A Lap of Utah with GAINSCO Driver Jon Fogarty
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One lap of Miller Motorsports Park with GAINSCO driver Jon Fogarty

Eight-time polesitter gives a behind-the-wheel perspective of America's longest road course

LEWISVILLE, Texas (Sept. 7, 2007)  On Sept. 15, Alex Gurney, Jon Fogarty and Jimmy Vasser will fight for GAINSCO/Bob Stallings Racing's first-ever driver and team championships in one of the 2007 Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series season's toughest tests - the Sunchaser 1000 at Miller Motorsports Park in Tooele, Utah. They'll face the task of closing out the season by racing 1,000 kilometers around the 4.5-mile desert monster, the longest racetrack in North America. Fogarty, who has captured a record-setting eight poles this year behind the wheel of the No. 99 GAINSCO Auto Insurance Pontiac-powered Riley, agreed to talk us around a lap, giving his driver's-eye-view of the grueling circuit.

Jon Fogarty: Miller is long with many corners, but after a few laps it's easy to break the track into sections and focus on separate parts rather than the whole. The first third for me includes what I call corners 1 through 10 (that's more than a lot of tracks have in total!) This includes the first set of esses, beginning at turn 1. This is a fast, left-right-left-left sequence that is very high speed, with the final left being flat out. Because the last corner can be taken flat, it is important to be patient in the early portions of this sequence, so that you are building speed throughout making the exit of the second to last corner the start of your straightaway leading into a slow long left hander.

This slow left that I call turn 5 is also an area of overtaking. You arrive going very fast from the previous section and the brake zone is long. There are a variety of different lines through here - some exit wide and compromise the next right-hander (turn 6), while others hold it tight exiting the corner to maximize the entry into turn 6. For me, it depends on how the car is handling and what condition the tires are in. Putting the power down can be an issue here, and I expect it will be even more so this year as we no longer have traction control. The next slow right is turn 6, which is similar to turn 5, only going the other direction. The line of sight here is not very good because there is a slight elevation change, so it is difficult to see the exit. However, like turn 5, you may not want to track all the way out because shortly after the corner is another left-hander, which I call the triple left-hander.
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