INDIANAPOLIS – With all due respect to Jim Nabors, the Purdue University marching band, and their traditional rendition of the unofficial state song prior to each Indianapolis 500 from 1972 to this past May, co-drivers Ricky and Jordan Taylor and the No. 10 Konica Minolta Chevrolet Corvette Dallara Daytona Prototype team for Wayne Taylor Racing are happier than ever to be “Back Home Again in Indiana” for Friday’s third annual Brickyard Grand Prix.
The Taylor brothers and their Brownsburg, Indiana-based teammates take to the 2.439-mile, 14-turn road course at the 104-year-old Indianapolis Motor Speedway for the two-hour, 45-minute Tudor United SportsCar Championship race feeling determined with the series points lead in-hand with three other teams all within 11 points of the top spot. And, they are bent on completing the thoroughly dominating run that ended with a disastrous 15th-place finish in last year’s Brickyard Grand Prix – a result not of their own doing.
After qualifying on the pole and leading a race-high 26 laps during his stellar, one-hour and 14-minute opening stint, Jordan Taylor handed the No. 10 Corvette DP over to the capable hands of veteran Italian co-driver Max “The Ax” Angelelli, who quickly maneuvered his way back into the lead and stayed there for another 12 tours of the Indy road circuit.
But, with 52 minutes remaining, the race-leading Angelelli was punted from behind by NASCAR and IndyCar Series regular A.J. Allmendinger. By the time he recovered, he was knocked well out of the top-10 and, with the race going caution-free from that point to the checkered flag, there would be no chance to make up much ground. Consequently, a component failure caused by the contact with Allmendinger led Angelelli to smack the turn-13 wall 10 laps from the finish, and he never returned to the race. The 15th-place finish dropped the team from first to fourth in the GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Series championship, 19 points out of the lead. Fortunately, Taylor and Angelelli rebounded in a big way with three wins in the last four events to clinch the 2013 driver championship.
Two years ago, it was older brother Ricky Taylor who co-drove with Angelelli in the inaugural Brickyard Grand Prix and brought home a hugely satisfying podium finish. Taylor drove a brilliant closing stint, passing Formula 1, NASCAR and IndyCar veteran Juan Pablo Montoya with 22 minutes to go for third place, then getting Ryan Dalziel for second moments later. But a valiant effort to grab the lead from Sebastian Bourdais on a restart with less than eight minutes to go went awry. Dalziel was able to slip past to regain second as a result of the move, and Taylor was able to close the deal on a solid podium finish of third.
Last year, Ricky Taylor co-drove the No. 90 Spirit of Daytona Corvette DP with Richard Westbrook to a sixth-place finish after qualifying ninth and leading five laps during his opening stint. Meanwhile, Jordan Taylor’s inaugural Brickyard Grand Prix outing in 2012 resulted in a top-10 GT-class finish after starting eighth in the No. 88 Autohaus Motorsports Camaro GT.R alongside former NASCAR Camping World Truck Series regular Bill Lester.
Practice for Friday’s Brickyard Grand Prix begins Thursday morning with Prototype-class qualifying set for 5:05 p.m. EDT. The green flag for Friday’s two-hour, 45-minute race flies at 5:45 p.m. with FOX Sports 1’s live television broadcast beginning at 5:30 p.m. The Motor Racing Network’s live radio broadcast will be available on IMSA.com and MRNRadio.com, as well as select radio networks beginning at 5:15 p.m. Live streaming video of Thursday’s qualifying sessions will be available at IMSA.com beginning at 4 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 Wayne Taylor Racing Chevrolet Corvette Dallara Daytona Prototype:
You’re heading back to the team’s home track for Friday’s Brickyard Grand Prix. What are your thoughts?
“Indy is already a special racetrack, but going there as our team’s home race makes it even cooler. We had a good race there in our first attempt. I think we can show very well with a clean race. That first race there in 2012 was a very exciting day for us. There was a lot of carnage and everyone wanted to win the inaugural race at Indy. I had a shot to overtake (Sebastien) Bourdais on the final restart and I went for it but overdid it, myself, and went off, which caused us to lose a spot. I expect us to be very strong again this year and it would be nice to be out front for the beginning of the race and control it from the front.”
How would you characterize the road course layout at Indy compared to other places the series visits?
“The Indy road course, itself, is actually not the most exciting track we visit, from a driver’s standpoint. It is very low-speed and they have revised what used to be the fastest part of the track, which is a real shame because it was cool running through what is turn one for the IndyCar oval. I think they have added a really good passing spot on the backstraight, which will be good for the fans.”
This will be the first time LMP2 cars have raced at Indy while you’ve been there the last two years with the GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Series. How do you think they will take to the Indy road course?
“It is hard to tell as far as the P2 cars. I don’t believe they will be as dominant as they were at Mosport (Canadian Tire Motorsport Park in Bowmanville). But, not having the long straight from previous years on the Indy road course, that is definitely working in their favor. I think our biggest worries this weekend, as they pretty much have been all year, will be the 5 (Action Express Racing Corvette DP), the 90 (Spirit of Daytona Corvette DP) and the 42 (OAK Racing Morgan Nissan).”
JORDAN TAYLOR, driver, No. 10 Wayne Taylor Racing Chevrolet Corvette Dallara Daytona Prototype:
Your thoughts as we head to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course for the third annual Brickyard Grand Prix?
“Indy is sort of our home race as a team. For us as the Taylor family, Daytona is our home race since it’s so close to where we live in the Orlando area. But, considering the team is based in our brand new shop over in Brownsburg (Indiana), Indy is our home race. It’s a nice feeling going there. The guys are always excited to get the weekend started, and you can feel a little extra motivation from them to win in their backyard.”
How would you describe the track now that you’ve raced on it a couple of times?
“The track has a few changes from the last time we raced there. We’ve got a slightly different configuration and it’s been resurfaced on the infield. I always enjoy going to this race. I’ve always enjoyed driving on the track. It’s got mostly low-speed corners but it can make for a different challenge to get the lap time out of it. It offers a pretty big challenge to the engineer as you’re mostly in low-speed corners through the infield. Then it’s offset by the long front straight.”
Last year’s race was particularly frustrating after qualifying on the pole and leading the most laps only to get punted from behind while leading and having to settle for 15th place. Do you feel somebody owes you one this weekend?
“Yeah, it felt pretty devastating at the time, but we were able to rebound and go on to with the championship, which was nice. We can take a lot of positives from last year’s race. We had a fast car, good strategy and good pit stops. We got the pole and were able to lead a good amount during the race. So, going back this year, knowing we have a good history there, we will go in with a good baseline setup. We should be able to be quick right off the truck. Then, hopefully, we can capitalize on that and get through the race cleanly this time.”
Who else do you feel will be strong there this weekend?
“It’s difficult to say who will be quick this weekend. Every race this year, we’ve had about five cars that can win each race. We just have to focus on what we’re there to do, and that’s maintain and hopefully extend our points lead in the championship.”
WAYNE TAYLOR, owner, No. 10 Wayne Taylor Racing Chevrolet Corvette Dallara Daytona Prototype:
Your thoughts about Friday’s Brickyard Grand Prix on your team’s home racetrack?
“Don’t know quite what to make of this one. Obviously, all the focus for us is on the championship. Unfortunately, we went to do our test there earlier this season and had a steering problem, so neither Ricky nor Jordan have been on this particular, new track configuration, but I’m sure they’ll figure it out relatively quickly. Our main objective, obviously, is to stay ahead of the 5, the 90 and the 42 cars. Those are the contenders for the championship at this point with four races left. I think we’ll have a good car there. It’s like our home race.”
– TSC –
About Konica Minolta – Konica Minolta Business Solutions U.S.A., Inc. is a leader in enterprise content management, technology optimization and cloud services. Our solutions help organizations improve their speed to market, manage technology costs, and facilitate the sharing of information to increase productivity. Recognized as a #1 Brand for Customer Loyalty by Brand Keys for seven consecutive years, awarded “MFP (multifunction peripheral) Line of the Year” by Buyers Laboratory LLC, and named to the Dow Jones Sustainability World Index, the company focuses on end-to-end business solutions to help your business grow. Clients trust Konica Minolta to help them envision how they can achieve their goals and deliver innovative solutions to give shape to their ideas. For more information, visit www.countonkonicaminolta.com and follow @KonicaMinotaUS on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.
- Tom Jensen
NASCAR Editor at FOXSports.com & RACER Magazine