USCC: Roar Before 24 GAINSCO/Bob Stallings Racing Report
GAINSCO/Bob Stallings Racing, and drivers Alex Gurney, Jon Fogarty, Darren Law and Memo Gidley wrapped up a full and productive three-day test at the Roar Before the Rolex 24 (over the weekend of the 3rd-5th of January) in the No. 99 GAINSCO Auto Insurance® Corvette Daytona Prototype in preparation for the 52nd Annual Rolex 24 At Daytona, January 23 – 26. The BobStallingsCars.com No. 99 GAINSCO “Red Dragon” was the fourth fastest overall Prototype entry around the 3.56-mile Daytona International Speedway road course. The No. 99’s top lap time of 1:39.286 (129.082 mph) was turned in Friday’s second practice session of the weekend.
“The test went really well,” Law said. “I feel pretty comfortable with our program. It’s the same group of guys from last year, the same team, and the car is good. There have been a lot of changes to the Daytona Prototypes this year, so this test involved a lot of data collection. Overall the car is fast, we are really comfortable with it, and I think we have a good shot.”
Working through some of the new components and figuring out the nuances of the enhanced Corvette were the primary focus of the weekend. Catching any potential issues from the test is critical to the success of the GAINSCO team in the season-opening Rolex 24. “We have worked a lot on our race setup, trying to figure out what is going to break on the car,” Gurney said. “We have had a lot of little electrical issues that we are sorting through but I think we have it mainly under control now. It will be a busy few weeks until the race and with some luck we should be in good shape.”
Since all four drivers worked together for the 2012 Rolex 24, the majority of the test sessions were dedicated to improving the GAINSCO “Red Dragon” instead of working on team chemistry. “A lot of times it seems like at the Roar there is always a crunch for time and there is more you would like to do, but having Darren and Memo on board we don’t really have to worry too much,” Fogarty said. “Everybody is up to speed and comfortable in the car, so we can really focus on the car, not the drivers, which is important because there are changes taking places in the series. We are working through stuff that we think we have a handle on, so all we really need to focus on is reliability and executing a good race.”
As the test concluded Sunday, the team is optimistic about the car’s performance and looking forward to returning to Daytona for the race. “I’ve been with the team for a few years in Daytona and I feel that the car is the best it has ever felt,” Gidley said. “We have not done a lot of changes to the car this time, but it started out pretty decent and we are in good shape for the race.”
The GAINSCO/Bob Stallings Racing team hopes to improve this year on their race career-best finish of second in the 2008 Rolex 24.