Wayne Taylor Racing Qualifying Report

Tequila Patron Sports Car Showcase at Long Beach

Date: April 17, 2015
Event: Tequila Patron Sports Car Showcase (Round 3 of 10)
Series: Prototype division of the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship
Location: Grand Prix of Long Beach (Calif.) Street Circuit (1.968-mile, 11-turn temporary street course)
Pole Winner: Ricky Taylor of Wayne Taylor Racing (1:14.790 at 94.729 mph – track record)

The No. 10 Konica Minolta Corvette DP for Wayne Taylor Racing (WTR) will start Saturday’s Tequila Patron Sports Car Showcase on the pole after TUDOR United SportsCar Championship qualifying Friday afternoon on the historic Grand Prix of Long Beach (Calif.) seaside street course.

Ricky Taylor, sharing the driving duties with younger brother Jordan Taylor for this weekend’s first sprint race of the season, turned in a track-record lap of 1 minute, 14.790 seconds at 94.729 mph around the 1.968-mile, 11-turn temporary circuit overlooking Long Beach Harbor for his 11th career Prototype-class pole and first since the August 2012 sprint race at Watkins Glen (N.Y.) International. It also ended a 17-race streak without a pole for WTR, dating back to Jordan Taylor’s pole-winning effort on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course in July 2013. Ricky Taylor will lead the 18 car-and-driver combinations to the green flag for Saturday’s one-hour, 40-minute race.

“This is really nice,” said Taylor, who with his WTR teammates is celebrating the one-year anniversary since the introduction of partner Konica Minolta as primary sponsor at this event in 2014. “Long Beach is a really special event. It’s only our second year here and there’s already a crowd like I’ve never seen before. It’s a really cool atmosphere. Everyone wants to be on pole and win here. Track position is so important. It’s been a long time since I’ve had a pole. We were really quick and I was fastest in the final practice before qualifying by a little bit. I was making excuses for everyone else saying that we were the only ones on new tires. ‘The car felt good but we were on new tires,’ just making excuses. Then the car was even better in qualifying and on low fuel. It just got better and better, which really bodes well for the race. It’s all very good and very positive.”

Taylor, who finished second here a year ago co-driving with his younger brother, swapped the provisional pole with last year’s race-winner Scott Pruett over the last several laps before finally gaining the upper hand on the penultimate lap of the 15-minute qualifying session.

The top-five qualifiers for Saturday’s Tequila Patron Sports Car Showcase at Long Beach are:

1. Wayne Taylor Racing (No. 10 Corvette DP) with Ricky Taylor and Jordan Taylor (1:14.790 at 94.729 mph – track record).

2. Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates (No. 01 Ford Riley) with Scott Pruett and Joey Hand (1:15.048 at 94.404 mph).

3. Action Express Racing (No. 5 Corvette DP) with Christian Fittipaldi and Joao Barbosa (1:15.274 at 94.120 mph).

4. Spirit of Daytona Racing (No. 90 Corvette DP) with Michael Valiante and Richard Westbrook (1:15.553 at 93.773 mph).

5. Action Express Racing (No. 31 Corvette DP) with Dane Cameron and Eric Curran (1:15.915 at 93.325 mph).

Race time is 7:05 p.m. EDT Saturday with a live video stream provided by IMSA TV at IMSA.com beginning at 7 p.m. FOX Sports 1’s two-hour next-day-delayed broadcast is set for 4 p.m. Sunday. Live timing and scoring during all on-track sessions is available at IMSA.com and the IMSA smartphone app.