Taylors Eye Birthday Bonus at Brickyard

W.Taylor Racing

Wayne Taylor Racing carries a five-point lead in the Prototype standings heading into Friday's Brickyard Grand Prix at Indianapolis. (Photo: Courtesy of IMSA)

IMSA Prototype points leader Ricky Taylor will celebrate his 25th birthday in just 10 days.  His younger brother, Jordan, would like nothing better than to deliver an early gift this weekend at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

The Wayne Taylor Racing duo sits atop the standings entering Friday’s Brickyard Grand Prix, the ninth round of the inaugural TUDOR United SportsCar Championship.  Their Konica Minolta Corvette has scratched out a five-point lead with a string of five straight top-five finishes – including a victory on the streets of Belle Isle Park in Detroit.

The Taylor brothers are hoping to keep that streak going with their 2014 season now headed into its four-race stretch run.

"Indy is already a special track, but going there for our team’s ‘home race’ makes it even cooler," Ricky Taylor said of the WTR organization, which is based close to "The Brickyard" in nearby Brownsburg, Ind.  "The road course, itself, is not the most exciting track we visit … from a driver’s standpoint.  They’ve revised what used to be the fastest part of the track, through Turn 1 on the oval.  But they’ve added a good passing spot on the back straight, which will be good for the fans."

Jordan Taylor returns to Indy with a sense that the 2.534-mile, 14-turn circuit owes him one.  A promising start to last year’s race ended with a 15th-place finish.

Taylor qualified on the pole and led a race-high 26 laps in his opening stint.  But with Max Angelelli behind the wheel in the final hour of the race, contact from AJ Allmendinger forced the No. 10 entry off the pace.  Angelelli later smacked the wall 10 laps from the finish as the result of component failure from the run-in with Allmendinger.

"It was devastating at the time," Taylor said.  “But we can take a lot of positives from the race.  We had a fast car, good strategy and great pit stops.  So going back this year, we know we have a good history there and we’ll have a good baseline setup.  We should be quick right off the truck and hopefully, we can get through the race cleanly."

Angelelli and Jordan Taylor recovered from the disappointment of last year’s Indy race to close the season with wins in three of the last four races, claiming the Prototype championship for WTR.  Jordan has a new co-driver this year, but team owner Wayne Taylor says the 2014 goal is the same as it was in 2013.

"All the focus for us is on the championship," he said.  "Unfortunately, we went to do our test at Indy earlier this season and had a steering problem.  So neither Ricky nor Jordan has been on this new track configuration.  I’m sure they’ll figure it out quickly.  Our main objective is to stay ahead of the (No.) 5, 90 and 42 cars."

The No. 5 Action Express Racing Corvette, with do-drivers Joao Barbosa and Christian Fittipaldi, holds second place in the Prototype standings – five points off the pace.  Then comes the No. 42 OAK Racing entry, 10 points behind – being driven this weekend by Gustavo Yacaman and Ho Pin Tung.

With a victory and two second-place finishes in its last three starts, the No. 90 Spirit of Daytona Racing tandem of Michael Valiante and Richard Westbrook has pulled to within 11 points of the Taylors.

All four IMSA classes are competing at Indianapolis this weekend, bringing the total car count to 49 with 96 drivers on the post-tech entry list.

TUDOR United SportsCar Championship teams will open practice Thursday morning at Indianapolis Motor Speedway and qualify later in the day.  Motor Racing Network will have live coverage of Friday’s Brickyard Grand Prix beginning at 5:30 p.m. (ET), with live streaming at MRN.com.

Related Topics:

Jordan Taylor, Ricky Taylor

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