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Aug 06, 2014 - 04:02 PM
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Continental Tire Road Race Showcase at Road America Preview
Posted by: newsla on Aug 06, 2014 - 03:55 PM
USCR News
Wayne Taylor Racing: Continental Tire Road Race Showcase at Road America Preview - Ricky & Jordan Taylor


It’s time to begin another rebound at Road America for brothers Ricky and Jordan Taylor and their No. 10 Konica Minolta Chevrolet Corvette Dallara Daytona Prototype for Wayne Taylor Racing (WTR) at Sunday’s Continental Tire Road Race Showcase Tudor United SportsCar Championship event at the legendary Wisconsin racetrack.

 

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A year ago this weekend, Jordan Taylor and his then-co-driver Max “The Ax” Angelelli arrived at the 4.048-mile, 14-turn circuit located about an hour north and slightly west of Milwaukee not leading the GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Series point standings for the first time in three events. Two weeks prior, they had been taken out from behind midway through their race on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course and were plucked from the points lead to a seemingly unsurmountable 19 points behind in the championship.

Despite their rather unceremonious seventh-place finish at Road America, Taylor and Angelelli made up nine of those 19 points in the standings as the points-leading No. 7 Starworks Motorsport entry had a disastrous day. And the rest is history as Taylor and Angelelli ran the table at the season’s final three events with dominating victories at Kansas Speedway in Kansas City, Laguna Seca Raceway in Monterey, California, and Lime Rock Park in Lakeville, Connecticut to storm their way to the final Rolex Series driver championship.

This weekend’s scenario for the brothers Taylor is very similar to the one a year ago for the team, but the straits are not nearly as dire. Once again, they arrive at Road America not leading the point standings for the first time in three events, but their deficit to the new championship-leading No. 5 Action Express Racing Corvette DP duo of Christian Fittipaldi and Joao Barbosa is just two points with three events remaining. Also like last year, however, the team’s opportunity to at least hold onto its points lead if not increase it two weekends ago at Indianapolis was stripped away by the indiscretions of another competitor before the race field made it from the starting line to the first turn of the race. Ricky Taylor was slammed into a concrete barrier heading toward turn one moments after taking the green flag. The impact dislodged the all-important rear diffuser on the No. 10 Konica Minolta Corvette DP and the team had to resort to playing the fuel strategy game the entire race and cleverly salvaged a fourth-place finish while Fittipaldi and Barbosa went on to win.

In all three previous visits to Road America, the No. 10 WTR Prototype has found itself in position to win at one point or another. Ricky Taylor qualified on the pole when the Rolex Series first visited the facility in 2011, and he and Angelelli combined to lead nine of 46 race laps en route to a solid third-place finish. Despite qualifying only sixth the following year, Taylor and Angelelli combined to lead a race-high 17 of 49 laps, but a mishap while leading under caution with seven laps remaining dropped the team to a seventh-place finish. Last year, Jordan Taylor and Angelelli led 12 of 46 race laps but were shuffled back from fourth to seventh on a late-race restart while fighting their way to the front.

This weekend, the brothers Taylor hope to finally close the deal at Road America once and for all and hope to get back in the driver’s seat in the all-important Tudor United SportsCar Championship standings heading into the final two events of the season.

Practice for Sunday’s Continental Tire Road Race Showcase begins Friday afternoon with Prototype-class qualifying set for 5:25 p.m. EDT Saturday. The green flag for Sunday’s two-hour, 45-minute race flies at 2:15 p.m. with FOX Sports 1’s delayed television broadcast set for 6:30 p.m. The Motor Racing Network’s live radio broadcast will be available on IMSA.com and MRNRadio.com, as well as on select radio networks, beginning at 1:45 p.m. Live streaming video of Saturday’s qualifying sessions will be available at IMSA.com beginning at 4:20 p.m. Live timing and scoring during all on-track sessions is available at IMSA.com and the IMSA smartphone app.

RICKY TAYLOR, driver, No. 10 Konica Minolta Chevrolet Corvette Dallara Daytona Prototype for Wayne Taylor Racing:

The team has had a fast racecar in each of its three previous visits to Road America. How does that bode for the No. 10 Konica Minolta Corvette DP?

“It is very encouraging that we have had such competitive cars there in the past. I think there is a major difference between qualifying and racing on that track. We have been very good in qualifying there in the past but, the way that the races have gone, it just hasn’t been in our favor. I think we need to take something out of how we have approached this entire season and put together a solid race and collect good points.”

What is your impression of the Road America layout?

“I’m happy to be going back to one of the classic racetracks on our schedule. Road America offers a bit of everything and kind of reminds me of Le Mans in that it is so big and there are such long straights. With that said, GT traffic can be very challenging because you can get stuck in traffic in very key portions of the track, such as the carousel and the kink.”

We head to Road America without the points lead for the first time in several races. How does that affect your approach?

“It was a lot of pressure leading the points. The Action Express Corvette was the stronger car at Indy and they took the lead in points, partly due to our misfortune at the start of the race. But now we are on the offensive and they have all of the pressure to hold us off. We have three races to go and we’ll be racing on tracks where I feel we will be very strong. I am excited to be the one putting the pressure on. I think our team has been very solid this year and the Action Express team will have to be thinking about beating the Konica Minolta car every weekend because we will not give them a break.”

Indy was the latest example of your racecar being damaged by the indiscretions of another competitor and it affected your team’s final result. What are your thoughts on those types of incidents that have happened to you and Jordan numerous times this season?

“As drivers, we simply want to understand what the rules are and what the consequences will be for our actions. There have been a few incidents this year where we were under the impression that someone’s driving had warranted a penalty, but it never came and they were only handed a warning. It is our job now to act on the precedent set by the series to adjust our driving to compete more aggressively with our competitors without being penalized.”

JORDAN TAYLOR, driver, No. 10 Konica Minolta Chevrolet Corvette Dallara Daytona Prototype for Wayne Taylor Racing:

The team has had a fast racecar in each of its three previous visits to Road America. How does that bode for the No. 10 Konica Minolta Corvette DP?

“Yeah we’ve always had a good car at Road America. We definitely had a podium car last year but ran into some issues late in the race. I’m really looking forward to heading back there, especially being in the championship battle.”

What is your impression of the Road America layout?

“It’s a very long track, technical, and old school. It’s full of high-speed sections with lots of long straights that lead into big braking zones, so it is a good track for racing. It still has the old-school feel, similar to Watkins Glen.”

We head to Road America without the points lead for the first time in several races. How does that affect your approach?

“We only have three races left, so we have to make the most of every race now. At Road America, it will be key to bounce back after a tough race at Indy. We have to be aggressive, but also smart and race for points.”

Who else do you feel will be strong there this weekend?

“We’ve been pushed around in the last two races, which has hurt us. But that’s racing. If that’s how they’re going to race us, we’ll have to give it right back to them.”

WAYNE TAYLOR, owner, No. 10 Konica Minolta Chevrolet Corvette Dallara Daytona Prototype for Wayne Taylor Racing:

What is on your mind as you and the team head to Road America for the third-to-last race of the season?

“Obviously, with three races to go it’s all about the championship. We lost some points the last race at Indy, which was unfortunate, but we’re looking to rebound in a big way this weekend. Ricky got the pole there three years ago, and we pretty much have had a fast car there every year since. Everybody is pretty focused, perhaps even more so than usual, with another championship on the line. It’s a matter of just watching the whole points situation and acting accordingly. Even though we fell out of the championship lead, we’re only down by two points to the Action Express Corvette, which is not a big deal at this point. And, with the Spirit of Daytona team behind us by just nine points, the championship still is very much wide open, especially with the 1,000-kilometer race to finish the season at the Petit Le Mans. That’s going to be the wild card. First things first – our goal will be to score maximum points this weekend.”


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