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DATE News (chronologically)
09/11/07
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Interview with Grand-Am title contenders  An interview with Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series presented by Crown Royal Special Reserve Daytona Prototype contenders Alex Gurney, Jon Fogarty, Scott Pruett and team owner Wayne Taylor, substituting for contending driver Max Angelelli.

MODERATOR: We would like to welcome everyone to today's teleconference for the Grand Am Sports Car Series presented by Crown Royal Special Reserve. The Daytona Prototype Championship battle is the closest in the world and we're joined today by Alex Gurney and Jon Fogarty of GAINSCO/Bob Stallings Racing, as well as Scott Pruett of TELMEX/Chip Ganassi with Felix Sabates Racing and Max Angelelli of SunTrust Racing, who are 1,2, and 3 respectively in the championship.

Each of the team drivers are with us, including SunTrust Racing team owner Wayne Taylor who is substituting today for Max Angelelli, who has been delayed in his flight plans. They're joining us today to talk about the battle that's coming up. We know all about it, it's going to be a tight race.

Gentlemen, welcome, thanks for taking time out of your schedule to be with us today.

Alex, let's get started with you. Wayne and Scott have done this before, but you and Jon are in the championship mix for the first time. You've been a team to beat for the majority of the season, talk about your game plan heading into the finale this weekend. Will you do anything different at all in this race?

ALEX GURNEY: First of all, thanks for the question. We are all very excited to be leading the championship for the first time all season. This race is a little bit different. It's a longer race, running somewhere around seven hours. So it does require a little bit of a different approach. It's almost been sprint racing up to this point for a while now, and that has kind of allowed our team and Jon and I to just go as hard as we can. So it will be a different approach with the GT cars and the way the strategy will work out as far as fuel mileage and the way we approach the race as far as where we are in the championship.

There's a lot more things to consider and reliability is a big issue also. So just a lot of things and it will be a little bit different in the way we approach this race compared to some of the others.

MODERATOR: This is the final of the 14 races in the Grand Am Sports Car Series season, both the Daytona Prototype Championships are on the line along with the GT championships, but the championship making the headline has been the driver battle here. Jon Fogarty, you've won championships before in Atlantic competition, and here you are looking for your first championship with Alex. Talk about what is the secret, if you're even going to let that out of the bag, for what has been so right with you guys this year. You've won a record seven races, it seems like your car has just been perfect. What has put it together? Has it been more of the equipment, more of the personnel or just a good combination of both?

JON FOGARTY: I think if it was a secret it would have been too good of one for everyone to keep their mouth shut and the word would have gotten out by now. So really, there is no secret. Certainly we have the right package with Pontiac and the Riley chassis that we have and Alex and I and our engineer Kyle Brannan, the whole team is doing a great job.

So no secrets. But I think a big part of it really is the relationship that Alex and I have and have had for a lot of years going back to the late '90's when we first competed against one another. We've been good friends and good competitors ever since then and it's just a relationship that's working really well as far as sports car racing goes with the team atmosphere.

MODERATOR: Scott, you're no stranger to championships - there's a debate out there of whether or not you fall in the same generation as Hurley Haywood and we don't know if you do. Hurley was racing years before you and you've been racing against some guys that certainly started their careers after you did - but you've won more championships than anyone of your generation. Do you ever get tired of having this happen every year or frankly would you miss it if you weren't out there battling for the overall championship?

SCOTT PRUETT: I think if I wasn't battling for the championship I would be thinking about giving it up. That's what it's all about. It's exciting going into the last race, we're in a great position. We're going to treat it as a seven hour, seven and a half hour sprint race. The car has been very, very solid and as we saw at the Rolex 24, never missed a beat. We're bringing on Salvador Duran, he did just a great job this year where we won with myself and Juan Pablo Montoya and him. And we got a little bit of an update from Grand Am, which I think it's going to put us in a better competitive position with Pontiac. And we also have a team car that's out there that's run very strong as well.

So across the board, if you look at it, I think we're in great shape. We're just going to go out and run hard and try and win the thing outright.

MODERATOR: Scott has 384 points, he's just one point behind Alex Gurney and Jon Fogarty who lead, but not at all out of it is Max Angelelli, who has 382 points. Again, only three points separate the top contenders here. Max is in the air as we speak, the flight schedules didn't work out today for him to join us, but no stranger to a championship battle is team owner and sometimes co driver Wayne Taylor with us today.

Wayne, thanks for supporting Max and you made it clear you want to talk about these drivers going for the championship more so than what you're doing. But you know from experience what's going through Max's head right now as he heads into this big race. How do you prepare for an endurance race that you know has all the marbles waiting for it at the end?

WAYNE TAYLOR: There's really not much we can do other than go there and try and win the event. And even if we did win the event and Alex finished second, we would be tied on points, and with all the wins, they would win the championship.

So we need a little bit of luck on our side, I guess, for Max to win this. I don't think the approach is going to be any different to any other race we have done this year. As Scott said, these races are no longer endurance races, they are sprint races now. And so we have to take it exactly the same way. We have got Magnussen back for this event. Both of them really like this track. I know last year we were pretty quick there.

I think that the wild card is going to be to see how much more power the Lexus has got. And I think that might just determine how this championship will finish. So we've got to wait and see what they have got really for us.

Although there's two Pontiac teams that are going to take you on there, Scott. We'll just wait and see, but I think really at the end of the day we're going to approach this like any other sprint race.

MODERATOR: Let's open it up to questions right away.

Q. Scott, you mentioned the aspect of having the sister car out there and given the IRL race, taking that in mind and their battle for the championship, do you reckon your teammates will be kind of holding up the rest of the traffic behind you?

SCOTT PRUETT: I wouldn't say holding up, but as we saw with the IRL race even yesterday, teammates can play a pretty important part. Sometimes on the good side and sometimes not. Unfortunately, there's times when bad things happen. But for the most part they're in a great position to just kind of mix things up a little bit.

We're not going to do anything dirty by taking anybody out or anything like that, but you can get guys racing with you, you can start taking advantage of them. You can do certain things that you can't just do by yourself.

So that's a, that's something that we have up on the other two teams and we feel that we're certainly going to take advantage of it every way we can without getting dirty.

Q. Wayne, no intended disrespect, we got Max and Jan for your drivers, who is your third driver?

WAYNE TAYLOR: We intend to only have two drivers. I'm going to be there and probably will test in case something were to go wrong with either of them, I would get in the car. But I don't see any of that happening.

Q. It's also great to have you as a backup driver. We do slow down in age. I only wish I could be as fast as you at your age. Y'all walked out of the Rolex 24 and you know, oddly enough, that first race of the season really proves to be a kind of a pivotal race, when you consider Alex and Jon came out in 22nd and Scott of course as mentioned earlier, he and Juan Pablo and Salvador came in first. You guys came out in third with Jeff Gordon in the seat. That was a pretty pivotal race when you look back, because here you guys are again battling away for the championship. If Alex and Jon would have done a little bit better they probably would have been a little bit further ahead right now. What is it that you intended, Wayne, with regards to winning this race?

WAYNE TAYLOR: Well, we'll just take out Scott Pruett. (Laughter.)

No, like I said before, we're going to we're really going to look at it in no other way than we do all the rest of the races of the season. Because as I said, the Rolex 24, if my memory serves me correctly, the winning car only pitted for tires and fuel and for the rest, you know, it looked like a sprint race. So this being a seven and a half hour race, it will be like a sprint race. And we have no option but to go there and try to win the race. As I'm sure they have, but for us it's clearer that we have to do that, because we have the biggest deficit. And so clearly the mission is to win the race and then we'll see what happens.

Q. This is for Jon and or Alex, how often do you guys pull this kind of duty as parents? (ed. - Both Gurney and Fogarty were watching their small children during the call) I'm curious to know that.

JON FOGARTY: Pretty often. In the racing business it's definitely tough on our families from the time that we're gone. And so we try to pull our weight when we're at home. I'm going to be gone for about a week here and there's just a lot of things that the other half needs to get done before we go. So I'll take a day or a couple days and go a hundred percent with my son William and let my wife Sarah get done what she needs to get done before I skip town. I'm so happy to do it, because I miss the guy at home when I'm on the road. So we're spending time together.

Q. I can understand that. Alex?

ALEX GURNEY: Similar deal for me. My wife actually just started school again, she's actually a kindergarten teacher. She was a second grade teacher, but now she teaches kindergarten and she does two days a week. She actually shares a contract with another teacher. So anyway, I'm in charge of the baby on Mondays and Tuesdays.

Q. I congratulate you guys as a guy who did that regularly. Jon, that was a hell of an answer on the secret part. Really, no one can keep a secret, that's a problem because once the secret is told to one other person it's no longer a secret. And I hadn't even thought about that before. What great way to put that. And thank you I'll stand by.

Q. A question for Scott, how much difference do you think will the engine enhancements that have been allowed for the Lexus will make in this season finale?

SCOTT PRUETT: That's a good question. I don't know. We're going to find out here real soon. The Lexus guys and TRD have been working very hard. With all these new parts, it's been a huge massive challenge for these guys to redo the car. The throttle body was somewhat similar, but when you're redoing heads and changing valve size and some of the other stuff that they're doing, it's a lot to do in a very short period of time. I think they have had about two and a half weeks to do it all and machine it all and to try and run a dyno for durability tests. They have done those things and so we're going to get our first test here in about two days.

I'm looking forward to it and looking forward to the race. Having Salvador (Duran) back in the car is going to be awesome. It's been an up and down year for us, having a rookie driver like Memo (Rojas), he certainly has had his hands full and sometimes things have gone real well for him, but as rookies go, sometimes it's a lot of learning. So all the pieces together, coming in the last race I think we're in pretty good shape.

Q. Well it sounds like it's a concern to some of your competitors, so good luck this weekend. Question for Jon and Alex, with a seven and a half hour race, you are going to have to be very careful to keep the car together because there have been several incidents this year where there's been contact and are you going to be extra careful to try and not damage the car and maintain that points lead and go for the championship? Can you be a little more conservative in that regard?

ALEX GURNEY: You know, maybe slightly. We won the Six Hours of The Glen and the car was pretty pristine at the end of it. I had one deal where a GT car kind of forced me on to the grass for a little bit. But other than that the car was clean. So I think that we have proven that we can get through the race without any problems and win one of the longer ones. This race coming up is a similar length and so we hope and expect the same result.

JON FOGARTY: I was going to say like both Wayne and Scott had stated, GT cars or no GT cars, two and a half hours or seven hours, this is still a sprint race. So we have to be aggressive because we know our competitors will be. And we're just going to try to move through traffic quickly and it's just a balance. And we just definitely are going to try to not damage the car. But we have got to be on pace. So there's a balance there.

Q. Sounds like it's a real juggling act and I don't envy your challenge and it's been a great season so far, coming down to the wire like this. I wish all of you luck.

Q. Jon and Alex, we talked before about chemistry, about working with Kyle (Brannan) as your engineer. The fact you guys have known each other for awhile, has that made your jobs easier this season in going after the championship, the fact you are so familiar with one another and are good friends?

JON FOGARTY: Yeah, the whole team are people that I enjoy spending time with, racing or not racing - and Alex and Kyle in particular who I spend just about 24/7 with during the race weekend. I think we have been fortunate to have the consistency there where it's been just Alex and I in the car for over a year now, and Alex and Kyle since the inception of the team. So it does make the job easier when you are happy to walk in the office door and you're excited to see the people you're going to be working with. It's pretty great.

ALEX GURNEY: I would just say absolutely it's a big help. Scott mentioned that having a rookie in the team has maybe been a little challenge for them, and Wayne - obviously their team, they have bounced around a little bit as far as which drivers they have had in the car. So that continuity with Jon and I and us being very good friends and Kyle and Bob and all of us just being very open when it comes time after a session to talk about the car and try to figure out collectively what to do. It adds up every day at a race weekend. So we have obviously seen the fruits of that, I think.

Q. Scott, you and I have talked before about changing teammates every year and yet every year you're still at the top, fighting for the championship. Is it particularly draining on you to have to bring on board a new guy each season or does the team function so well that it's made those transitions easier?

SCOTT PRUETT: I feel a bit like Bull Durham anymore, training new guys coming up. The answer is really two fold. One, yeah, I mean because we continue to race for the championship year to year, we have won it in 2004 and then been runner up in 2005, 2006 and winning the team championship last year and very much in the hunt for it right now. It's a huge challenge. But the team has been very efficient and very good at what they do, so bringing a new driver in, even though that's not something that you really want to do. If you can do like what Alex and Jon do, the best deal is to just keep building on the relationship you already have and continue to get better and better and better.

So that's been a deficit for us this year. It's been a huge task for Memo to learn the tracks, to learn the racing, to learn the drivers and so on. But at the same time if he was going to do it, if any team was going to take it on I think our team is in a position to do that, given the needs and given good solid cars that just don't have a problem and go out there and get the miles that he needs to understand this racing that much better. So, yeah, it's tough, but I think that we deal with it as good as anybody can and here we are fighting for the championship with one race left and I think we're in a good position to race head to head and compete with these guys.

Q. Following just a little bit on Memo, as I tried to follow the series as well as I can, and I missed a number of the races, but in the reports I see it appears that Memo has taken good care of the car and been able to hand it over to you without major problems by and large. And that undoubtedly has made your job a bit easier.

SCOTT PRUETT: Just like a couple guys mentioned earlier, if you tear something off your car, it's going to affect you. If it's something smaller or if it's something big, it's going to affect the handling and take away from the performance of the car. He had a couple little issues this year but for the most part has done a great job of getting the car back to me in one piece. But with that, the closer to the front you are, the better position you are going to be. In a perfect world you want two drivers that are absolutely on par with each other that have the same experience and same understanding and have very similar styles to be able to drive. You could qualify either guy and you could finish either guy and know that you're not going to take away from any of the strengths of the team.

Q. Quick question for Wayne. You said Magnussen is going to be back with you this weekend. With him having been gone for several races, is it particularly a challenge to get him back into the car and get him up to speed or has he got enough experience with you guys that that's not a problem?

WAYNE TAYLOR: Well, there's really no problem at all. The guys that we hire are all professionals and they should be able to perform in any situation. And he ran well there this year I think in the Corvette. He knows the track, he knows Max, the team knows him, so there's really no issue there. He will be up to speed very quickly.

Q. Wanting to know, at least initially, Scott, from you, what are the parts and pieces you're getting from Lexus? Are they new, are they from the Toyota Cup program? Are you afraid of them breaking? Are both of your teams going to run them? And how much more horsepower are you going to be making with them?

SCOTT PRUETT: You know what, those are all great questions. I'm not sure I have answers for very many of them. They are not pieces from the Cup team, for sure. They're totally different engines. I would love to have a Cup engine, they produce I think a couple hundred more horsepower, but I think that would be a little too over the top.

But I really don't know. I know that they have been working hard doing a lot of durability testing on the dyno. And they, TRD and Lexus, have no questions at all about the integrity of the engine. If they had any question mark about putting anything new that they didn't feel would go the distance they wouldn't do it.

As far as where they came from, I believe they're the same head, and I just think that they made the valves a little bigger. And I'm not absolutely sure what else is taking place. I tried to call them a couple times and when I do, they're in the dyno shell working, which is where they should be. And I'll catch up to them this weekend and find out exactly.

Q. Wayne, Alex, Jon, what do you hear as far as horsepower, how much more is Scott going to be making and are you worried?

JON FOGARTY: I have no idea. I heard 20. That could be completely off the mark. And I honestly don't know where I heard it. But obviously we can't worry ourselves too much with it at this point, just got to go out there and do the best we can do. If things have been imbalanced, it's really not our job to sort that out. We can certainly make noise about it, and push as hard as we can. But we're just going to go out there and give it all we've got. I think it will be a great race no matter what. So that's where we're at.

Q. Alex, what do you have to say?

ALEX GURNEY: I agree with Jon. I'm sure it's nothing more than a hundred horsepower. (Laughter.)

SCOTT PRUETT: I hope so. (Laughter.)

ALEX GURNEY: No, like Jon said, we just run our own race and we know what we're doing by now and all we can do is the best we can do. And so far this season it's been pretty stout. That's what we're going to do, just try and execute.

Q. Wayne? You got any thoughts?

WAYNE TAYLOR: I'm sure it must be around 150, because they have obviously had this deficit all year and they've got to help him at the end. So it's got to be at least 150 horsepower.

JON FOGARTY: They have that huge deficit in the points. One point.

WAYNE TAYLOR: And Scott has just been really lucky, you know (laughter). I mean, same thing, there's nothing we can do about it, the decision has been made and we just have to work harder and see what happens.

Q. Do you guys know off the top of your head what the points differential is like between first and second in terms of what they pay? What the points pay?

SCOTT PRUETT: If you win you get a gold Rolex. The driver, if it's second, it's nothing. So it's winner take all.

MODERATOR: This is the moderator. Obviously the drivers have a good sense of humor, but there has been some bad information out there, a lot of people who aren't really familiar with the details of the recent technical bulletin that went out. I just want to make it clear that this was not an overnight occurrence that was decided to be made going into the final race of the year. Parts are frequently submitted by manufacturers, and if there's room for improvement within our 500 horsepower cap, we're obliged to look at those parts at Grand Am. And that's essentially what we did with the Lexus, as well as some of the other engines that were also given adjustments in the most recent technical bulletin.

Simply stated, the Lexus changed to the five liter power plant last year and within that change there was some room to grow to meet the 500 horsepower plateau. So they submitted parts earlier this summer, we put them on the dyno, went through the necessary approval process, and in keeping with what we have done in the past, when the parts were approved and ready for competition, we authorized their use. That happened to coincide with the final race of the year, but again if you look at the technical bulletin that is available on our web site under competitor info you see that the Lexus wasn't the only engine.

And for the record they have to be available to all Lexus entries, so it's not just the two Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates cars, they also have to be available for the other Lexus cars as well.

Q. Question for both Alex and Scott. Just wondered, both of you, if I recall, were here last year at Miller Motorsports Park. What effect will that one year of experience have as far as on this track and if also you could talk about some of the nuances or some of the things you learned last year on the track for the first time.

ALEX GURNEY: Actually, I have to say first my teammate Jon Fogarty was also with me there last year, so we both have experience at the track. And it is very long. That's one thing we learned.

One quick story, I hope he forgives me for it, Jimmy Vasser, who joined us last year - this is an indication of how long the track is - one time at practice he was approaching a corner that looked similar to one maybe 20 corners later and he thought it was a third gear corner and it was a hairpin. So he just flew right off the track.

So one of the things is actually remembering where you are on the track. And it's very long, very flat, so a lot of the corners look similar. As the race wears on, you just have to be aware of things and remember where you're going. It's one of the things we learned last year.

SCOTT PRUETT: For us this is going to be a two hour shorter race than last year. We won't be going into the dark. Because when it got dark, it got black out there. You couldn't see hardly anything. And so the track itself - just like Alex was saying - you really have to know where you are at on the track. Last year we had a very fast car, we qualified on pole, ran strong all race until we had a little mechanical issue at the end. But for the most part it's a fun place to drive and it's a real rhythm place, it's a real driver's track. I think every guy that goes there they say it's a challenge learning it because it's so long and so many aspects of it look similar. But once they do learn it, it's a fun place to drive. So I'm looking forward to it. We're going to have some fun.

Q. In some of the previous races that have been run in the late afternoon and evening some of the drivers have talked about driving into the setting sun and how that's kind of been a factor. Do either of you drivers remember that last year especially on that straight away heading due west, was that a factor at all?

JON FOGARTY: I recall it from practice and then the ensuing discussion of who was going to have to drive at sunset. So, yeah, it was a little bit of a hassle and you're on that straight away for a good long while. And the longer you are out there, your windshield gets all pitted out and the glare is pretty horrible. Actually I haven't looked to see when the sun was going to be setting relative to when potentially the race might end, but if it's down low, it's bad. But fortunately it's only really just turn one. So hopefully Alex will be in the car at that point.

ALEX GURNEY: I think the race will end a little bit earlier this year. So I think we should be okay on that.

SCOTT PRUETT: And looking at the forecast it looks like it may be a little overcast too. Depending upon how it all plays out, that's also a big factor too if there's any clouds out there.

Q. Scott, the whole Lexus thing, making this horsepower and increasing the size of the intake and exhaust ports - by the way, just for your information, the whole thing is 19 horsepower and I think you gained something like 25 foot pounds of torque. But at any rate, here you spent a year working with Memo, getting a guy used to a car and now you're throwing a car at him that's going to be different, aren't you?

SCOTT PRUETT: No. No. As a driver, in all the years that I've been racing, engine manufacturers are notorious for telling you, "Oh, we picked up 50 horsepower, we picked up 30 horsepower." And you get in there and you might have picked up some, but unless you're running those engines back to back at the same time in the same condition, when you're talking about that small of an improvement I would say you, as a driver, wouldn't even notice it.

I mean, what you'll notice is the engine might be just a little sharper or something like that, but you certainly won't notice, "Wow, this car's different to drive and we got to change this that and the other." It's more like, "Wow, I think they might have made a change, but we're not quite sure."

So it usually takes 50 to 75 horsepower to really start feeling a difference in, at least for me. I mean, in the IndyCar days especially, they would pick up five or 10 or another 15 here and I go, well, maybe you did, but man, I certainly don't feel it. So I doubt that from our standpoint, especially going to Salt Lake, because the altitude and stuff, the engine performance is down anyway, so the cars almost feel slower than usual because of the lack of horsepower at that altitude.

Q. Scott, let me start with you, but I really would like everybody to answer this thing when you finish with yours. When you look at the Rolex 24 At Daytona, where did you feel like you were at with regards to the championship now that we are here? How did you feel situated for it I guess would be the better way to put it?

SCOTT PRUETT: I knew that it was going to be a challenge with a rookie teammate. It's a huge task for Memo. And a huge task for me. When you're in that situation, you haven't been to a lot of the tracks, so a lot of the tracks we have had to give him more track time, so it's taken away from working on the car and its performance. I think we have given up a lot of points all year long just because of that. It's been a huge, huge thing to ask of him to be teamed with me and what we have done over the past few years to step up to that mark.

It doesn't make a difference if it's him or any other rookie, it's very, very difficult. When you look at the guys that we're racing against, the guys that we know or Magnussen or some of the other guys, they have a lot of experience, they had a lot of experience in these cars, and so you can just plug them in a car and they just do a fantastic job. And you can just focus on the business at hand: making the car go faster. So coming off Daytona I was excited about the win, but knew overall that this was going to be a challenging season.

Q. Wayne, how did you feel when you came out of Daytona with regard to the positioning for the championship?

WAYNE TAYLOR: Well, we competed for the championship in 2006 and in 2006 we only did four hours of the 24 Hour. But we gathered it back and got down to the same situation at the end of the season that we find ourselves today. So honestly, I thought we would be in better shape, to be honest.

Q. Jon?

JON FOGARTY: At the risk of sounding uneducated about my profession, at the time of the 24 I wasn't aware of how difficult the Grand Am points structure made it to come back from a DNF like that. So we had run strong up until we started having issues in the race, so my outlook for the rest of the season was still very positive. I knew we had speed, I just didn't realize at that moment how difficult it was to come back from a DNF with this point structure.

But to a certain extent I guess that was a good thing because I was able to go into the following races just looking to win. Not being too concerned about our position.

So next year if something like that, God forbid, happens again I'll be a little bit more bummed out. (Laughter.)

Q. That was a fire that you needed. Alex, weren't you a little bit more concerned about it though?

ALEX GURNEY: I have to say, a similar comment to Jon, that Jon made. I also didn't realize that the points structure was that difficult and that it really rewards really not getting a DNF more than anything else. I certainly wouldn't have expected, we win seven races and we only get a one point lead.

But anyway, at the time we were pretty disappointed, we came in with guns blazing and got the pole and we were feeling pretty good about ourselves. But it's a very difficult race. I think we lasted something like 22 hours. And that was tough on everybody, very tough on the equipment. We went through a lot of our stuff. So we were pretty disappointed, but he was still optimistic at the time, unaware of the points. We knew we had a fast car and that we were going to be a force all year. So that's where we were at.

SCOTT PRUETT: Just a quick note to that, I experienced that same thing last year, because we had a DNF last year at the 24, and I think we won five races last year, and ended up second in the championship. And like Jon was saying, you struggle every week and every point you get was so valuable to try and rebound from that was difficult. But it keeps it exciting. I mean as much as I don't like it, I hated it last year and this year I like it, so I don't know what to tell you.

Q. Just for the sake of noting, the sunrise is at 7:08 and sunset is 7:37 p.m. in Salt Lake City, and the race is going to be over about 6:30. How about that?

Alex, real quick, there was another 99 car in the early '90s that kicked some major tail that had the last name Gurney affiliated or associated with it. Do you recall that car and how strong that car was and how many races in a row that it won and have you heard people compare the car you're in right now to that car? Have people talked about that at all?

ALEX GURNEY: A little bit. I think that when originally I had some conversation with Bob about the number and he always liked the number 99 and we talked about that my dad had the Eagle GTP cars from that time and they were number 99 and 98. They had a very good run there for awhile. I think they won 17 in a row or something. It might have been 21 in a row.

Q. All I could find was 17. But I like the 21 number. Never let the facts get in the way, right?

ALEX GURNEY: It was obviously a really special car, that one was. And now we're trying to make our own bit of history with our 99 car also.

Q. Do you guys have a name, a pet name for your 99 Pontiac GAINSCO/Bob Stallings Racing Pontiac?

ALEX GURNEY: I think Jon called it the Red Dragon which I kind of like.

JON FOGARTY: That's a nod to Will Farrell in Old School. I don't know if you recall the scene, but it's pretty classic.

Q. Scott, what about you, your car, you got a name for that?

SCOTT PRUETT: Nope. (Laughter.) She's got no name.

Q. Wayne, what about you?

WAYNE TAYLOR: Nope. (Laughter.)

SCOTT PRUETT: You enjoy the manufacturer that Gurney was with back in those years ago? The manufacturer that won all those races, do you know who that was?

ALEX GURNEY: Yeah, I remember them. (Laughter.)

MODERATOR: Gentleman, we want to thank you, we have been at it for almost an hour today. Wayne, thanks for filling in for Max. It's going to be a great battle at Miller Motorsports Park this weekend as we wind down the season.

Just as a reminder, the race will begin live on SPEED at 1:00 p.m. ET, with the action continuing to the checkered flag beginning at 5:30 p.m. ET.

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