Another Near-Win at Laguna, for Goodness Seca

Runner-Up Monterey Grand Prix Finish the Team’s Third in Four Races
By Konica Minolta Corvette DP Drivers Ricky & Jordan Taylor

Date: May 4, 2014
Event: Continental Tire Monterey Grand Prix (Round 4 of 11)
Series: Prototype division of the Tudor United SportsCar Championship
Location:  Laguna Seca Raceway near Monterey, Calif. (2.238-mile, 11-turn road course)
Start/Finish: 6th / 2nd (Running, completed 87 of 87 laps)
Winner: Johannes van Overbeek and Ed Brown of Extreme Speed Motorsports (HPD ARX-03b)

A second consecutive victory at Laguna Seca Raceway near Monterey, Calif., was just not meant to be for No. 10 Konica Minolta Chevrolet Corvette Dallara Daytona Prototype for Wayne Taylor Racing (WTR) co-drivers Ricky and Jordan Taylor, but there was consolation in the fact Sunday’s runner-up finish in the Tudor United SportsCar Championship Continental Tire Monterey Grand Prix – the team’s third near-win in four races this season – put the brothers Taylor within just three points of first place in the championship.

Jordan Taylor, the 22-year-old younger brother of 24-year-old Ricky Taylor and winner of this race last September en route to the 2013 GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Series driver championship with last year’s full-time co-driver Max “The Ax” Angelelli, took the lead in today’s two-hour race with 51 minutes to go and stayed there until polesitter Johannes van Overbeek in the No. 2 Extreme Speed Motorsports LMP2 entry got by him just 15 minutes before the checkered flag and pulled away to a comfortable victory, thwarting any chance of a Laguna Seca repeat by the No. 10 WTR Corvette.

“I think it was as good we probably could’ve done,” said Taylor, who finished second with his brother last month on the streets of Long Beach, Calif., as well as with Angelelli and his father Wayne Taylor at the season-opening Rolex 24 At Daytona. “We knew coming in the P2s were going to be strong. On our last pit stop, I knew we had to do a strong out lap because that was where the P2s were struggling, so we made the most of it. We made a move around the 90 (Spirit of Daytona Corvette) and the 5 (Action Express Racing Corvette) on our way to the lead and we were able to stretch it. But, from the time we made that last stop, we were saving fuel all the way to the end and we were the only Daytona Prototype to have to do that. The 2 (van Overbeek) had a lot more pace and we were saving fuel. At the end of the day, second was great for us and it’s good for the championship.”

On what turned out to be van Overbeek’s race-winning pass, Taylor struggled to get through debris navigating the left-hand turn two and the Extreme Speed Motorsports driver was about to slip past in the right-hand turn three.

“They told me on the radio there was debris in turn two,” Taylor said. “I felt something on the tires and it kind of messed me up from turn two to three and that’s where he got me.”

Ricky Taylor, who qualified sixth, drove a solid opening stint before handing the Konica Minolta Corvette over to his brother on lap 26, 35 minutes into today’s two-hour race. He briefly dropped a position to Memo Rojas in the No. 01 Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates entry on the opening lap, but regained the position two laps later, and then made his way into the top-five the very next lap.

“It was good,” said Taylor, who won the pole here in the No. 10 WTR prototype in 2011 en route to a third-place finish with Angelelli. “I made a mistake at the start and flat-spotted the tires. But our car was really fast. So all I had to do was give it over to Jordan and I knew he had a really good car underneath him. The Konica Minolta guys did some really good changes overnight, which helped us transform the car for today. Hats off to the team and all the guys. They were awesome.”

The runner-up finish, combined with the fourth-place finish by the points-leading No. 5 Action Express Corvette DP shared by Joao Barbosa and Christian Fittipaldi, further tightened the points race four rounds into the season. The Taylor brothers moved from third to second in the championship, tied with the No. 01 Ganassi Ford of Rojas and Scott Pruett, three points behind the Action Express duo. Pruett and Rojas finished third today.

“I’d say it was a great result,” team owner Wayne Taylor said. “Obviously, we had nothing on the LMP2 car, but the result helped us in the points championship, so I’m really happy.”

Next up for the Tudor United SportsCar Championship competitors is the Chevrolet Sports Car Classic Saturday, May 31, on The Raceway at Belle Isle Park temporary street circuit near downtown Detroit. Jordan Taylor and Angelelli won last year’s race from the pole. This year’s one-hour, 40-minute sprint race for Prototype- and GT Daytona-class cars begins at noon EDT with FOX Sports 1’s delayed television broadcast set for a 1:30 p.m. start.