Grand Am Virgina: GAINSCO Scores Hotly Contested Win; Stevenson Repeats 2008 Win
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The Grand Am Rolex Series raced at Virginia this past weekend. For those Rolex regulars in attendance they could have easily mistaken the race for a Barber Motorsports Park July event rather than the traditional April Virginia event. Ambient temperatures climbed into the high 90's as the field took to the track for a 2 hour and 45 minute race.

In what may be the last race Pontiac will run as an official General Motors brand, the marque took home victory in the Daytona Prototype class and finished 1-2 in the GT class. Sources leaked on Friday that the brand may be killed within General Motors as early as Monday after an 82 year run with the company. The political landscape had no impact on the racing as action on the track was hot and intense.

The race started out with the pit lane walk, allowing fans to walk the pitlane, get autographs, and get up close and personal with the cars that just 20 minutes later would be taking to the track in anger for the event. Virginia had what appeared to be their best spectator turnout yet as parking lots were full and motorhomes lined the track.

The race action didn't disappoint the fans as the battle for victory came down to the very last lap. When the track went green with five minutes remaining, Michael Shank Racing's Michael Valiante battled against GAINSCO's Alex Gurney for the lead. The TelMex car of Scott Pruett had been a factor in the race prior to the final caution. However on the restart, David Donohue got into the back of Pruett. When Pruett and Donohue went wide in turn one, SunTrust's Max Angelelli tried to slip by on the inside. Donohue made contact with Angelelli sending he and Pruett together. Donohue was the only of the three to continue in the race.

Gurney withstood the challenge and led Valiante across the finish line by .705 of a second for GAINSCO's first 2009 win and ninth career team victory. GAINSCO averaged 96.074 mph in the victory and completed 81 laps. Gurney shared his ride with Jon Fogarty and Valiante shared his ride with John Pew.

"It was a great day and this is where we always want to be," said Gurney who first teamed with Fogarty at GAINSCO in the 2006 race at VIR almost exactly three years ago. "Our guys did some really neat things over the off season and after Daytona. We have a new car and a lot of nice detail changes so we have really made some big improvements."

In their 40 Grand-Am Rolex Series races together with GAINSCO, Gurney and Fogarty have nine victories, 20 total top-three podium finishes and 11 poles. Saturday's win was GAINSCO's first since Mid-Ohio last June.

"The race to me just seemed to be a typical Grand-Am race," Gurney said. "Just really intense, so many fast guys and good teams and it is just tough to be up there and get the breaks in traffic and not make mistakes. At the end Michael and I were both in a fuel situation, I think, and my guys were yelling at me every lap 'you're not making the (mileage) number, you're not making the number and we are going to run out of fuel.' So, we were happy to see the yellow. It was a great race with Michael there and he just got held up in traffic - that was right before the esses - and it was just one of those unlucky deals. That's happened to me quite a bit last year."

"I'm really proud of the performance we had this weekend," said Valiante's team owner Mike Shank, whose other car finished sixth. "Our guys drove strong races, the engineers made some great calls with pit strategy, and our guys were great in the pits once again. We were hoping to get back to the top of the podium, but this was still a strong weekend for us and now we'll look for more at New Jersey."

Darren Law and David Donohue, winners of the season-opening Rolex 24 At Daytona, finished third in the No. 58 Brumos Racing Porsche Riley.

Christophe Bouchut and Scott Tucker took fourth in the Supercar Life Racing BMW Riley, followed by Memo Gidley and Brad Jaeger in the No. 77 Doran Racing M
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