The No. 10 SunTrust Ford Dallara of Wayne Taylor Racing will start Saturday's GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Series Brumos Porsche 250 from the pole after qualifying late Friday morning at the Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway road circuit. Ricky...
The No. 10 SunTrust Ford Dallara of Wayne Taylor Racing will start Saturday's GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Series Brumos Porsche 250 from the pole after qualifying late Friday morning at the Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway road circuit.
Ricky Taylor, the 20-year-old resident of nearby Apopka, Fla., and new co-driver to last year's race-winner Max Angelelli in the No. 10 SunTrust Ford Dallara of Wayne Taylor Racing, turned a fast lap of 1 minute, 42. 341 seconds (125.228 mph) and held of a stiff challenge from Jon Fogarty in the No. 99 Gainsco/Bob Stallings Racing Chevrolet Riley to win his second career pole in the last six Rolex Series events.
The top qualifying effort gave the SunTrust team a sweep of this season's pole positions at the legendary 3.56-mile, 11-turn superspeedway road circuit. Angelelli turned the fastest lap in qualifying at this year's season-opening Rolex 24 At Daytona and also went on to turn the fast lap of the race en route to a sixth-place finish despite being hampered by myriad mechanical issues.
"As always, these Rolex qualifying sessions are really exciting," said Taylor, who moved to the top spot on the speed chart on his third lap of today's 15-minute qualifying session and improved his time in four of his next five tours of the circuit while Fogarty was keeping pace approximately one-tenth of a second behind. "Even for me, driving the car, it was really nerve-wracking. On the radio, I kept hearing Simon (Hodgson, team manager) tell me every lap, 'You're going to have to go faster, you're going to have to go faster, Fogarty's coming.' We kept improving, but I didn't know that he didn't improve more than we did, so it was really anxious moments, I guess, until I saw we were on the pole. This means so much. Hopefully, this justifies me being in the car. Dad was on the pole here in 2005 for the July race. I've been coming here since I was a baby, watching him for so many years, just not knowing what it's like, wondering what it's like, not knowing what the racing is like. To do this is just fantastic. The SunTrust team is such a good team, it's really easy to look good. I really didn't know what it would be like coming into this year, but everything seems so much easier than I thought it would be in a lot of ways. They really take care of you. I don't even have to bring my own helmet to the track. The car is always spot on. They always make me look good."
Taylor, who is in his third season of Rolex Series competition and his first with the SunTrust team, scored his first career pole at Barber Motorsports Park in Birmingham, Ala., in April. He followed that up with his first podium finish of third at Virginia International Raceway in Alton at the very next race, and then his first career victory on Memorial Day at Lime Rock Park in Lakeville, Conn. Taylor qualified on the front row two weekends ago at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course in Lexington.
This morning's wet opening practice sessions, conducted under a light sprinkle throughout, made setup a challenge for the Rolex Series competitors as conditions were almost completely dry by the time the qualifying session began.
"Daytona's always been our home track, so we are just ecstatic," said team owner Wayne Taylor, who put the SunTrust car on the pole here back in his Rolex Series championship season of 2005 and went on to finish second in that year's Brumos Porsche 250 with Angelelli. "I can say on Ricky's behalf that this year has been a big step for him. Being on a team like this, whether it's his dad's or somebody else's, there's always going to be pressure when you have big commercial players like we have in SunTrust. And the way he's managed that has been pretty incredible. And then, also not having driven this car in the wet, today was a bit of a daunting experience for him in not knowing what was going to happen in qualifying. All he thought about is what it was going to be like if it was raining. And then, just to go out and get the pole like that in the dry, it's absolutely fantastic."