Gurney, Fogarty Seek First 2008 Rolex Series Daytona Prototype Victory

California natives found a home at Watkins Glen last season with two victories

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (June 3, 2008) – While both Alex Gurney and Jon Fogarty hail from California, they found a home on the East Coast last season in the Finger Lakes region of New York. The two drivers combined to win both races in 2007 at Watkins Glen International, powering their way to the Daytona Prototype title by a slim two points.

This season, however, the duo has yet to visit victory lane. Strong runs haven’t produced the finishes the No. 99 GAINSCO/Bob Stallings Racing GAINSCO Auto Insurance Pontiac Riley drivers have wanted, and despite five top 10s and a best finish of second in the Rolex 24 At Daytona, the pair is 37 points behind leaders Scott Pruett and Memo Rojas.

But a return trip to Watkins Glen and the Sahlen’s Six Hours of The Glen could change all that. Last year, Gurney and Fogarty won the six-hour classic, their second of a series season record seven victories and a springboard to their driving and team titles. Gurney and Fogarty, who also won the August race exclusively for Daytona Prototypes, are hoping for a repeat this weekend, as Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series presented by Crown Royal Cask No. 16 competitors contest Round 7 of the 2008 season. The green flag will wave at 11:11 a.m. Saturday (SPEED, Live; Part 1 at 11 a.m.; Part 2 from 2:30 p.m. until checkered flag).

This year, Watkins Glen celebrates the 60th anniversary of road racing in the village located at the southern tip of Lake Seneca. American driving legend Dan Gurney, Alex’s father, played a role in the circuit’s legendary history, racing in Formula 1 and Formula Libre events before fielding winning All American Racers entries in GTO in 1987 and 1988 and three overall GTP victories in the Glen Continental with Juan Manuel Fangio II from 1991 to 1993. Now, Dan Gurney’s son is looking to continue his own chapter of the Gurney saga at The Glen.

“Watkins Glen is one of the last great road courses in this country,” Alex Gurney said. “My dad always tells me about how the track used to be so incredible, running through the town and how special the long downhill section was. The current long course still has real character and is so much fun to drive. This track has been so good to us; we’ve gotten multiple poles, podiums, and wins here since we started coming here in 2005. Last year, our car was just on rails. This was the race where we started our 2007 winning streak and we’d obviously like to start the same streak again. We all know we need to do so if we’re going to catch Ganassi in this championship.”

Pruett and Rojas, co-drivers of the No. 01 TELMEX Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates Lexus Riley, will look to continue the strongest start in Rolex Series history. After winning the Rolex 24 – joined by Juan Pablo Montoya and Dario Franchitti – they won the races at Homestead-Miami Speedway and Virginia International Raceway, in addition to finishing second at Mexico City and third in the most recent race at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca. Pruett is a two-time Rolex Series winner for Ganassi at The Glen, capturing the 2004 Sahlen’s Six Hours with Max Papis and the August 2006 race with Luis Diaz.

Their closest competitors in the title chase are Jim Matthews and Marc Goossens in the No. 91 Bob Stallings Racing/Riley-Matthews Motorsports Pontiac Riley. The pair has a formidable top-10 streak of their own, dating back to last season. They have finished eighth or better in all five Daytona Prototype races this season and four consecutive top fives. Their victory at Mexico City and second-place finish at Laguna Seca have helped the duo stay close in the title hunt, pulling within 19 points of Pruett and Rojas. For The Glen, the team has added German Marcel Tiemann to the lineup. Tiemann scored his third consecutive and fourth career victory in the 24 Hours of the Nurburgring over the Memorial Day weekend.

“The way we’re running at the moment, we’ve got a good car and I can’t see any reason why we can’t be competitive for Watkins Glen,” Goossens said. “I think we’re well prepared for long distance races. We had a good run in the Rolex 24, so I see no problem with The Glen. This is a longer race than most over races in the Rolex Series. We obviously don’t approach it the same way as we would a 24-hour race, but it’s in the same direction.”

Hurley Haywood, the leading winner in the history of competition at Watkins Glen with nine victories, returns to competition by joining JC France and Joao Barbosa in the No. 59 Brumos Racing Porsche Riley. It will be the first race for Haywood since the Rolex 24. David Donohue leads the Daytona Prototype competitors with two pole positions this season, and joins Darren Law in the Brumos’ No. 58 Porsche Riley. The team is seeking its first victory since the 2004 Sahlen’s Six Hours, won by Donohue, Scott Goodyear and Mike Borkowski.

SunTrust Racing and Rum Bum Racing resume action at Watkins Glen after fire destroyed or badly damaged their cars over the last month. SunTrust Racing, which had switched to the new Dallara at Homestead-Miami Speedway, returns to the Riley chassis. A transporter fire along a Texas highway destroyed everything as the team was returning home to Indianapolis from Laguna Seca. Co-drivers Max Angelelli and Michael Valiante will drive the No. 10 Pontiac Riley that took them to fifth in the Rolex 24.

Rum Bum Racing’s BMW Riley suffered extensive damage in a fire during the 250. The car has been rebuilt for drivers Gene Sigal and Matt Plumb.

Share Button