Fogarty 2nd in Hispanic-themed GAINSCO machine For the second-consecutive Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series race, the No. 99 GAINSCO Auto Insurance Pontiac-powered Riley will be at the front of the grid, as Jon Fogarty stuck the specially-painted GAINSCO Seguros de Autos car on the outside pole for tomorrow’s Rolex Series Mexico City 400k, where he’ll share the car with co-driver Alex Gurney.
Fogarty’s lap of 1 minute, 21.494 seconds, turned at an average speed of 110.438 mph, was nearly 1.3 seconds quicker than the existing track record. However, a couple niggling handling issues kept the 2002 and 2004 Toyota Atlantic champion from mounting a challenge to Colin Braun’s pole-winning machine. Still, Fogarty's hardly disappointed with the result, given that before yesterday he’d never seen the challenging Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez.
“The GAINSCO car’s quick, but I think we can make it even quicker tomorrow,” Fogarty said. “I don’t think we would have had anything for Colin, though. He was flying.”
This weekend, the 99 Pontiac is sporting special green and white stripes, along with Spanish-language logos, to celebrate GAINSCO Auto Insurance’s commitment to the fast-growing Hispanic market. “I’m especially pleased to be able to put the special GAINSCO Seguros de Autos paint job right up front,” Fogarty said.
In tomorrow’s 100-lap, 250-mile race, Fogarty believes a delicate balance of driving skills will be needed to keep the 99 up front and in contention. It’s possible that the race could be done on just one pit stop, which means tire management will be key. But with few places to pass and several long straightaways, getting caught up in traffic isn’t an option.
“Starting up front is going to be crazy, and once we hit GT traffic, it’s going to be a real dogfight,” Fogarty said. “It will take a lot of patience and a ton of aggression to make it through quickly and cleanly.”
Gurney was thrilled to see his teammate continue the GAINSCO team’s streak of top qualifying results, and he’s eager to tackle a track he loves.
“Jon did a great job in qualifying, and we keep proving that our car is really quick anywhere we go,” Gurney said. “If this race goes one-stop, we’ll be going longer on our tires than we’ve ever gone before, even in practice, so it’ll probably mean some setup compromises to ensure that in the race, it’ll still be drivable. We’ve got another chance to get a strong finish.”
Team owner Bob Stallings said Fogarty’s qualifying effort was an “exciting” way to kick off the meat of the Grand-Am Rolex Series season.
“That was an impressive run from Jon, especially for his first time here,” Stallings said. “We’ve got a really good car that’s capable of a podium – and that’s what we’re looking for, a good strong finish. If we can get the win, great, but if not, we just want to get back in the points fight for the championship. This is an important race for us, because well over half of GAINSCO’s customers are Hispanic. I believe our sponsor is doing a great job of translating success on the racetrack to success in the insurance industry.”
Tomorrow, the GAINSCO Pontiac will get one final 20-minute warm-up session at 10 a.m. Central time, before the grid opens for the Mexico City 400k. The green flag will drop at 3:15 p.m. and go two-and-a-half hours or 100 laps. The race will be broadcast live on SPEED Channel beginning at 4 p.m. Eastern.
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. More at GAINSCO.
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