SunTrust Driver Wayne Taylor Finishes Sixth in Spectacular IROC Race at Daytona Daytona Beach, Florida (February 17, 2006) -- Wayne Taylor, 2005 Grand American Rolex Sports Car Series Driver Champion and owner/driver of the No. 10 SunTrust...
SunTrust Driver Wayne Taylor Finishes Sixth in Spectacular IROC Race at Daytona
Daytona Beach, Florida (February 17, 2006) -- Wayne Taylor, 2005 Grand American Rolex Sports Car Series Driver Champion and owner/driver of the No. 10 SunTrust Pontiac Riley, competed in his first Crown Royal International Race of Champions (IROC) Race tonight, finishing sixth in a exciting race.
"What a lot of fun!" said an excited Taylor, who resides in Altamonte Springs, Florida. "Scott Sharp said to me at the start of the race, 'Wayne, you've only had three days in these cars. You're going to find out with these NASCAR guys, you have no chance'. He was so correct. They have so many tricks."
The 40-lap, 100-mile dash featured two big racing incidents that eliminated six contenders, including polesitter and five-time IROC Champion Mark Martin. On lap 10 Martin and NASCAR driver Ryan Newman touched and sent Martin skidding across on the Daytona grass at the start/finish line, eliminating the IROC Series legend.
On Lap 37, Steve Kinser appeared to have been tapped by Frank Kimmel and Kinser lost his drafting air, slid in front of Tony Stewart and got airborne, landing on his roof and sliding before coming to a stop. Daytona International Speedway safety crews extracted Kinser and he suffered a black eye. Stewart, Scott Sharp and Ted Musgrave were collected in the incident and out of the race for the night.
Taylor, an IROC rookie, opted to lay back, race low on the 2.5 Daytona Speedway tri-oval and drive a clean race.
"I ran a safe race. I didn't want to get caught up in any of the big mishaps and there were two big ones," added the two-time Rolex 24 At Daytona winner. "While I was running, I remember thinking that it was only a matter of time before they'll be a big accident. In the second incident, I didn't come out of it completely unscathed. I ended up riding into somebody and tore the whole right front side. With the three-lap dash at the end, I was up to fourth and I made some mistakes and got back to fifth or sixth. I really enjoyed it. I just hope I can do it again."
After the restart of Lap 37 of 40, Wayne got a good run and went from sixth to fourth, before getting caught out of the draft and moving back to sixth for the checkered flag. The sixth-place finish awarded Taylor nine points. The Round One race winner, Matt Kenseth, collected a total of 29 points towards the $1 million purse for the IROC Series champion.
"Wayne did a great job," said Jay Signore, IROC President and General Manager. "Sometimes when you're lying back there, you can stay out of trouble. It looks like that's what Wayne did. He said he really enjoyed himself and it really was a different race. The race wound up being a lot more challenging than I thought it would be. I thought we'd see a little more side-by-side racing. The carnage was a more than we've had in a long time, so that's the bad part. Overall, Wayne did a great job."
Taylor's next race will be back on the Grand American Rolex Sports Car Series circuit with co-driver and co-champion, Max "The Ax" Angelelli. Round Two of the 2006 season will be held at the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez in Mexico City, Mexico on March 4, 2006. The 250-mile/100-lap/two-and-three-quarter hour race, scheduled for 3:15 p.m. CT will be televised on a tape-delayed basis on Speed Channel at 8:00 p.m.
Angelelli will take over the IROC driving reigns at IROC's Round Two at Texas International Speedway on April 7. Angelelli will go through the same rookie training as Taylor did, including learning the high banks of the NASCAR circuit as well as bump drafting. The combined points of Taylor and Angelelli will go towards the overall IROC championship total. This is the first time that IROC has invited two road racing driving to compete in a co-driver format in its 30-year history.