Sour Engine Hinders Taylor in IROC Finale at Atlanta
SunTrust Racing Duo of Taylor and Angelelli Finish Ninth in Series Points
HAMPTON, Ga., (Oct. 28, 2006) - A sour engine in the season finale didn't sour Wayne Taylor's first year of competition in the International Race of Champions, better known as IROC.
Representing the Grand American Rolex Sports Car Series via his 2005 championship, Taylor drove his seemingly underpowered IROC machine to an 11th-place finish at the 1.54-mile Atlanta Motor Speedway. And after splitting the four-race series with his Grand Am teammate - Max Angelelli - the duo finished ninth in points.
"It's been an honor to be in this series after winning the Rolex Series championship last year with the SunTrust Racing Team," said Taylor, who drove the first IROC race on the oval in Daytona (Fla.) before Angelelli took the wheel at Texas and on Daytona's road course for rounds two and three, respectively. "These guys do a heck of a job. I really enjoyed it and I'd like to do it again."
After taking full advantage of a week's worth of practice to get adjusted to the 3,500-pound stock car used in IROC, Taylor wasn't able to put his extensive track time to good use. From the start of the 65-lap race, his engine felt sluggish.
"Everyone just drove past me at the start," said Taylor, whose familiar ride in Grand Am is the No. 10 SunTrust Pontiac Riley. "I did what I could, but I just didn't seem to have the speed."
Despite the engine issues, the South African native beamed about being able to participate in the series. The Atlanta finale was only the second time Taylor has driven a front engine race car on an oval, the first coming at Daytona in February where he finished a respectable sixth on the spacious 2.5-mile superspeedway.
"Congratulations to Tony (Stewart) for winning the championship and thanks for everyone at Crown Royal," added Taylor.
Stewart, the two-time and reigning NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series champion, secured the IROC title thanks to two wins and a solid third-place finish at Atlanta.
Martin Truex Jr., the defending NASCAR Busch Series champion, won the race to notch his second career IROC victory.