Worthless Test The 2008 Rolex Sports Car Series presented by Crown Royal Cask No. 16 season came to an end with the final Miller Motorsports Park 1000k and, barely four weeks later, roughly 25 of the same cars (give or take) assembled at ...
The 2008 Rolex Sports Car Series presented by Crown Royal Cask No. 16 season came to an end with the final Miller Motorsports Park 1000k and, barely four weeks later, roughly 25 of the same cars (give or take) assembled at Daytona International Speedway for a test.
Can you say worthless?
Let's see ...
Worthy of topping the list is news centering around SunTrust No. 10 Dallara-Pontiac(?) team principal Wayne Taylor, who is avoiding this writer like the Bubonic Plague (people used to just say "The Plague," but a whole new generation, or two, has come up since "The Black Plague" hit Europe, so I thought I'd get specific, more or less).
At the test, Wayne Taylor, in order, introduced to this writer Jared Beyer's father, Jeff Beyer, "Ricky" Taylor and Jordan Taylor (I'd first met the brothers, oh, five years ago) and assorted others every time I saddled up next to the senior Taylor ... who would then book it. And we're talking "right now."
Geesh. Now you know there wasn't overstatement in "The Plague" stuff, above.
So, while talking Wednesday to Jason Pridmore (really, Google him), Wayne Taylor catches this writer's eye from about 20-yards, does the ringy-dingy thing with the little finger and thumb of one hand while pointing at his chest with the other and mouths, "In the morning."
Given the Thursday's phone call didn't work, either (at least he twice answered the phone but complained of being "in the midst of a conference call that I just have to finish") I've evidently not just taken a plunge down the list of Grand-Am's most influential, but fallen from a cliff - of which there are few in Florida.
Leave it to me to find 'em ...
Then again, this journalist ranked about 433, so we're not talking really big fall, anyway - not that Florida has really high cliffs to begin with.
Nevertheless, that Taylor's not talking still means something is afoot.
Here it is: Wayne's looking to go racing in the Jan. 24-25 Rolex 24 At Daytona with Jordan, Ricky and Jared - but not in Wayne Taylor Racing's No. 10 SunTrust Dallara (note the subtle change from an engine name?).
Instead, Wayne Taylor's looking to co-drive the Jeff Beyer-owned No. 13 Crawford (DP03)-Ford that Jared Beyer and Ricky Taylor will campaign for the 2009 season.
(Um, by the way, guys: you've already staked a claim to the "13" on the car so why not just ditch that orange in which it is painted and go for the bad-luck brass ring with a green paint scheme, too?)
The senior Taylor's co-driving with sons Ricky and Jordan Taylor will fulfill an ardent personal dream that Wayne Taylor has held since their births and, at one point, honestly had surrendered hope he'd ever realize after Ricky and Jordan didn't immediately take to racing - not even at all going to the track with the old man (sorry, Wayne).
Then, out of the blue about five years ago, the two decided to go racing and, since, quite successfully so.
However, getting long in the tooth, wrinkled and with sprinklings of gray hair (sorry, again, Wayne), Wayne Taylor was then in a race of a different sort; left hoping he'd still have the ability to drive a car when Ricky and Jordan achieved both proper racing acumen and emancipated age.
The brothers certainly have achieved the ability and age (meaning this writer will have a "Taylor" to kick around for years to come, thank goodness). Ricky drove a host of different DP chassis and teams in 2008, while Jordan likewise climbed in a similar number of GT cars (beyond other formulas in which he competed).
Re-reading the above, the thought occurs that such a short description of their racing achievements might leave the reader with the idea that the two have become "overnight successes."
Nope; they've worked for it fair and square. Furthermore, as the two crawled into ever-faster racing equipment, their respective computers also started processing more than games and class reports as Father Taylor started schooling the two in the art of finding sponsorship money with which to race.
That the "Taylor" name has opened some doors isn't in dispute. That the two young men have worked hard - on and off the track - shouldn't be, either.
Family business aside, there's also the matter of the SunTrust team, where longtime family friend, Taylor-offspring Godfather and SunTrust driver Max Angelelli will have to mesh with a new co-driver now that 2008 co-driver Michael Valiante is heading to another team (hint: it won two races in 2008). Details will be revealed next week on Valiante and the new SunTrust driver, who currently is on the high seas. By the way: he, too, won last year.
Regardless, all will have to be revealed come the Nov. 11-12 "new Pirelli tire" test, including:
Will SunTrust (et al) allow Wayne Taylor to compete against his own team (only) in the Rolex 24?
Will Wayne Taylor allow himself to compete against his own team in the Rolex 24?
Will the SunTrust team shift to another engine this year now that Pontiac has pulled its partial team sponsorship?
What colors will Chip Ganassi Racing With Felix (y Jose) Sabates run in 2009?
Can motorcycle championship racing ability (multiple, spread among three riders) translate into DP-racing success?
Which "hide the gray" men's hair-coloring will Eddie Cheever Jr. use on his beard (think of the commercial possibilities, Eddie. If you need some help, give me a ringy-dingy, K)?
And, how low will the DPs go? Some are predicting 1:38 DP Rolex 24 qualifying laps on the 3.56-mile DIS course after Level 5's (and 1995 Rolex 24 winner) Christophe Bouchut took out the 1:40 barrier in a new BMW-Riley.
Is the Porsche 4-liter stillborn?
Will Romain Dumas ever lift going through the DIS infield kink? (Dumas was absolutely awesome - but the Penske Racing team's reportorial cooperation wasn't similar in nature. C'mon, guys, we still pull up orange crates over here and I know people - all 432 of 'em above me).
In fact, some of the above and more will be discussed herein over the next week or so - all of it originating from one, single "meaningless test."
DC Williams, written exclusively for Motorsport.com