The No. 10 SunTrust Chevrolet Dallara of Wayne Taylor Racing will start Saturday night’s GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Series Canadian Tire 200 from pole for the sixth race in a row after qualifying Friday afternoon at Watkins Glen (N.Y.) International.
Ricky Taylor, the recently turned 22-year-old co-driver to veteran Italian Max Angelelli, earned his sixth consecutive and eighth career Rolex Series pole position with a lap of 1 minute, 5.962 seconds (133.713 mph) around the 2.45-mile, 11-turn NASCAR road course. It was fastest among 33 car-and-driver combinations that will take the green flag for Saturday night’s two-hour event.
“It was kind of drizzling earlier and I was saying to the guys that I wouldn’t be too upset if it just started pouring rain right now and we took our qualifying based on points and we started second,” said Taylor, who with Angelelli could manage no better than the ninth-fastest laps in each of today’s two morning practice sessions. “I knew the car would be improved after Max drove it in practice this morning and made some changes. The only different variable in qualifying was the NASCAR rubber. That qualifying was like 10 crashes every lap. It was pretty wild and I just can’t say enough about our Chevy power and our SunTrust team. Awesome.”
Taylor can tie Jon Fogarty’s series qualifying record of seven consecutive poles next week at the Montreal 200 on the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve. Fogarty qualified on the pole for seven races in a row and nine altogether during his 2007 Rolex Series championship season alongside Alex Gurney in the No. 99 Gainsco/Bob Stallings Racing Chevrolet Riley.
Memo Rojas grabbed the outside-front-row starting spot in the No. 01 Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates BMW Riley today while Fogarty qualified third.
“I didn’t think we had it today because all five poles that Ricky’s had to this point, he’d told me at some point in the weekend, ‘Don’t worry, Dad, the car’s good,’” said team owner Wayne Taylor, who co-drove with Angelelli to a pair of victories in late-summer sprint races at Watkins Glen en route to the Rolex Series championship for SunTrust Racing in 2005. “Today, when I asked him, all he could say was, ‘I don’t know, Dad. I’m not sure.’ I knew the guys would put a good set-up on the car and we knew that Ricky would haul it around, and he did. Yet again, the SunTrust team rose to the top. The car was not so good when we rolled it off the truck. Max did a lot of work to make sure the set-up was right, and gave it to Ricky and he did what he had to do.”