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May 31, 2014 - 06:46 AM
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Practice Clean, But Not Perfect
Posted by: ASkyler on May 31, 2014 - 06:43 AM
Feature Articles
Practice Clean, But Not Perfect


By Scott Held, NASCAR Wire Service

Friday’s practice sessions for the Chevrolet Sports Car Classic were relatively incident-free. The worst dust-up came late in the afternoon session when Sebastian Asch struck the tire wall in Turn 1 and prompted a fourth and final red flag of the session.

The day’s first practice session was red-flagged about 30 minutes before its conclusion to remove Madison Snow’s GTD Porsche from the course after it stopped in the grass in Turn 7. Cars were back on the track less than 10 minutes later.

 

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POUNDING THE PAVEMENT

Organizers kept a close eye on the stretch between the final two turns on the circuit Friday, the first full day of racing on Belle Isle.

A water main under the track burst late Tuesday and the pavement buckled between Turns 12 and 13. Workers dug out about 80 feet of track and repaved and sealed the area. Organizers said they believed the pavement had enough time to cure and there was noticeable change to the section as Friday went on.

Another section of the track was damaged during the 2012 Grand Prix and delayed the race almost two hours. The track was repaired before last season’s race and there were no incidents. Organizers plan to spend $4 million replacing all the old pavement on the 2.3-mile course before teams return to the island next spring.

Drivers in both the TUDOR Championship and IndyCar Series said track conditions weren't anything they hadn't seen before.

BOWTIE BLITZ

It’s the Chevrolet Sports Car Classic and the title sponsor, whose world headquarters looms down the Detroit River from the course, is making sure everyone knows it.

The Chevy emblem is at the top of the city’s Renaissance Center and the automaker’s signage is all over the Belle Isle circuit.

Not that Jordan Taylor hasn’t noticed.

"It definitely puts on a lot more pressure when you have all the GM executives watching," he said.

Taylor and his brother, Ricky, are in the No. 10 Corvette DP in the Prototype class and winning here is old hat for Jordan.

He won a pair of races on Belle Isle in the old GRAND-AM Rolex Series, including last spring in a Corvette DP. He drove a Camaro GSR to a GT class win here in 2012.

He’s also not afraid to say why.

"Fast pit stops played a major role in both victories," he said. "Belle Isle can be a difficult place to pass, and with both teams, we had great pit stops that put us in the lead. That set the tone for the race.

"Once you’re in front, it’s a lot easier to defend."

It also will be a lot easier to meet those GM execs.

"We always have a big team meeting with all the Chevy people up in the Renaissance Center before the race, where they tell us the importance of this event," he said. "On our schedule, Detroit is definitely one of the big races that we want to win, right up there with Daytona and Sebring."

When he comes back next year, he’ll likely have a different hairstyle. He’s pledged to cut off his now-renowned mullet, which has been growing since 2013, at Watkins Glen later this season. Taylor hopes to raise at least $10,000 for a pair of charities.


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