Daytona 24 Hour Qualifying: Gainsco
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No. 99 GAINSCO Team Focuses On Race Strategy after Qualifying Goes As Expected
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (January 22, 2009)  GAINSCO/Bob Stallings Racing and Alex Gurney will start 11th in the Rolex 24 At Daytona for the second consecutive year after a solid but unsurprising qualifying run Thursday on the 3.56-mile road course at Daytona International Speedway.

"We knew from the test that weren't really going to be a threat for the pole," said Gurney, who turned a top lap time of 1:41.666 (126.060 mph). "Car wise, we haven't focused much on qualifying. We have really been working on the race and we can certainly win from 11th. It felt like we got a good lap and we improved the car, so it wasn't too bad."

Gurney improved his times repeatedly through the quick 15-minute qualifying run and recorded his fastest time on his 8th and final lap of the session. Gurney also qualified 11th for last year's Rolex 24 but moved to the front of the field a little over one-hour into the race. Gurney and teammates Jon Fogarty, Jimmy Vasser and Jimmie Johnson frequently led and challenged for the win throughout the 2008 event and ultimately finished second to record GAINSCO's best career result in the Rolex 24.

"We are working pretty good and that was another step in the right direction in qualifying, for sure," Gurney said. "We will keep fine tuning on Friday, make sure we have done all of our driver changes and just be ready for the long haul."

While a pair of 11th place qualifying efforts are not on pace with Gurney's 2007 Rolex 24 pole, teammate Vasser has noticed something this year that may still give GAINSCO an edge.

"This year it seems to be a little more relaxed and I think good things are born out of attitudes like that," said Vasser, who has been with GAINSCO for all three of its previous Rolex 24 attempts. "Don't get me wrong, all four of us will push hard, but there is a tone in the air that I think is good. There is a lot of camaraderie and a good chemistry going on in the team, more so than in any other year. The team is as prepared as it has ever been and just been able to take it one step better."

Unseasonably cold temperatures could also factor into the race. Temperatures Thursday morning only reached the upper 30s and the high for the day never broke 60 degrees.

"With the cool temperatures, it is definitely really slick when you first leave the pits on cold tires," Gurney said. "That exit to pit lane is real tricky, so you have got to be careful, but it should be fine."
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