Over the course of its history, the Sahlen’s Six Hours of The Glen has featured some of the top names in all of motorsports and this year another illustrious driver will add his name to the list - NASCAR Sprint Cup Series star Jimmie Johnson.
The four-time defending Sprint Cup Series champion will make his Sahlen’s Six Hours debut with GAINSCO/Bob Stallings Racing and team of two-time champion drivers Alex Gurney and Jon Fogarty. The green flag will drop on the 29th Running of the Sahlen’s Six Hours of The Glen at 2 p.m. on Saturday, June 5.
“It is fantastic news for our fans and the Rolex Series to have Jimmie Johnson competing in this year’s Sahlen’s Six Hours of The Glen,” said Michael Printup, president of Watkins Glen International. “The Daytona Prototypes put on a great show here and I think his willingness to take time away from the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series on a race weekend speaks directly to the prestige of the Sahlen’s Six Hours event and the attraction of adding one’s name to the list of great champions that have won here. I have no doubt that Jimmie, Jon, and Alex will be in the hunt for a trip to Gatorade Victory Lane come the end of the race on Saturday, June 5.”
The Sahlen’s Six Hours of The Glen marks the first time Johnson has made more than one start in a season with the GAINSCO/Bob Stallings Racing team and just his second time running multiple GRAND-AM Rolex Series races in a year. The Sahlen’s Six Hour will also be Johnson’s first start in any series on the traditional 3.4-mile Grand Prix road course that has played host to some of the greatest racecar drivers of all time since opening in 1957. The six-hour sports car race has been an international fixture on The Glen’s annual schedule since 1968.
“I always look forward to racing with Alex, Jon and the GAINSCO/Bob Stallings Racing team,” said Johnson, who drives the No. 48 Lowe’s Chevy for Hendrick Motorsports in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series. “We’ve tried to make some things come together for other races and it’s just never worked out so I’m very excited that we were able to make this happen. I think most people know how much I want to win on a road course and also in a GRAND-AM car. It would be pretty cool if we could pull it off. I know Alex and John have won this race before and I hope we’re able to do it again.”
Johnson co-drove the No. 99 GAINSCO Auto Insurance Chevrolet Riley at the season-opening Rolex 24 At Daytona the last three years, scoring a second-place overall finish with Gurney, Fogarty and Jimmy Vasser in their debut race together in 2008. Team owner Bob Stallings has always looked to expand Johnson’s races with the team beyond the Rolex 24 and the circumstances were right for this year’s Sahlen’s Six Hours. Johnson will compete at both Watkins Glen, which is a Saturday race, and in the Cup race activities at Pocono Raceway on the same weekend.
“We are very motivated to win another Sahlen’s Six Hours of The Glen and for our first race there with Jimmie,” Alex Gurney said. “This isn’t a guest driver situation and never really has been as Jimmie has been a key part of this team since we first raced with him in 2008. I know Jimmie will have no problem getting up to speed, as he has proven that to us each year at Daytona. I think he’ll also really love The Glen long course. Those particular sections in the “The Boot” are some of the best parts of the track and Jimmie should really shine there.”
Gurney and Fogarty have been one of the most competitive driver combinations in the Sahlen’s Six Hours of The Glen over the last four years. The co-drivers have two Top-5 and three Top-10 finishes in the event including a runner up finish in 2006 and win in 2007. Their only finish outside the Top-10 came in 2009 and was the result of a late race incident with 2009 Rolex 24 champion David Donohue as he and Fogarty battled for fifth place.
“We are ready to get back to our winning form at Watkins Glen and Jimmie is just the guy to help us do that,” Fogarty said. “I say this every time we announce that Jimmie is going to drive with us, but he is a great guy to have around not only as a driver but as a friend and teammate as well. The only bummer is that we will not get to see him as much as we normally do at the Rolex 24 because of his split racing schedule, but that is a small price to pay. It is great to have him back.”
Tickets for the entire 2010 season including the Heluva Good! Sour Cream Dips at The Glen, August 5-8, and Camping World Grand Prix at The Glen, July 2-4, weekends are on sale now! Fans can purchase tickets by calling the Watkins Glen International ticket office at 866-461-RACE (7223) or logging on to the official website, www.TheGlen.com. Tickets, gift certificates and track merchandise can all be purchased at The Shop located at 2 North Franklin Street in downtown Watkins Glen. The Shop is open Monday-Saturday 9-5 and Sunday 9-4.
Release courtesy of Watkins Glen International
PHOTO FROM NASCAR MEDIA