ELKHART LAKE, Wis. (Aug. 7, 2013) – Suddenly there is a mountain of points to climb if Max Angelelli and Jordan Taylor are going to get back in the GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Series championship race with just four races remaining in the 2013 campaign.
Their championship lead and potential race win on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Formula 1 road circuit vanished in the blink of an eye courtesy of a most unfortunate turn of events that proved to be costly in so many ways. Instead of kissing the Yard of Bricks at race’s end, Angelelli’s bid to earn his Indy-based team’s first win there got the kiss of death with less than an hour to go, and he and the team are hoping desperately it doesn’t mean they also have kissed their championship hopes goodbye.
Shortly after making his final scheduled pit stop of the three-hour event at Indy, Angelelli just completed the No. 10 Velocity Worldwide Corvette DP’s race-high 34th lap in the lead. Ryan Dalziel, in the No. 8 Starworks with Alex Popow BMW Riley, slipped past Angelelli at the end of the long frontstretch on the ensuing lap. NASCAR and IndyCar Series part-timer A.J. Allmendinger, who was running third at the time as a guest driver in the No. 6 Michael Shank Racing Ford Riley, tried, then aborted his attempt to follow Dalziel past Angelelli. Allmendinger didn’t get out of harm’s way soon enough. Contact was made, Angelelli was spun around, and Allmendinger was promptly penalized for avoidable contact.
Angelelli was left trying to salvage a top-10 finish the remainder of the race but, with 10 laps remaining, smacked the outside SAFER Barrier while trying to navigate the high-speed, right-hand turn 13 onto the frontstretch and the team retired the car in 15th place.
The Starworks car went on to score the Brickyard victory and took over sole possession of first place in the standings. Angelelli and Taylor fell 19 points behind and into third place in the championship. That means, even if Angelelli and Taylor were to run the table by winning the last four events, the Starworks team would have to finish no better than third at each. It’s the simplest scenario among countless possibilities over the next four races.
First things first, Angelelli and Taylor return to the scene of a race the team dominated a year ago before a late-race accident under caution while leading. Angelelli and Ricky Taylor, older brother of his current co-driver, led a race-high 17 laps but had to settle for a seventh-place finish. In the inaugural Rolex Series race at Road America in 2011, Angelelli and Ricky Taylor started from the pole and led 12 laps around the 4-mile, 14-turn road course en route to a solid podium finish.
Practice for Saturday’s two-hour, 45-minute VisitFlorida.com Sports Car 250 begins Thursday afternoon with qualifying set for 11:40 a.m. EDT Friday. Race time Saturday is 5 p.m. with live television on SPEED. Live radio coverage by the Motor Racing Network (MRN) and Sirius NASCAR Radio Channel 90 begins with pre-race festivities at 4:45 p.m. Live timing and scoring during all on-track sessions can be found at www.grand-am.com, and on mobile devices at m.grand-am.com and the GRAND-AM smartphone app.
Max Angelelli, co-driver of the No. 10 Velocity Worldwide Corvette Dallara DP for Wayne Taylor Racing:
What are your thoughts about racing at Road America this weekend?
“The track, it has been very good for us the last two years even though we felt the car wasn’t going to be that good before both races. Both years, we were right there with a chance to win. This year, I again have a little bit of mixed feelings, not knowing exactly what to expect. So far, the Velocity Worldwide Corvette has been excellent every single race we’ve been to this year so, best-case scenario, it’s going to be good and we’ll once again be in position to race for the win. As far as the championship, we are back again in the same sort of role we’ve been in the last few years at this point in the season, basically in a must-win situation at all of the remaining races. It’s very upsetting because we are not in this position due to our own fault, but of something that happened that was beyond our control. Basically, we will need to win races and other things must happen that we can’t control if we are going to be able to win the championship this year.”
With the American Le Mans Series cars also competing at Road America this weekend, will you paying attention to its competitors, its practices, its racecars?
“I will pay attention to us, and only us, and this is where my focus is this weekend at Road America and also for the rest of the season. For 2014, there are other people who are looking out for that for me.”
Have you had a chance to get a good look at the incident at Indy that took you out of contention for the race win, and what is your impression?
“It’s very simple – A.J. (Allmendinger) took out the leader of the championship. He was a guest driver, he was a guest in our championship, and he did not show any respect, whatsoever. He tried to make a pass in a place and in such a way that it just did not make sense and it was totally unexpected and it was unacceptable the way it happened. He just stuck his nose inside during a very tight left-right corner. I couldn’t even expect such stupidity. He just revealed that he is very shortsighted and he completely missed the big picture. He took me out of the race, cost our team the lead of the championship, and he cost his team the race at that point, too.”
Jordan Taylor, co-driver of the No. 10 Velocity Worldwide Corvette Dallara DP for Wayne Taylor Racing:
“The thing we can take out of Indy is we had a really fast car and led most of the race. We had our usual great pit stops, the team executed well, we qualified well, and it was a good race until the point we got spun. We’ve had a fast car at every race this year so, knowing that going to Road America, I hope that means we have the chance to win again. Considering we’re so far behind in the points, I think we just have to go into this weekend like we have every race this year, which is basically focused on winning. We’ve won twice so far, we’ve had a fast car most everywhere, we’ve led at most of the races. You can’t change what you’ve been doing because, when you change your focus, that’s when you start making mistakes.”
Like most sports car racers, are you a big fan of Road America?
“I enjoy tracks like Road America, Watkins Glen, Mid-Ohio. They have lot of history to them in American racing. They’ve always been on the sports car racing calendar. We’ve seen a lot of history at those tracks. When we go out and about in the towns that surround those tracks, we get the chance to see where all the old sports car heroes hung out, the guys I looked up to growing up, who have done so much for the sport over the years.”
The Rolex Series and the American Le Mans Series, who will race together as United Sports Car Racing in 2014, will both be racing at Road America this weekend. What are your thoughts on that?
“I think it’ll be interesting because we’ve never shared a weekend before. The natural inclination will be people comparing every aspect of each series – the cars, the drivers, the lap times, the fans. All of those comparisons are valid since we’ll be at the same track at the same time, running in the same conditions. I’ll probably wander over to the ALMS side to check things out, just like any fan would.”
Wayne Taylor, team owner of the No. 10 Velocity Worldwide Corvette Dallara DP for Wayne Taylor Racing:
Your overall thoughts as the teams heads back to Road America faced with fighting its way back into the championship race?
“It’s a whole different ballgame, now. It’s all about winning every race. It’s all about winning every race, or else. Before the incident at Indy, we fought, we persevered, we got lucky a time or two but we were still in control of our own destiny and in position to win the championship, which is our goal each and every year. The incident at Indy changed everything. Mike Shank (owner of the No. 6 Ford Riley) called me and apologized, but the infuriating part was I saw (driver A.J.) Allmendinger on Twitter saying that he would do it all again if given the chance. For me, personally, it was devastating not only because of what it did to us in the points, but because it was such a stupid and selfish move. He’s not even fighting for the championship. You win so very hard to try and win championships, you work so hard for race wins, and then somebody comes along and can undo it all in the blink of an eye, and then go so far as to take absolutely zero responsibility for it. As you can see, I’m still not the happiest guy in the world about it. We’ve certainly got our work cut out for us these last four races and, even if we win the last four in a row, there’s no guarantee it would be enough to make up for what happened at Indy.”
Wayne Taylor Racing