Gurney Holds Off Pruett at Barber Motorsports Park

Gurney held off Pruett to the checkered flag

Alex Gurney held off Scott Pruett in a 20-minute sprint to win Sunday's Porsche 250 presented by Legacy Credit Union, tying the Daytona Prototype point standings with only four races remaining in the 2009 Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series presented by Crown Royal Cask No. 16 season.

In Acxiom GT competition, Andrew Davis and Robin Liddell scored their second victory of the season in the No. 57 BryanMark Financial/Stevenson Automotive Pontiac GXP.R.

Gurney won the team's series-leading third race of the season in the No. 99 GAINSCO Pontiac Riley, started by polesitter Jon Fogarty. Gurney won by 0.759 seconds over Scott Pruett, who took over from Memo Rojas in the No. 01 TELMEX Lexus Riley. It was the sixth time in eight races the margin of victory was less than one second.

"We didn't want to see that last yellow," Gurney admitted. "We had a great strategy that kept us out front and our car was good enough to win. So it was a great day. Scott drove really clean and it looked like he was a little quicker, so I was really happy about that. I'm really happy for everyone at GAINSCO and that we can fight it out these last four races."

The closing laps encompassed a three-car fight, with Michael Valiante able to pull alongside Pruett several times in the No. 6 Michael Shank Racing Ford Riley started by John Pew. Valiante finished third, 1.261 seconds back.

"We weren't going for the points, we were going for the win," Pruett said, with the TELMEX and GAINSCO teams tied with 231 points apiece. "It was another great race for Grand-Am – it was close and a great race for the fans. The points race is tied up again, and the race is on for the championship."

Buddy Rice and Antonio Garcia finished fourth in the No. 09 AMA Pro Racing Porsche Coyote, with Garcia leading two laps midway through the race. Fifth went to Ricardo Zonta and Nic Jonsson in the No. 76 Krohn Racing Ford Riley.

Two of the four leading championship contenders entering the event experienced problems in the opening laps. Penske Racing entered the event fourth, 17 points back, but Romain Dumas went slightly off course moments after the drop of the green flag, which culminated in damage to the front end of the No. 12 Verizon Wireless Porsche Riley. The team lost three laps making repairs, and Dumas and Timo Bernhard went on to finish 15th. They now have 198 points, 33 behind the leaders, while Valiante took over fourth with 215 points.

"This was a weekend to forget," said Bernhard, who mentioned the Penske crew worked until 3 a.m. Saturday after a practice crash destroyed the bottom of the team's race car. "The crew worked very hard to fix the car, but we could not get a good result to repay them for their hard work."

SunTrust Racing drivers Brian Frisselle and Max Angelelli entered the race one point behind Pruett and Rojas. Frisselle went off course and was stuck in a gravel trap on Lap 3, bringing out the first caution period. He lost four laps. The team was able to make up one lap but finished 14th, and is now 16 points out of the lead with 215 points.

Following Frisselle's incident, the race ran caution free until the No. 30 Sahlen's/ Mazda RX-8 of Dane Cameron stopped at Turn 9 entering the race's final half hour.

Fogarty led 48 laps and Gurney 41 as the GAINSCO duo led the most laps at Barber for the third consecutive year, averaging 90.629 mph. David Donohue led 13 laps in the No. 58 Brumos Porsche Riley before contact with a GT car resulted in a cut tire and a 10th-place finish. In addition to Garcia, other race leaders were Rojas (three laps), Valiante (one) and Mark Wilkins (one).

Stevenson Pontiac Dominates Acxiom GT Battle

Stevenson Motorsports stretched the opening shifts for both Andrew Davis and Robin Liddell, who had fresher tires in the stretch run en route to the second victory of the Acxiom GT campaign.

Liddell won over SpeedSource's No. 70 Castrol Syntec Mazda RX-8 of Nick Ham and Sylvain Tremblay. Paul Edwards and Kelly Collins took third in the No. 07 Drinkin' Mate Pontiac GXP.R, followed by Joe Foster and Charles Espenlaub, giving the No. 40 Dempsey Racing its best finish in GT competition.

"Nick kept me honest in the closing laps, because he could match our times." Liddell said. "But honestly, I knew we had it in the bag."

Liddell led 60 laps and Davis 14, while defending race co-winners Ham and Tremblay led 14 and four laps respectively. The only other leader was polesitter and point co-leader Leh Keen, who led the opening 11 laps in the No. 87 Farnbacher Loles Racing Porsche GT3.

Keen and Dirk Werner placed fifth after winning the past three GT races and four of the last five. They maintained their points lead over Edwards and Collins, who closed to within 25 points with four events remaining (247-222). Tremblay and Ham moved from fifth to third in the standings with 211 points.

While race day temperatures reached 83 degrees, the weather was a far cry from recent years. Last year's race was held in 103-degree heat.

The next action will be the Crown Royal 200, Friday, Aug. 7 at Watkins Glen International, when the Grand-Am Rolex Series races in conjunction with the NASCAR Sprint Cup and Nationwide Series.



Num Cls CPos Drivers Team Car Laps Behind
1. 99 DP 1 J.Fogarty, A.Gurney Gainsco/Bob Stallings Racing Pontiac Riley 109 0.000
2. 01 DP 2 S.Pruett, M.Rojas Chip Ganassi Racing w/F.Sabates Lexus Riley 109 0.759
3. 6 DP 3 J.Pew, M.Valiante Michael Shank Racing Ford Riley 109 1.261
4. 09 DP 4 A.Garcia, B.Rice Spirit of Daytona Racing Porsche Coyote 109 34.207
5. 76 DP 5 N.Jonsson, R.Zonta Krohn Racing Ford Lola 109 1:38.313
6. 60 DP 6 O.Negri, M.Patterson Michael Shank Racing Ford Riley 108 1 Lap
7. 61 DP 7 Bu.Frisselle, M.Wilkins AIM Autosport Ford Riley 108 1 Lap
8. 77 DP 8 M.Gidley, B.Jaeger Doran Racing Ford Dallara 108 1 Lap
9. 59 DP 9 J.Barbosa, JC.France Brumos Racing Porsche Riley 108 1 Lap
10. 58 DP 10 D.Donohue, D.Law Brumos Racing Porsche Riley 108 1 Lap
11. 2 DP 11 A.Wallace, R.Finlay Childress-Howard Motorsports Pontiac Crawford 107 2 Laps
12. 13 DP 12 M.Forest, R.Taylor Beyer Racing Pontiac Riley 107 2 Laps
13. 5 DP 13 J.Beyer, J.Taylor Beyer Racing Honda Riley 106 3 Laps
14. 10 DP 14 M.Angelelli, Br.Frisselle SunTrust Racing Ford Dallara 106 3 Laps
15. 12 DP 15 R.Dumas, T.Bernhard, R.Briscoe Penske Racing Porsche Riley 106 3 Laps
16. 57 GT 1 A.Davis, R.Liddell Stevenson Motorsports Pontiac GXP.R 103 6 Laps
17. 70 GT 2 N.Ham, S.Tremblay SpeedSource Mazda RX-8 102 7 Laps
18. 07 GT 3 K.Collins, P.Edwards Banner Racing Pontiac GXP.R 102 7 Laps
19. 40 GT 4 J.Foster, C.Espenlaub Dempsey Racing Mazda RX-8 101 8 Laps
20. 87 GT 5 L.Keen, D.Werner Farnbacher Loles Motorsports Porsche GT3 101 8 Laps
21. 69 GT 6 E.Assentato, J.Segal SpeedSource Mazda RX-8 101 8 Laps
22. 86 GT 7 E.Lux, W.Henzler Farnbacher Loles Motorsports Porsche GT3 101 8 Laps
23. 65 GT 8 J.Potter, C.Stanton Riegel/Stanton/TRG Porsche GT3 100 9 Laps
24. 66 GT 9 S.Pumpelly, J.Potter TRG Porsche GT3 100 9 Laps
25. 67 GT 10 A.Lally, J.Marks TRG Porsche GT3 100 9 Laps
26. 43 GT 11 J.Nonnamaker, Wa.Nonnamaker Team Sahlen Corvette 100 9 Laps
27. 68 GT 12 J.Gutierrez, S.Schroeder TRG Porsche GT3 80 29 Laps
28. 30 GT 13 D.Cameron, Wa.Nonnamaker Racers Edge Motorsports Mazda RX-8 56 53 Laps
29. 21 GT 14 M.Connolly, S.Lewis, M.Halpin Battery Tender/MCM Racing Pontiac GTO.R 25 84 Laps
30. 42 GT 15 Wi.Nonnamaker, J.Sahlen Team Sahlen Corvette 2 107 Laps

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