GAINSCO/Bob Stallings Racing, with drivers Alex Gurney, Jon Fogarty and Jimmie Johnson, topped final practice Friday for this weekend's Rolex 24 At Daytona, and were second fastest in the morning session as well, to cap a full day of final preparations for the 49th running of the endurance classic.
“We ended up well and we've been pretty much running the 24-hour setup through testing and qualifying,” said Fogarty, who was at the wheel of the No. 99 for the final fast lap. “Alex wasn't able to do much of a speed run during qualifying, so it wasn't representative of what the car is ultimately capable of. I think now that we are closer to the race, we'll start to see a lot more teams put their racing packages on their car, and that has evened out the field. I hope that's the case at least, because that means good things for us. We all drove in the session and now we are just going to practice some driver changes and get ready for the race.”
Fogarty lapped the 3.560-mile DIS road course in 1:40.878 (127.045mph), a time comparable to Gurney's qualifying lap of 1:40.828 (127.108mph) set on Thursday. Although GAINSCO will start 10th, the fact that the top practice and qualifying laps are nearly identical proves the team has indeed focused on race setup this month at Daytona. The team also hoped the axle woes that slowed its qualifying effort have been resolved.
"We hope so, and haven't seen any axle issues since yesterday,” Gurney said. “We have been making little gains along the way with the car, and we are very happy. We've got a really good racecar for sure. Now for tonight we will just rest, prepare and eat a lot of pasta.”
The Rolex 24 starts at 3:30 p.m. ET Saturday, Jan. 29, with live coverage on SPEED beginning 30 minutes earlier at 3 p.m. ET. A total of 14 hours of live race coverage will air on SPEED.