The No. 10 SunTrust Ford Dallara of Wayne Taylor Racing will start Saturday's GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Series Bosch Engineering 250 from the inside of the third row after qualifying Friday at Virginia International Raceway in Alton. Ricky...
The No. 10 SunTrust Ford Dallara of Wayne Taylor Racing will start Saturday's GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Series Bosch Engineering 250 from the inside of the third row after qualifying Friday at Virginia International Raceway in Alton.
Ricky Taylor, the 20-year-old son of three-time sports car racing champion and team owner Wayne Taylor, clocked a fast lap of 1 minute, 14.773 seconds (114.544 mph) on his ninth and final tour of the 3.27-mile, 17-turn VIR circuit, good for fifth-fastest among the 32 car-and-driver combinations entered for Saturday's 2-hour, 45-minute race.
The top-five effort, Taylor's third in three qualifying attempts this season and coming on the heels of his first career pole position two weekends ago at Barber Motorsports Park in Birmingham, Ala., was particularly welcome in light of the SunTrust team's struggles in practice. The team clocked the seventh- and 10th-fastest laps in today's opening two practice sessions, respectively.
"At Barber, I knew what we could do," said Taylor, a sophomore mechanical engineering major at the University of Central Florida, whose first qualifying effort in the SunTrust car at Homestead-Miami Speedway also put the car fifth on the grid. "Here, I had no idea what we could do. I knew pretty much where everybody else was and I knew we had to catch up after practice. We made some big changes that turned out to be good ideas on the part of Travis (Jacobson), our engineer, and they took us a big step in the right direction for the race. As a driver, you want all of your laps to be consistent and it's easier to improve that way. I'm not all that happy that all my laps were different because putting together all the parts of the track on a qualifying lap can mean the difference between the pole and fifth. The last lap didn't feel all that good, but everybody told me it was the best of the bunch."
Taylor will start Saturday's race and then hand the SunTrust Racing machine over to co-driver Max Angelelli, the two-time winner at VIR whose ability to simply get to the track for this weekend's festivities from his home in Italy was in jeopardy thanks to travel problems created by the recent eruption of a volcano in Iceland.
Memo Rojas won his fifth career pole in the No. 01 Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates BMW Riley, clocking a fast lap of 1:41.796 (115.643 mph). Rojas and Scott Pruett won the last two Rolex Series events at Homestead and Birmingham after finishing second at the season-opening Rolex 24 At Daytona and lead the series championship by a hefty margin.
"Fifth is good," said Wayne Taylor, who co-drove the SunTrust car to victory with Angelelli at VIR in 2004, and whose 18-year-old son Jordan won his first career Rolex Series pole today in the No. 30 GT-class Mazda. "Ricky qualified fifth at Homestead, too, so he's consistent. The good thing was, he was consistently bettering his times so, as the tires wore, he didn't seem to lose any time. And I think if you look at all of his laps and piece all of his best segments together, he's probably a lot quicker. I think it was a good result, given where we were this morning. We were definitely a little worried after this morning, but I feel like we'll definitely have a good racecar."