Grand Am: Rd2 Race Report
Round 2 of the 2013 Grand Am Series saw the first win of the 2013 season for the Corvette Daytona Prototype. The nr99 GAINSCO "Red Dragon" returned to Victory Lane after a long absence Saturday with drivers Jon Fogarty and Alex Gurney during an unpredictable race on the 3.4-mile Circuit Of The Americas.
The weekend began strongly for the Dallas based team, when the nr99 captured the first pole position of the season for Corvette. After hanging back for much of Friday’s 15-minute Daytona Prototype qualifying session, Fogarty unleashed the “Red Dragon” GAINSCO Auto Insurance Corvette DP with a lap of 2:00.179 (101.848 mph) on the 3.4-mile Circuit of The Americas – extending his record to 24 career poles.
“This is a new circuit, and a clean slate for everyone,” said Fogarty, who co-drives with Alex Gurney. “It’s a testament to the hard work by everyone on the team. I took it easy early in the session. I wanted to get out in front at the start, but when I didn’t, I fell back. Then I couldn’t find a good place, I kept being caught in traffic. I was running out of time before I finally got a clean lap – just as the tires were coming up to temperature. It was a close call.”
Jordan Taylor qualified second in the No. 10 Velocity Worldwide Corvette DP co-driven by Max Angelelli with a lap of 2:00.039 (101.797 mph). Reigning Rolex Series co-champion Memo Rojas qualified third in the No. 01 TELMEX BMW/Riley, qualifying at 2:00.289 (101.755 mph).
The pole-winning car led the final seven laps – its only stint out front – as Fogarty and Gurney won in the Rolex Series for the first time since late 2011. The GAINSCO/Bob Stallings crew appeared destined for a runner-up finish until Brendon Hartley in the leading No. 8 Starworks Motorsport Ford/Riley made contact with a GT car and stopped off circuit. Gurney was one of the first drivers to make his final pit stop, which came 20 minutes before the race’s last full-course yellow. As each of the cars in front of Gurney pitted, he moved up to second at the restart.
“It’s great to be back,” Gurney said. “We finished second quite a few times last year, and man, what a day! We pushed it so hard the whole way. It was an incredible battle at the end with [Ryan)] Dalziel and [Scott] Pruett, and it feels amazing to hold them off. We had 500 GAINSCO guests today, and we created 500 new racing fans. They were all going crazy.”
Dalziel and Alex Popow were second in the No. 2 Starworks Ford/Riley. Championship leaders Pruett and Memo Rojas were third in the No. 01 TELMEX Target Chip Ganassi Racing BMW/Riley.
The next Rolex Series race is the Porsche 250 at Barber Motorsports Park in Birmingham, Ala., on Saturday, April 6