The No. 10 SunTrust Chevrolet Dallara of Wayne Taylor Racing will start Saturday’s GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Series Porsche 250 from the inside of the second row after qualifying Friday morning at Barber Motorsports Park in Leeds, Ala.
Ricky Taylor, co-driver of the SunTrust Racing machine with veteran Italian Max Angelelli for the second full season, turned a fast lap of 1 minute, 22.193 mph (100.738 mph) around the 2.3-mile, 17-turn natural road circuit just east of Birmingham. It placed Taylor third on the starting grid among 27 car-and-driver combinations entered for Saturday’s 2-hour, 45-minute race. Despite the solid starting position, Taylor, who earned his first career Rolex Series pole here last year, was somewhat disappointed after today’s 15-minute qualifying session.
“It wasn’t anything to do with the car,” said the 21-year-old Taylor, who is a mechanical engineering major at the University of Central Florida. “It’s just that I didn’t put two laps together well enough and just made too many mistakes. I think we had a car that could’ve been on the pole or second – definitely second, but maybe even pole. I just think I didn’t get everything from it. It’s just a matter of saving your tires for the race. Speed isn’t going to mean as much as it should. Having more tires for the race than everyone else is going to make the difference tomorrow. It’s hard to tell just how good the car is because the balance changed so much from old to new tires. On new tires, like I had for qualifying, the car feels really good, but it was a 180-degree turnaround from when I got out of the car after this morning’s practice, which was on old tires. The one really good thing for tomorrow is that I’m on the inside at the start.”
It’s just that I didn’t put two laps together well enough and just made too many mistakes.
Antonio Garcia, driving the No. 90 Spirit of Daytona Chevrolet Coyote, earned his first career Rolex Series pole today with a lap of 1:21.682 (101.368 mph), a full two seconds slower than Taylor’s track-record lap of 1:19.624 (103.988 mph) set here last year.
“Ricky’s not happy because he thought he could’ve gone quicker, but he’s in a good position on the inside of the second row,” said team owner Wayne Taylor, who co-drove to the 2005 Porsche 250 with Angelelli en route to that year’s Rolex Series championship for SunTrust. “That’s better than starting P2, here. If you can’t get the pole, this is the place to be. I think the guys did the best with what they had. They did a good job, and Ricky did a good job with the tools he had. We only got two good laps (out of the tires) during the qualifying session. All things considered, it was a pretty solid result. When you get down to it, the only thing that matters is where we’ll be after the checkered flag falls tomorrow.”