Fogarty shatters record to put No. 99 Gainsco Chevy on pole
Another race, another TOTAL Pole Award for Jon Fogarty, who extended his GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Series record to 25 poles in Friday’s qualifying for the Porsche 250 at Barber Motorsports Park.
For the second straight event, Fogarty waited until the final minute of the 15-minute Daytona Prototype session before unleashing the power of the No. 99 GAINSCO Auto Insurance Corvette DP. The “Red Dragon” responded with a track-record lap of 104.878 mph/1 minute,8.949 seconds. It was Fogarty’s third pole at Barber, and fourth for GAINSCO/Bob Stallings Racing at the circuit. Co-driver Alex Gurney won his first career pole at the scenic 2.3-mile layout in 2005 in only his second DP race.
“We’ve done our homework and came to a setup that works around here,” said Fogarty, who won the pole before joining Gurney to win for the first time since 2011 in the most recent Rolex Series race in Austin, Texas. “Stoking the fire at Circuit of The Americas was great for the team, and we want to try to move forward from there. We’d love to have another win here, for sure.”Fogarty exchanged the pole with brothers Ricky and Jordan Taylor throughout the session, with all three eclipsing Ricky Taylor’s 2010 track DP record.
John Edwards, who missed last year's event here because of a knee injury suffered in a skiing accident, set a Barber record of 1:26.610 in winning the pole for the GT series.
Tom Long won Mazda's first pole in the GX series with a lap of 1:32.036.
Fogarty, 37, Gainsco Corvette co-driver Alex Gurney won at the Grand-Am of the Americas in Austin, Tex., in March, the series' previous event.
"We had a competitive car, things fell our way and we took advantage of it," Fogarty said. "Vaulting us back to second in points gives everybody some motivation, stokes the fire. It doesn't light it. It's always been lit. We know we're capable of winning.
"All in all, that was a good week, but that's something we're going to sit on."
Fogarty believes qualifying position is essential at this 2.38-mile circuit with its stark elevation changes and 16 turns.
"Being a two-hour race, it puts a little bit more emphasis on it," he said. "I don't think anybody has had an opportunity to run long enough to get a grasp on where tire degradation is going to be. I don't anticipate having any (tire-wear) issues so that should make track position a little more critical. If you went to stickers (brand new tires) last year, you could pass everybody. I don't think you'll have that advantage this year. So being up front is going to be pretty important."
Edwards, 22, was fifth here in 2010 in the Grand-Am race, then raced in the Continental Tires event in 2011 before his injury sidelined him in 2012.
However, he's a veteran of this track.
"I came here years ago when I was in Skip Barber (series) and I had a win here. That was about nine years ago," he said. "I think I'm due for another one."
Long has "a pretty good record" at Barber, with a victory in the Continental Tire GS series race in 2010 and another podium finish.
"I'm just so happy for Mazda and Speed Source for us to be able to put the car on the pole," Long said. "It's exciting because of all the hard work that's gone into the program this year. To start up front is going to allow us to be able to control the race a little bit better than if we were starting a little bit further back."
Asked what he likes about Barber, Long said, "What's not to like? It's a beautiful layout. It's very fan friendly. The facilities are immaculate. The track is a lot of fun to drive."