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Grand Am DP - GAINSCO Qualifies Eighth For Continental Tire 200 At The Glen

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WATKINS GLEN, Aug. 11, 2012: GAINSCO/Bob Stallings Racing and Jon Fogarty qualified a disappointing eighth Friday afternoon for tomorrow’s Continental Tire 200 at Watkins Glen International and, along with teammate Alex Gurney, immediately went to work on improving the performance of the No. 99 GAINSCO Auto Insurance Corvette Daytona Prototype in this evening’s final practice session.

A two-hour sprint that is Round 10 of 13 races on the 2012 GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Series schedule, the Continental Tire 200 can be seen live on SPEED tomorrow, Saturday, August 11, at 6 p.m. EDT/3 p.m. PDT.

The No. 99 GAINSCO “Red Dragon” also struggled in qualifying for last month’s Sahlen’s Six Hours at Watkins Glen but the team and drivers rebounded for a second-place finish to match their best race result of the year. GAINSCO worked through suspected brake issues after qualifying seventh for the Sahlen’s and came back to lead 55 race laps and keep the GAINSCO/ No. 99 in contention for the victory right up until the checkered flag. Gurney also set the overall fastest lap of 1:42.774 (119.096 mph) just seven laps from the finish of the race on the 3.4-mile road course

On Friday, Fogarty’s top lap time of 1:06.556 (132.520 mph) on the 2.45-mile NASCAR “short course” layout was good enough for only the outside fourth row starting spot. A twilight-time one-hour practice session that followed qualifying gave the GAINSCO team one final chance to search for some more speed.

“It’s kind of similar to how it was at the six-hour race qualifying,” Fogarty said. “We think we have an idea with where the issue lies but we’re certainly not pleased about it. Honestly, the car didn’t feel very bad at all. We just need to get some more pace out of the car and we are fortunate to have a little bit of time this evening to tune and try and get some of that pace back.”

Fogarty is a three-time career pole winner in the Continental Tire 200 at The Glen, 2006, 2007 and 2009, but today’s disappointing showing may have been due in part to morning practice having been held in the rain. Qualifying was the first time today that GAINSCO and most of the competition took to a dry track.

“That was as good as any lap that has ever put me on pole here,” Fogarty said. “The field is really tight, it’s not like we need eons, but it’s a short track so every little bit helps. I am scratching my head a bit, we would have had a better idea where we were if this morning’s practice session was dry, but we thought we showed up with something pretty good. Like I said, it didn’t feel evil out there and I put together a good lap. The speed is hiding somewhere and we just need to go and find it.”

The Sahlen’s Six Hours runner-up placing was just GAINSCO’s second podium of 2012 after a second-place finish at Barber Motorsports Park in late March. The team also finished fourth in the Chevrolet GRAND-AM Detroit 200 in early June but has otherwise been bitten most of the year by a variety of in-race issues, mechanical failures and bad luck.