GAINSCO pairing Alex Gurney and Jon Fogarty will return to the scene of their first Grand Am Rolex Series victory this weekend seeking a first win of the 2008 campaign.
Last year, Gurney took over from front-row starter Fogarty and out-fought Krohn Racing's Max Papis to score the first Daytona Prototype win for both drivers and the GAINSCO/Bob Stallings Racing team.
The victory proved to be a springboard to the 2007 Rolex Series driver and team championships, two more first-time achievements for the team. In total, the team won six more times — half of 2007's 14 races — in the most dominating Daytona Prototype season in Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series history.
"The Mexico City race will always hold a special place in the hearts of everyone at GAINSCO/Bob Stallings Racing," Gurney said. "Obviously, last year it was the site of our first win and it felt like we had overcome a huge hurdle when we finally pulled it off. I had a great battle with Max Papis toward the end of the race. I got by him in a traffic situation nearing the finish and just a few laps later he did the same to me. I was trying to get back at him with just a couple laps to go when he slid wide in one of the brake zones and spun off. It was smooth sailing from there."
Fogarty closely tracked early leader and Papis' co-driver Colin Braun throughout his opening stint but felt more pressure after handing off to Gurney.
"The win was really gut-wrenching, much worse for me watching it from the outside as opposed to being in the car fighting for it," Fogarty said. "It was actually so bad that I went back to the transporter to change into dry clothes just to get away from it, something I never do. I went back and watched Alex do his thing; he never let the pressure off and it paid off when he took advantage of the Papis mistake.
“It was a major relief more than anything. I was pretty confident that Alex had it as there were only a few laps left in the race. It was really the same feeling about getting the first win, a big relief. I had always believed it would come, but it really needed to happen sooner rather than later, and getting it early in the season was a big boost after our poor finish at the Rolex 24."
While the team's DNF in the 2007 Rolex 24 left them playing championship catch-up all season despite the Mexico win, this year has presented a much more positive scenario and they head to Mexico with 57 points, just 13 points behind the #01 TELMEX/Chip Ganassi Racing team.
"We feel very good about going back to Mexico," Gurney said. "It is much closer to the traditional road courses where we feel we do very well. We're in a great championship position and we're ready to keep building on that."