Brickyard Podium for Visit Florida Racing

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IMSA Racing PhtoosIndianapolis, Ind. (25 July 2014) – Visit Florida Racing extended their run of strong finishes on Friday as the No. 90 Visit Florida Corvette DP finished third in the Brickyard Grand Prix with drivers Richard Westbrook and Michael Valiante.

The podium finish marks the fourth consecutive top-three for the Daytona Beach-based squad, which has continued to pick up momentum in the IMSA TUDOR United SportsCar Championship battle with the string of strong results.

Valiante opened the race from behind the wheel and slotted into third at the drop of the green flag. The Canadian stayed in podium contention through a long stint before turning the car over to Westbrook to take to the finish on a lap 67 pit stop. Returning to the field ninth in line, Westbrook cycled up the order and made his own forward progress to be back to third on lap 78.

But before the champagne could be sprayed, ‘Westy’ had to make one final dash for fuel to make it to the finish but had the speed to hold the track position he had earned, bringing home another solid points finish as the team will now focus on the Road America round in two week’s time.

“We are just keeping this incredible run going,” said Westbrook. “Since Detroit, we’ve been on the podium – second, first, second, now third. That is where we need to be if we want to be vying for the championship. That is our goal now. So yes, I’m pretty happy. It would have been nice to have a bit more pace, we’ll come after them at Road America. It was so close at the end. It was a tough one, but it has been a good Indy for us compared to last year. It is just 200% better.”

“We came here not with a great car, and the team did a fantastic job making as many gains as we could before the race,” said Valiante. “We were close. Richard (Westbrook) and I talked and wanted to make sure we got on the podium today because we didn’t think we had the car to win.  We achieved that goal, but we are going to have to roll off the truck better the next couple of rounds if we want to contend for a championship. We have a four-race podium streak going, but we want to be back on top.”

IMSA Racing PhtoosThe team has been working remotely the last few races, preparing the No. 90 Visit Florida Corvette DP away from the team shop in Daytona Beach, Florida thanks to some good relationships with teams like Whelen Engineering’s Marsh Racing. But with a fortnight to the next race, the team is looking forward to heading home to reset and prepare for the relished weekend at Road America.

“We started this weekend a little bit behind, but I’m proud that we made up the time that we did this weekend,” said team owner Troy Flis. “Just a couple of practice sessions, not much time at all to make progress but we still did okay. It will be good to get back home to Daytona and reset a little bit. We wanted to be more than third, but if we can just keep doing that consistently we’ll have nothing to complain about and we can be where we want to be championship wise. It was a great result from the team and Michael (Valiante) and Richard (Westbrook), but I’d be lying if I told you I wasn’t mad about losing today. Hopefully we can turn it up a bit in a couple of weeks.”

The Road America event will take place in two weeks’ time on August 8-10.

Action Express Racing Wins Brickyard Grand Prix

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Fittipaldi and Barbosa dominate to deliver Action Express its first Indianapolis victory

IMSA Racing PhtoosINDIANAPOLIS (25 July 2014) – Perfect strategy and pit stops along with outstanding driving from Christian Fittipaldi and Joao Barbosa all combined at Indianapolis Motor Speedway Friday night to see Action Express Racing capture the team’s first-ever Indianapolis victory. The result added to the growing list of achievements for the North Carolina-based squad who opened the 2014 season with a big victory in the Rolex 24 At Daytona.

Action Express Racing returned to the lead of the provisional IMSA TUDOR United SportsCar Championship standings and the No. 5 Corvette Daytona Prototype remains the only car to have completed every race lap so far this year.

IMSA Racing PhtoosFittipaldi and Barbosa dominated to lead a race-high 92 laps of the 108-lap event while also conserving fuel the entire race and delivered Action Express Racing the win and the opportunity for the entire team to kiss the famous Indianapolis Motor Speedway Yard of Bricks.

“It’s almost too much to believe all at once to win here in Indianapolis!” said team owner Bob Johnson after receiving the team owner trophy on the Indianapolis podium. “It is something we have worked so hard for and we came here feeling good thinking maybe this was our time and it was. What a great job from every single person on this team. The drivers were fantastic, both Joao and Christian did a perfect job in the car. Iain Watt (Engineer), Gary Nelson (Team Manager), Elton Sawyer (Director of Team Operations), the whole crew and everybody just did a great job. It was flawless. The pit stops really were big and I think that is just a result of a lot of hard work by the team. This is fantastic and will be great to add to our resume.”

IMSA Racing PhtoosFittipaldi opened the race from the fourth position and capitalized on a wild start that saw several cars get together in the first turn to move into second place heading into Turn 1 and emerge from the first corner with the race lead. He led through the majority of his stint which saw a mix of green flag running and several caution periods.

Action Express Racing took advantage of the third full course with 2 hours and 10 minutes yet to go in the race to bring the No. 5 Corvette Daytona Prototype to pit lane for fuel, tires and a driver change. Barbosa strapped in and a quick pit stop by the Action Express crew saw the car return to the prototype lead.

An extended yellow ensued for track repairs and Race Strategist Iain Watt coached Barbosa to save as much fuel as possible while under the yellow.

When the field went back to green, there was just over an hour and a half remaining in the race and Barbosa set out to run a fast race pace while also continuing to conserve fuel. All four TUDOR Championship classes were back competing together with the nearly 50-car field making traffic a big factor.

That traffic came into play when a GT car ran into the back of the No. 5 machine which saw Barbosa drop to second in the order behind the No. 01. But remaining calm, cool and collected at the wheel, Barbosa began gaining on the leading No. 01 machine.

When the No. 01 took to pit lane for its second stop, Barbosa regained the race lead. A brilliant pit stop with 52 minutes remaining in the race saw the No. 5 Action Express Racing Corvette Daytona Prototype leapfrog the No. 01 and return as the race leader.

Through the final stint, Barbosa managed to grow his margin on the field with each time by while also carefully managing the fuel in order to make it to the end. That fuel strategy worked out perfectly for the Action Express Racing team as all the other contending prototypes had to make a late-race splash for fuel while the No. 5 Corvette DP stayed out on track. With over a 45-second gap on the second place car, Barbosa had no pressure from behind as he took the checkered flag and the Indianapolis victory.

“I don’t think winning here in Indy has really sunk in quite yet, but it is definitely right up there,” said a pleased Team Manager Gary Nelson. “One of the things we have worked the hardest on this year behind the scenes is how to conserve fuel and not lose lap times. We actually did a test just for that purpose a couple of months ago at VIR. After Laguna we learned while we were saving fuel we were losing lap times and that hurt as at the end so when this race started, we looked at it as two stops and a splash. But then those two yellows came out and we decided to try and save fuel the whole way. I don’t think we could have done another lap, right after we took the white flag we went to reserve and it was a long last lap. But we made it and we are very thrilled. We came into the pits in second on our second pit stop and came out in first on the most critical stop and we were able to maintain the gap to the cars behind us. So having a fast car gives you a lot more options. But having a fast car that also gets good mileage is really hard to achieve. Today we had good mileage, a fast car, all the pit stops were flawless and all of those things had to line up today and they did.”

Action Express Racing looks to carry its winning momentum into the next TUDOR Championship round in two weeks’ time at Road America. The team took a double podium finish in last year’s event and aims to make it a repeat trip to the podium this year.

DRIVER COMMENTS:

Christian Fittipaldi, No. 5 Action Express Racing Corvette Daytona Prototype: “It was definitely a smart, exciting race. Action Express gave me a very, very good car. We had the consistency and we had the speed throughout the race. I just had to keep it cool at the beginning of the race for my stint. I had to push but couldn’t afford to make any mistakes. Obviously Joao (Barbosa) went out for a longer stint, and he did an excellent job, and he brought it home. We are really, really happy. It took a monkey off of our back because we’ve been knocking at the door for another win a couple of times now. I don’t know what to say. It is fantastic. We are back to P1 in the points right now.  It couldn’t have been better a better day.”

Joao Barbosa, No. 5 Action Express Racing Corvette Daytona Prototype: “I was saving fuel the whole time once I got in the car. We knew that it would be the difference between one less pit stop at the end. That proved to be just a perfect decision. I was struggling a little bit in the beginning. It was hard to keep the other cars behind me. I was able to keep a good pace. The Corvette DP was awesome. Action Express did an excellent strategy, excellent pit stops, and gave me the lead at the end for the last hour. I was able to manage the fuel consumption, the traffic, avoid mistakes and bring it home.  I am very proud of winning at Indy with such a great bunch of guys at Action Express. It is awesome to win here. Such a great place with such great history. To win Daytona and Indy in the same year – what an unbelievable achievement and feeling.”

Michael Shank Racing with Curb/Agajanian Brings Home Sixth Place Finish in Brickyard Grand Prix

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IMSA 2014:   Tudor United SportsCar Championship Brickyard Grand Prix at Indianapolis Motor Speedway Jul 24Indianapolis, IN (25 July 2014) – Running fourth in the closing laps of the Brickyard Grand Prix, Michael Shank Racing with Curb/Agajainian was looking to break into the podium ranks on Friday night at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. But the long green-flag run to the checkered flag took its toll as the team, along with most of the Prototype runners, had to surrender the track position with a quick visit to pit lane for fuel to the finish to score sixth in Round 8 of the IMSA TUDOR SportsCar Championship.

John Pew opened the race from behind the wheel, and was able to avoid any issues in a highly dynamic race start that saw cars making contact and taking to the grass as the field slowed for the tight turn one complex as Pew hung tough to run fifth in the order with the No. 60 Ford EcoBoost/Riley machine.

“I just found a clear space and went for the clear space,” said Pew. “It was the only thing I could do. I just reacted to the situation.”

After emerging from the first lap action and settling into a race pace, Pew soon found himself fighting another battle as the brakes were not as efficient later in his run.

“It wasn’t stopping like it was before,” said Pew. “The brakes were taking a lot of pressure to even lock them up, which is unusual for this car. I had to move my brake points way back. Once I got further into my stint, some of the looseness went away. There was a lot of traffic out there, but I thought most of the drivers were pretty heads-up. The GT guys have gotten a lot better but always in the back of my mind I’m thinking I have to give the car to Ozz, so there’s no reason to take any risks. But you still have to get around traffic and stay in the best position you can.”

The race was then a matter of one fortunate yellow, and a second that never came as a caution just ahead of the hour mark made for a great fuel window for Pew to make the stop and turn the car over to Negri. The four-class (P, LMPC, GTD, and GTLM) field meant that nearly fifty cars shared the 2.435-mile circuit, making for a busy time behind the wheel for both Pew and Negri.

“With the PCs and the GTs, it was hard to gauge when to get close to them and when to let off a little so I could lose less time,” said Negri. “I fought hard. I finished the race and I’m going to go home happy because I know I gave it my best. We have some stuff to improve, some stuff to do, which we will keep working hard at. Brilliant job by the crew on pit stops. I worked very hard on my in and out laps.”

The closing laps never yielded a hoped-for caution period, forcing the team to take to the pit lane for a final dash of fuel, returning to the fray to finish sixth.

“We had our fingers crossed but we were committed to that plan,” said team owner Mike Shank. “It just didn’t work out for us today but we knew we were not where we want to be. We improved over the weekend, just like we did at Mosport, but we know that there is more to do to unlock everything this car is capable of so we will just keep at it. I was happy with how the guys performed and it was a straightforward weekend, but just one without the pace we need just yet. Looking forward to Road America already to keep pushing.”

Michael Shank Racing next heads to Road America in two weeks for Round 9 of the TUDOR Championship.

 

Photo Courtesy: Walter G. Arce, Sr.

Brilliant Strategy Salvages Fourth at Brickyard

First-Lap Incident Ends Hopes of Victory at Indy for Ricky & Jordan Taylor,
Who Go into Fuel-Saving Mode To Save Five Precious Points in the Standings

Date: July 25, 2014
Event: Brickyard Grand Prix (Round 8 of 11)
Series: Prototype division of the Tudor United SportsCar Championship
Location: Indianapolis Motor Speedway (2.439-mile, 14-turn road course)
Start/Finish: 7th / 4th (Running, completed 108 of 108 laps)
Point Standing: 2nd (247 points, two out of first)
Winner: Christian Fittipaldi and Joao Barbosa of Action Express Racing (Corvette DP)

Call it the kiss of death – relatively speaking – for the eventual fourth-place-finishing No. 10 Konica Minolta Chevrolet Corvette Dallara Daytona Prototype for Wayne Taylor Racing in Friday’s Tudor United SportsCar Championship Brickyard Grand Prix on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course. Before the field made it to the very first turn of the two-hour, 45-minute race, brothers Ricky and Jordan Taylor already had to kiss goodbye their chances of kissing the venerable “Yard of Bricks” on this day.

As the field took the green flag and headed down the long front straight toward the hard, right-hand turn one of the 2.439-mile, 14-turn road circuit, starting driver Jordan Taylor was abruptly shoved to the right and into the concrete barrier at the pit lane exit by young Sage Karam, driver of the No. 01 Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates Ford Riley. The impact to the No. 10 Konica Minolta Corvette DP completely detached its rear air diffuser – a hugely important component of the racecar’s aerodynamic system that was dangling by nothing more than bungee cords and was rendered essentially ineffective for the remainder of the race.

And there went any hopes and dreams by the No. 10 team of celebrating victory, Indy-style, and left today’s brick-kissing to the No. 5 Action Express Racing Corvette DP duo of Christian Fittipaldi and Joao Barbosa, who also turned their five-point deficit to the Taylor brothers atop the championship entering the weekend into a two-point lead with three races remaining.

Things actually could have been much worse for the brothers Taylor and the No. 10 Corvette DP brigade as brilliant strategy saw Jordan Taylor save enough fuel during his one-hour, 55-minute stint to enable the team to cover the two-hour, 45-minute race distance on just two pit stops. With the rear-end damage to the car, it would have been futile for Taylor to try and keep pace with the lead pack, thus the team instructed him to cruise around in eighth place in fuel-saving mode. He was the last Prototype-class competitor to make a second pit stop, when he turned the car over to his brother for the final run to the finish with less than 50 minutes remaining.

Ricky Taylor resumed in eighth place and held that position, like his brother, until six of the seven cars ahead of him began to pit, one-by-one, for a final splash of fuel with 13 minutes remaining. Two of those six competitors – Scott Pruett in the No. 01 Ganassi Racing entry and Richard Westbrook in the No. 90 Spirit of Daytona Corvette DP, managed to hold their positions in front of Taylor after their fuel stops. But Ryan Dalziel and Johannes van Overbeek in the Nos. 1 and 2 Extreme Speed Motorsports LMP2 entries, respectively, Gustavo Yacaman in the No. 42 OAK Racing LMP2 entry, and Oswaldo Negri in the No. 60 Michael Shank Racing Ford also were ahead of Taylor but all rejoined the race behind him after their fuel stops. Eventual winner Joao Barbosa never needed a third stop, either, despite making his last fuel stop several laps before the No. 10 team.

That enabled the Ricky Taylor – over the final 13 minutes – to gain four precious positions in today’s final order of finish and five precious points in the championship with only Road America in Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin, Circuit of the Americas in Austin, Texas, and the Petit Le Mans at Road Atlanta remaining on the schedule.

“We were done at the beginning of the race after the crash in turn one,” said Jordan Taylor, who qualified seventh here yesterday after earning the pole here last year en route to the GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Series championship. “From there, it was a matter of survival and trying to get as many points as possible. We saved fuel in the middle stint to make it to the end from our last stop. I think that’s what really saved our race, strategy-wise because, with all that damage, we just didn’t have the pace. Ricky was able to hold of Dalziel at the end, which was close. But it was about as good as it could have possibly been, I guess, after what happened on lap one. We got driven into the wall, exactly the same as we were at Mosport (Canadian Tire Motorsport Park two weekends ago) and there was no call made. It’s frustrating to race like this because we’re being put in the dangerous position of leaving it up to the drivers. And we all know drivers aren’t very smart. (Laughs.)”

“Jordan did a great job during his stint to save all that fuel,” said Ricky Taylor, who co-drove the No. 10 Corvette DP to a third-place finish alongside Max “The Ax” Angelelli in the inaugural Brickyard Grand Prix in 2012. “The guys did a great strategy and that was what really saved our day. It was unfortunate that there was no call made on that incident on the first lap because I think that kind of a move warrants at least some sort of penalty for doing that, otherwise we’re just going to get pushed around all year for being Mr. Nice Guy. If there’s nothing that’s going to be done after those incidents, then we’re going to have to fight back. That definitely cost us our day. We don’t even know what we had because we had so much damage to the rear of the car. We might have even had a winning car, we’ll never know. It was internal damage that you can’t see at first glance, but it was very significant.”

“This one was all about the team, plain and simple,” said team owner Wayne Taylor. “Every single thing that went wrong, they fixed and they had an answer to it. To get our car smashed up and put in this condition, yet again – yet again, our car gets smashed into and nothing happens – this fourth place is down to all the guys. The team just did fantastic. We lost our lead in the points but we leave here only down by two with three races to go. This really could have been a monumental disaster. If we have one of our worst days of the season and still bring home a fourth-place finish, that really says something. Hats off to everyone who is part of this organization.”

The Tudor United SportsCar Championship takes next weekend off before resuming the 2014 campaign with the Continental Tire Road Showcase at Road America Sunday, Aug. 10. Race time is 1:15 p.m. EDT with FOX Sports 1 providing a delayed television broadcast of the two-hour, 45-minute event beginning at 6:30 p.m.

Second Row Start for Action Express Racing at Indianapolis

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IMSA Racing PhtoosINDIANAPOLIS – Christian Fittipaldi set the fourth fastest time in IMSA TUDOR United SportsCar Championship qualifying on Thursday with a lap of 1:18.102-seconds to nab a starting spot on the second row of the grid for Friday’s Brickyard Grand Prix event.

The No. 5 Action Express Racing Corvette DP was the fastest among the Daytona Prototypes.

“It was good, I think we made progress through the whole day,” said Fittipaldi. “We came up to speed pretty good. We had a strategy in qualifying which was to wait three or four minutes to go out and I think that was the right choice. I hit a little bit of traffic when I was going to peak on my tires. But I can’t complain. We’ll see what tomorrow brings, we’re the fastest DP. We know who we’re fighting against in points and we’re ready for the battle tomorrow.”

Action Express Racing had just two practices ahead of Thursday evening’s qualifying session and the team was quickly up to speed and posted the fourth fastest time in the first practice. Barbosa then went quickest in the second practice with a lap of 1:18.322-seconds. In both sessions, the Action Express Racing Corvette DP was the fastest Daytona Prototype on track.

“We came to Indianapolis and tested and it’s kind of the same Indy that it’s always been,” said Team Manager Gary Nelson. “The sun comes out and the track slows down, the sun goes away and the track goes faster. So you kind of get caught in your changes between practice sessions. In the end we didn’t have much left. I think that was a pretty good run. We might have had one lap that could have been better, but we had some traffic. But to get the half a second that we needed for the pole would have been more than we had I think today. Indy should be hard to win – that’s why we want to win it so badly. Everybody brings their best here. We’ve brought our best and we’re going to try every possible way to get to the top of the podium knowing that nobody is going to hand it to us. We’re up for it!”

A short 15-minute warm up at 2:00 PM ET will precede Friday’s 2.75-hour Brickyard Grand Prix which will go green at 5:45 PM ET. The race will be televised live on FOX Sports 1 beginning at 5:30 PM ET.

MRN Radio will also carry live coverage of the event at www.mrn.com.

As always, live timing and scoring can be followed at www.imsa.com throughout the weekend.

Wayne Taylor Racing Qualifying Report

Brickyard Grand Prix

Date: July 24, 2014
Event: Brickyard Grand Prix (Round 8 of 11)
Series: Prototype division of the Tudor United SportsCar Championship
Location: Indianapolis Motor Speedway (2.439-mile, 14-turn road course)
Pole Winner: Ryan Dalziel of Extreme Speed Motorsports (1:17.603 at 113.145 mph)
Wayne Taylor Racing: 7th by Jordan Taylor (1:18.592 at 111.721 mph)

The No. 10 Konica Minolta Chevrolet Corvette Dallara Daytona Prototype for Wayne Taylor Racing (WTR) will start Friday’s Tudor United SportsCar Championship Brickyard Grand Prix from the inside of the fourth row after qualifying Thursday at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

Jordan Taylor, who with his older brother and co-driver Ricky Taylor leads the Tudor series standings, turned a fast lap of 1 minute, 18.592 seconds at 111.721 mph around the legendary speedway’s 2.439-mile, 14-turn road course. It was good for seventh among 48 car-and-driver combinations entered for Friday’s two-hour, 45-minute race.

“It’s probably about what we expected,” said Jordan Taylor, last year’s polesitter here who handled the qualifying duties for only the second time in eight races this year. “We weren’t fastest in practice. We tried some stuff for qualifying and I think we learned a good bit. But we still have some room for improvement. We’ve always raced better this year than we’ve qualified and practiced, so I’m not worried, yet. It’s frustrating, but you can only score points on race day, but we can’t be too frustrated.”

Taylor qualified fifth for the May 31 Chevrolet Sports Car Classic on the Streets of Belle Isle in downtown Detroit, where he and his brother co-drove to the team’s first victory of 2014.

The top-five qualifiers for Friday’s Brickyard Grand Prix are:

1. Extreme Speed Motorsports (No. 1 HPD ARX-03b) with Ryan Dalziel and Scott Sharp (1:17.603 at 113.145 mph).

2. Extreme Speed Motorsports (No. 2 HPD ARX-03b) with Johannes van Overbeek and Ed Brown (1:17.879 at 112.744 mph).

3. OAK Racing (No. 42 Nissan Morgan) with Gustavo Yacaman and Ho Pin Tung (1:17.908 at 112.702 mph).

4. Action Express Racing (No. 5 Corvette DP) with Christian Fittipaldi and Joao Barbosa (1:18.102 at 112.422 mph).

5. Spirit of Daytona Racing (No. 90 Corvette DP) with Richard Westbrook and Michael Valiante (1:18.188 at 112.299 mph).

Race time is 5:36 p.m. EDT Friday with live television provided by FOX Sports 1 beginning at 5:30 p.m. Live radio by the Motor Racing Network (MRN) will be streamed at IMSA.com, and MRNRadio.com, as well as select MRN affiliates beginning at 5:15 p.m. Check local listings. Live timing and scoring during all on-track sessions can be found at IMSA.com and via the IMSA smartphone app.

Michael Shank Racing with Curb/Agajanian Ready for Brickyard Grand Prix

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Pataskala, Ohio (23 July 2014) – Michael Shank Racing with Curb/Agajanian is eager to return through the gates of Indianapolis Motor Speedway this week as the team and drivers John Pew and Ozz Negri prepare for the Brickyard Grand Prix on Friday.

The IMSA TUDOR United SportsCar Championship event is held as part of the big Kroger Super Weekend which also features the NASCAR Sprint Cup and Nationwide Series.

While each NASCAR Series will run the oval, Indianapolis fans will get to see IMSA take on the recently redesigned ‘roval’ circuit,  which is a 2.435-mile circuit that uses a section of the oval as well as the infield road course.

All four TUDOR Championship classes will reunite back on track together for the event which will set up a combined class grid of 49 cars around the 14-turn circuit that also plays host to IndyCars and MotoGP as the Speedway continues to evolve from its once-a-year event origins.

Pew and Negri look to get the No. 60 Ford Ecoboost powered Riley quickly up to speed on the Indianapolis road course which has been updated since the squad’s last visit to the track. While much of the course remains the same, there is now a new chicane in the final corner as well as some small changes to the infield which many predict will produce an even closer and more exciting race.

The team is fresh off of a hard-fought race at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park in which Pew and Negri drove to a fifth place finish. The duo will target one of the most cherished podiums on the calendar and look to improve upon their season-best finish of fourth at Detroit.

“It is always special to go to Indianapolis, and having the Brickyard GP as part of this inaugural IMSA season adds a lot,” said team owner Mike Shank. “We are looking forward to this new layout and the fans should have a great view with the new mounds that they’ve built up around the track. This is a great way for us to showcase IMSA and really with two races (Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge + TUDOR Championship) in one day it’s a great day for the fans. We are still chipping away at this EcoBoost package and feel like we are improving every time out so we just want to build on a solid day at Mosport with a strong run on Friday night.”

It will be a quick two-day event for the Ohio-based team with two practice sessions on Thursday ahead of qualifying which will take place at 5:05 PM ET and will be streamed LIVE on IMSA.com. The 2.75-hour Brickyard Grand Prix is set to go green at 5:45 PM ET Friday evening with FOX Sports 1 carrying live coverage starting at 5:30 PM ET.

Live timing and scoring is available at scoring.imsa.com.

‘Back Home Again in Indiana’ for Brownsburg-Based Wayne Taylor Racing

Konica Minolta Corvette DP Looks for First Brickyard Grand Prix Win

INDIANAPOLIS (July 22, 2014) – 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.”

Visit Florida Racing Brings Big Momentum to Indianapolis Motor Speedway

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Daytona Beach, Fla. (21 July 2014) – As Visit Florida Racing brings the No. 90 VISITFLORIDA.com Corvette Daytona Prototype to the iconic Indianapolis Motor Speedway this week, the team carries big momentum into the event following a string of positive IMSA TUDOR United SportsCar Championship results.

The Visit Florida Racing squad followed up its breakthrough win in the Sahlen’s 6 Hours of the Glen with a second place result just two weeks ago at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park. That podium outing marked the third consecutive podium for the team and its drivers Michael Valiante and Richard Westbrook. The group has finished among the top-five in all but one race so far this year.

That consistent trend of positive race outings has seen the Visit Florida Racing team become a major contender for the TUDOR Championship title as the season enters its final run of four races. The organization now sits fourth in the standings, just 11 points behind the championship leader.

The Indianapolis Motor Speedway is among the favorite stops on the schedule for drivers and teams alike with each competitor hopeful to kiss the famous bricks after the checkered flag.

The Indianapolis Motor Speedway circuit utilizes both the oval and infield road course which culminates into a challenging 2.439-mile, 14-turn lap. The Visit Florida squad first visited Indianapolis Motor Speedway three years ago when the GRAND-AM Rolex Series debuted at the track in 2012.

“I’m very pleased with how the Visit Florida Racing team has been performing,” said Team Owner Troy Flis. “We didn’t quite get off to the start we wanted at the beginning of the season but it seems we’ve found our stride and the results are finally reflecting what this team is capable of. We have a couple of these Indianapolis races under our belts now and we’re ready to go. It would be incredibly special to win at the Brickyard and to be the ones kissing the bricks at the end!”

The Brickyard Grand Prix is held as part of the Kroger Super Weekend which also features the NASCAR Sprint Cup and Nationwide Series events.

Visit Florida Racing will have a compact two-day schedule with two practice sessions and qualifying on Thursday. A 20-minute warm up will precede the 2.75-hour Brickyard Grand Prix on Friday which is set to begin at 5:45 PM ET.

The race will be televised LIVE on FOX Sports 1 beginning at 5:30 PM ET. Live timing and scoring is available at scoring.imsa.com.

Action Express Racing Revs Up for Indianapolis

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Denver, N.C. (21 July 2014) – When Action Express Racing entered the 2014 IMSA TUDOR United SportsCar Championship, the team’s goal was not only to win races, but also the championship title. The group got off to a strong start with a big win in the season-opening Rolex 24 At Daytona and now with just four races remaining, the North Carolina-based team and drivers Christian Fittipaldi and Joao Barbosa maintain that championship focus as the squad sits just five points out of the championship lead.

Additionally, the No. 5 Action Express Racing Corvette Daytona Prototype remains the only car that has completed every race lap so far this year.

Action Express Racing visits the famous Indianapolis Motor Speedway for the Brickyard Grand Prix this week as the TUDOR Championship marks Round 8 of the season. It’s the third consecutive trip to the circuit for the team after having competed at Indy with a two-car effort in 2012 & 2013.

All four TUDOR Championship classes will be back together on track in Indianapolis and as always, traffic will be a factor. Action Express Racing aims to steer clear of any trouble and return to the podium once again. A win at the Brickyard is one that all on the team would treasure.

“We are really looking forward to Indy,” said Team Manager Gary Nelson. “It’s been a track that’s been in my dreams since I began watching races as a small boy. At one point the goal was just to get to Daytona and Indy just to see the tracks and feel the history and as I grew up and began my racing career my dreams changed to maybe get a trophy at Daytona and Indy. After some success at Daytona, I didn’t think an Indy trophy would ever be possible. And now we’re going there with a legitimate chance to be competitive and come out of there hopefully on the top step of the podium. I think we learned a lot at the Indianapolis test so we’re looking forward to it. We’ve been competitive in every race. We’ve been putting ourselves in good position until something unlucky has happened, but we’re getting the most that we can out of each event. We’re bringing good cars to the track, the pit stops are amazing and our drivers are doing one heck of a job. I’m just really looking forward to the rest of this season.”

In addition to the team’s previous two race outings at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, Action Express also completed a successful test at the track with Barbosa last month. The data collected provides Action Express Racing with a strong notebook of information to build off of for this week’s two-day Brickyard Grand Prix race event.

“We’re expecting to win at Indy because that is always our team motto – expect to win,” offered Barbosa. “It’s not going to be easy because this championship is very competitive. But we had a very good test at the track. We have a very good car and team so I’m confident we can get back on the podium soon.”

The 2.439-mile, 14-turn track utilizes both the infield road course and oval section of the speedway with the cars circulating clockwise.

The famous Fittipaldi name has long been synonymous with racing at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway with a history that stretches back to 1983 when Christian’s uncle Emerson Fittipaldi first raced at Indy in the USAC Gold Crown Series. Christian Fittipaldi is a former Indianapolis 500 driver who took his best result in the prestigious open-wheel race in his 1995 debut when he finished runner-up, just 2.4-seconds behind the winner.

“I’m really excited about going back to Indy,” said Fittipaldi. “The team had a very good and productive test a few weeks ago. It was the same case as when we went to the Glen. A month and a half before the 6 Hour race, we went to the Glen and had a very good test. We managed to capitalize on our performance come race day and we finished third. Hopefully we can do the same thing at Indy.”

Action Express Racing rallied to a fourth place finish two weeks ago at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park when contact early in the race saw the No. 5 Corvette Daytona Prototype fall two laps down. The team was able to earn back both laps but with no yellow flag periods in the race, Action Express settled for fourth at the finish and maintained a strong hold in the championship.

The team will have a very busy and condensed schedule for the two-day Brickyard Grand Prix event. Thursday sees two practice sessions followed by an evening 15-minute qualifying session. Barbosa and Fittipaldi will also be on hand at the hauler parade from 6:00 PM – 6:30 PM Thursday evening to sign autographs and interact with fans. A 20-minute warm up takes place Friday afternoon with the green flag set to fly for the 2.75-hour race at 5:45 PM ET.

Qualifying will be video streamed LIVE on IMSA.com. The race will be televised on FOX Sports 1 LIVE beginning at 5:30 PM ET.

MRN Radio will have live coverage of the event at www.mrn.com.

Follow @AX_Racing on Twitter for live updates throughout the race. Live timing and scoring is available at scoring.imsa.com.