Grand AM » 10 June 2007
Grand-Am: Gurney, Fogarty double up at Glen.
Having not won a Grand-Am race prior to this year's event in Mexico City, Alex Gurney and Jon Fogarty became the first pair to record multiple Daytona Prototype successes in 2007, taking first place in the Sahlen's Six Hours of The Glen.
Rebounding from an unscheduled pit-stop which dropped them as low as 16th, Gurney passed Scott Pruett with 25 minutes remaining in the six-hour classic to cruise to a 7.069secs victory in the #99 GAINSCO/Bob Stallings Racing Pontiac Riley.
Fogarty and Gurney broke a record streak which saw five different winners in victory lane to start a season. The pair also won at the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez in Mexico City in March, and have started all six races from the front row this season. Saturday's win at The Glen, however, marked this season's first Rolex Series win for a polesitter.
“I'm very happy for everyone on the GAINSCO team, because we all did an amazing job all weekend and that enabled Jon and I to capitalise on the really good car they gave us,” Gurney said, “I have to give [engineer] Kyle Brannan a huge compliment because it's thanks to him that we put together a car that was this fast and this comfortable to drive.”
Gurney led for the first 35 laps before bringing the car in with overheating issues after a brief off-course excursion clogged the front grill with grass and dirt, just a few laps after his first scheduled stop. He returned nearly a lap behind the leaders, but he and Fogarty steadily worked their way back to the front. Gurney retook the lead on lap 140 after passing Ian James in the #6 Playboy Lexus Riley, but when the last of eight cautions came out – due to oil on the track and the stopped #72 Tafel Racing Porsche of Nathan Swartzbaugh – Gurney dove into the pits and Pruett took the lead.
Gurney challenged the former series champion immediately after the green flag restart, eventually passing him going into turn one and heading the field to the flag. Together, Gurney and Fogarty led more than half the race distance.
“As far as our execution in the car and setting up the car and pit-stops, we've been doing extremely well,” Fogarty said, “We're still developing in the race environment, but the team is young and we're hungry. We're hoping to take this victory and move on, and produce even more as we go forward.”
Pruett also had troubles early on and recovered from a lap one trip through a gravel trap that put him two laps down. But Pruett patiently drove his two stints, moving into the top 15 before team-mate Memo Rojas took over. The Mexican made it into the top ten without problems, and Pruett finally took the lead when Gurney pitted. He did his best to keep Gurney behind, but didn't interfere when the #99 made the winning pass.
“We got two laps down early, but we just kept digging all day,” said Pruett, who extended his points lead to seven over Max Angelelli, “The car was good, but I thought we had the second best car out there. We ran well all day long, and we got everything we could out of the car. There is no question you have to finish well to get the championship. We did that today.”
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