Taylor Survives Bark River II - Looks Towards Crandon
Belvidere, IL (August 13, 2009) - Taylor Racing brought the familiar red, white, and blue Skyjacker Suspensions BFGoodrich Tire Ford F-150 to Bark River International Off-Road Raceway, in hope of landing back on the podium after an uncharacteristically sub par performance the previous stop at the 1.5 mile all-natural terrain track. For some reason, this track has not been kind to Scott Taylor through much of his career, and 2009 was no different.
After Friday's practice session, the crew made some slight suspension changes looking to gain that extra bite coming out of Bark River's now famous high banked corners.
Saturday morning, Round 9 practice and qualifying session was cancelled due to the heavy rains the night before. This put Scott Taylor and his #8 Ford starting in the second row. The start had Taylor hold his starting position for the first few laps. Almost immediately, the untested suspension changes did not improve the race truck's performance. Scott battled as much with the truck as he did with the competition. At the finish, the Skyjacker Ford crossed the line in sixth place.
Not settling for a sixth place finish, Scott and his crew immediately went to work installing a different suspension setup for Sunday's race. The usual between rounds prep also included replacing the differential and some creative fiberglass work to keep the Ford F-150 looking its best for the Round 10 television broadcast.
The overnight changes seemed to bring the Skyjacker Ford to life, when Scott went out for practice. All the changes brought a new sense of confidence in the seven-time PRO-2 champion.
The Round 10 start saw an increased level of contact, compared to the previous round of racing. By the time the front of the pack had exited the second turn, PRO-2WD trucks were everywhere. For a moment it looked like the field was four trucks wide as everyone headed for the finish line. Trucks were inside the turn, in the middle of the berm, on top of the berm, and on the back side of the banking, all at once. The #8 BFG equipped Ford was right in the middle of the chaos. Somehow, Scott came out of the mess heading in the right direction and without serious damage to the truck, or so he thought.
A couple of laps later, he realized his right rear tire was going down. Even during the mandatory caution lap, Scott decided to stay out hoping the tire would stay together long enough to get to the finish. When the track went back to green flag racing, the tread gradually peeled away from the tire carcass, leaving just the inner liner. During the last two laps, Scott was racing on one good tire and one inner liner. Somehow the inner liner held together and the #8 Skyjacker BFG Ford crossed the finish in seventh place.
"Losing the right rear probably came from the contact at the start," commented Scott Taylor. "I knew if I pitted during the yellow I would be at the back of the pack, and getting quickly through that would be another gamble I couldn't afford to take. I figured the track wasn't getting as blue (slick) as it had other years. The overnight rains, really seem to make the track very loamy in places, keeping tire temps down. I just seem to muddle through the weekend whenever we race here. Considering the condition of my right rear tire, seventh place wasn't too bad. It's not the result we wanted, but we were able to minimize the damage to our points and to the truck. Crandon is next and our winning record there speaks for itself. Let's go."
After ten rounds of racing, Scott Taylor is fifth overall in the TORC PRO- 2WD Championship points standings.
The next race is the 40th anniversary celebration of off-road racing in Crandon, Wisconsin. The three day affair will be held September 4-6.