GAINSCO Racing team boss Bob Stallings said he was extremely happy with a top ten result for his team in the Rolex 24 at Daytona, despite problems in the early stages leaving the team well away from the battle for victory.
The #99 Pontiac Riley had gone into the event as one of the favourites, with triple NASCAR champion Jimmie Johnson and Jimmy Vasser coming in alongside regular pairing Jon Fogarty and Alex Gurney for the weekend.
The team had run well inside the top ten before it was forced to change the gear cluster in the fourth hour after Johnson ground to halt exiting the pits, having pitted under caution to replace a tail light before he was held at pit exit.
Despite losing six laps, the car battled back up into the top eight and managed to make up one of the laps lost, but Gurney was then forced to return to the pits during the twelfth hour of the event with a rear axle problem – leaving the team with no option but to replace the rear end of the car.
That put the car some 24 laps off the pace but a battling drive from that point onwards ensured that Fogarty took the flag in seventh, having made up three of the lost laps.
“Obviously we came here with the idea of winning this thing but under the circumstances, I am extremely happy," Stallings said. "We won the 2007 championship but it was very difficult after not doing well here in the Rolex 24. We are leaving here with some good points so we are real happy."
Fogarty himself agreed with Stallings' view of the race and said he was happy to have picked up solid points after the problems encountered.
"We just don't give up," he said. "That's the wonderful thing about this team. There is just not a negative thread running anywhere. We have these issues and we just put it back together and we go back out. At the same time, you don't only go back out, you go back out to race, because you never know when a lap here or a lap there is going to pay off.
“Six hours later, somebody else might have a problem, and you might be a lap ahead of them because you went for it. That was our plan, we did everything we could to advance, and I think seventh is a pretty good result for having so many issues."