KANSAS CITY, Kan. (Aug. 14, 2013) – With just three races left in the season, co-drivers Max Angelelli and Jordan Taylor and their No. 10 Velocity Worldwide Corvette Dallara DP team for Wayne Taylor Racing (WTR) find themselves left with zero margin for error if they are to achieve their goal of GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Series driver and team championships.
First up is Saturday night’s inaugural SFP Grand Prix on the newly configured road course at Kansas Speedway in Kansas City. Between turns one and two of the racetrack’s 1.5-mile tri-oval, which has featured NASCAR and IZOD IndyCar Series events since it opened in 2001, is a tricky, six-turn .87-of-a-mile series of right and left turns into, through and out of the infield. Angelelli and Taylor, who got a first-hand look at the layout two weeks ago during a local media event, believe the racing there Saturday night will be on the wild side, while speeds from turns two through four and back to turn one on the NASCAR tri-oval are expected to approach the 200 mph mark.
But the precision by which the WTR engineers and crew have operated all season long – in car preparation, race strategy and pit stop execution – arguably has been the best in the series week in and week out. That, and the team’s history in inaugural events over the years should be cause for considerable optimism for Angelelli and Taylor as they look for an all-important victory Saturday night. In 23 first-time visits to racetracks dating back to 2004, the team has four wins, four runner-up finishes and 10 podium results in all.
When the dust settles Saturday night after what’s expected to be a thrilling inaugural Rolex Series event, Angelelli and Taylor hope to be back on the top step of the podium for the third time this season, and a whole lost closer to their championship dreams.
Practice for Saturday’s two-hour, 45-minute SFP Grand Prix begins Friday afternoon with qualifying set for 10:45 p.m. EDT. Race time Saturday is 8 p.m. with live television on the new FOX Sports 2 channel, and a replay at 4 p.m. Sunday on FOX Sports 1. Live radio coverage by the Motor Racing Network (MRN) and Sirius NASCAR Radio Channel 90 begins with pre-race festivities at 7:45 p.m. Saturday. 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:
You had the chance to see the Kansas Speedway road course layout during a media event a few weeks back. What is your impression of the track and what are you expecting for this weekend’s race?
“It’s a very challenging track, I can tell you. It’s not like you approach a corner, brake, turn, go back on throttle, and that’s it. You have two corners that are extremely technical, kind of difficult – turn one and turn five. The approaches are very, very challenging. There are different ways to do those approaches. I’m expecting differences between all the drivers in the way they deal with those corners. At the same time, because of those differences, I’m expecting opportunities to make passes. I would compare the Kansas road course to Homestead.”
Road America came to a frustrating end for you last week. But you, Jordan and the team are still very much alive in the championship with three races to go. Your thoughts on the Road America race and your outlook for the rest of the season?
“Well, we were clearly the best car that was left in the race after the Starworks car fell out and the Sahlen’s car fell out after that, so it was huge opportunity for us to end up really close to the points lead. We were in perfect position to win. We were leading, and they were calling me in to pit for the last time when the yellow flag came out and ruined everything. Needless to say, that was a huge disappointment because it cost us a lot of track position. A lot of track position. What happened at the end of the race, it was clearly a mistake on my part. Unfortunately, I missed enough of the first corner to lose a few positions. That cost us four points in the championship and it was absolutely inexcusable. I’m not too happy with myself, still. I’m just looking to have a good race this weekend and in the last two races of the year and hopefully we can finish with a championship because this team absolutely deserves it.”
Jordan Taylor, co-driver of the No. 10 Velocity Worldwide Corvette Dallara DP for Wayne Taylor Racing:
You got a chance to visit Kansas Speedway a few weeks ago and event give media rides in a two-seater Daytona Prototype. What are your thoughts as you head back for the race this weekend?
“I think it’ll be a fun race. It’s a unique track where we use a lot of the oval with a pretty good road course in the infield. It’s definitely going to be a high-speed race when it comes to the oval, and a lot of people will be trying to outmaneuver each other all race long, slip-streaming their way to the heavy braking zone, which there are a couple of really big ones on that track. With the format GRAND-AM has, the competitiveness of the series, with the relative equality of the cars and the way they race each other week in and week out, I think it’ll be a good race for our car and for our type of racing. It’s going to be great for the fans, for sure.”
Your situation in the points isn’t nearly as good as it was a three races ago. Do you feel you can fight all the way back into the lead?
“We went into last week’s race 19 points back in the driver championship and moved to within 12 at Road America. That could have been a lot better had it not been for our incident at the end of the race, but it’s certainly reachable in the next three races. They’re all good tracks for us, including Kansas, I believe, so that bodes well for us. The team championship is at 17 points right now. That one’s looking more difficult, but you never know what will happen in this series. It’s been a rather unpredictable year.”
Wayne Taylor, team owner of the No. 10 Velocity Worldwide Corvette Dallara DP for Wayne Taylor Racing:
You head to a brand new racetrack on the schedule trying to fight your way back into the championship with three races remaining. Your thoughts as you head to Kansas Speedway?
“There are mathematical chances to win the championships we are chasing after the way the points stand at present. But it’s difficult to not feel so disappointed by what happened last weekend at Road America. It was the second race in a row where we were in perfect position to win the race but something devastating happened that completely took us out of it. It was getting spun from behind at Indy, and it was an incredibly ill-timed yellow at Road America. That really stings when every single point is precious at this point in the season. Now we’re headed to a new track that we’ve never been before, so we have no idea whether we’ll be good, bad or indifferent. We’re changing things up a bit with our driver lineup, kind of like we did last year. Max will qualify and start the race, Jordan will be finishing. We’ve also got an injured crewman – Jon Fricker – who can’t make the race. So, it’s a tall order for us this weekend, but this team is very focused. If you’ve been watching us all year, they’ve been beating everybody on strategy and on pit stops. They’ve certainly held up their end of the bargain. We just find ourselves in the situation we are in because other things just haven’t gone our way. We just need to go out and win some races before the season is over.”