85 GT Dirk Werner Porsche GT3 Cup 1:52.445 0.018
30. 69 GT Emil Assentato Mazda RX-8 1:52.452 0.007
31. 73 GT Philipp Peter Porsche GT3 Cup 1:52.542 0.090
32. 88 GT Craig Stanton Porsche GT3 Cup 1:52.564 0.022
33. 17 GT Dave Lacey Porsche GT3 Cup 1:52.777 0.213
34. 22 GT Scooter Gabel Porsche GT3 Cup 1:52.790 0.013
35. 87 GT Gunnar Jeannette Porsche GT3 Cup 1:52.800 0.010
36. 16 DP Rob Dyson Pontiac Crawford 1:52.936 0.136
37. 84 DP Wally Dallenbach Pontiac Riley 1:52.940 0.004
38. 72 GT Robin Liddell Porsche GT3 Cup 1:52.972 0.032
39. 07 GT Paul Edwards Pontiac GXP.R 1:53.015 0.043
40. 86 GT Shawn Price Porsche GT3 Cup 1:53.339 0.324
41. 28 GT Ian Baas Porsche GT3 Cup 1:53.452 0.113
42. 64 GT Jim Pace Porsche GT3 Cup 1:53.481 0.029
43. 63 GT Richard Grupp Mazda RX-8 1:53.882 0.401
44. 57 GT Dominic Cicero II Corvette 1:54.111 0.229
45. 27 GT Lonnie Pechnik Porsche GT3 Cup 1:54.170 0.059
46. 15 GT Tom Nastasi Mustang Cobra GT 1:54.230 0.060
47. 89 GT Barry Ellis Porsche GT3 Cup 1:54.636 0.406
48. 14 GT Cory Friedman Porsche GT3 Cup 1:54.810 0.174
49. 65 GT John Peterson Porsche GT3 Cup 1:55.286 0.476
50. 21 GT Adam Pecorari BMW M3 1:55.481 0.195
51. 68 GT Ted Ballou Porsche GT3 Cup 1:56.063 0.582
52. 52 GT Luca Drudi Ferrari 360GT 1:56.092 0.029
53. 83 GT David Gaylord Porsche GT3 Cup 1:56.450 0.358
54. 67 GT Tom Cloet Porsche GT3 Cup 1:56.961 0.511
55. 08 GT Keith Goldin Mazda RX-8 1:57.079 0.118
56. 43 GT Wayne Nonnamaker Corvette 1:58.682 1.603
57. 48 GT Michael DeFontes Corvette 1:58.864 0.182
58. 42 GT Michael Auriemma Porsche GT3 Cup 1:58.992 0.128
59. 46 GT Bryan Collyer Corvette 1:59.014 0.022
60. 24 GT Mark Montgomery BMW M3 2:01.140 2.126
61. 41 GT Jim Michaelian Porsche GT3 Cup 2:01.210 0.070
62. 7 DP Tomas Enge Pontiac Riley 3:04.371 1:03.161
63. 3 DP Shane Lewis Lexus Riley 3:13.002 8.631

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