Watkins Glen II: SunTrust Racing qualifying report

Taylor Qualifies Third for Saturday's Crown Royal 200 at The Glen The No. 10 SunTrust Ford Dallara of Wayne Taylor Racing will start Saturday night's GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Series Crown Royal 200 at The Glen from the inside of the second row...

Taylor Qualifies Third for Saturday's Crown Royal 200 at The Glen

The No. 10 SunTrust Ford Dallara of Wayne Taylor Racing will start Saturday night's GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Series Crown Royal 200 at The Glen from the inside of the second row after an abbreviated Daytona Prototype-class qualifying session Friday afternoon at Watkins Glen (N.Y.) International.

Ricky Taylor, newly turned 21-year-old co-driver of the SunTrust Racing machine with Italian veteran Max Angelelli, turned a fast lap of 1 minute, 5.788 seconds (134.067 mph) around the 2.45-mile, 11-turn NASCAR road circuit to take the third spot on the starting grid among 28 car-and-driver combinations entered for Saturday's two-hour race.

The regularly scheduled 15-minute qualifying session was black-flagged less than seven minutes after it started when the Nos. 77 and 90 cars of Mark Patterson and Buddy Rice, respectively, came together in the turn six-seven-eight combination of the track known as the "Bus Stop," prompting a lengthy clean-up effort. GRAND-AM officials threw the checkered flag shortly thereafter.

Today's qualifying result ended Taylor's streak of three consecutive front-row qualifying efforts, including his second pole of the season for the July 3 Brumos Porsche 250 at Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway.

"After this morning's practice sessions, the SunTrust car was so good, I was all ready to go for a nice qualifying session," said Taylor, who celebrated his 21st birthday this past Tuesday. "Unfortunately, it was cut short. Qualifying is always a nice bonus, and I think the car is going to be good for the race, and I guess today's qualifying session doesn't mean a whole lot as far as what's going to happen tomorrow. But the car was so good today, just for myself, it's a little disappointing. But everybody's in the same boat. Before the weekend, I didn't know what to expect. Travis (Jacobson, technical director) had been telling me that the car is a completely different car compared to the six-hour race here. But after this morning's practice sessions, I knew the car was going to be good. It was really good all day. So, under those circumstances, the expectations were to win the pole and anything less than that was going to be really disappointing. It's amazing how your expectations change from one year to the next. Last year (driving for Beyer Racing), I would have been so excited to qualify third, I would've been jumping up and down."

Memo Rojas wound up on the pole in the No. 01 Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates BMW Riley with a lap of 1:05.470. It was his third pole of the season, breaking a tie with Taylor for most poles on the season. Mark Wilkins, in the No. 61 AIM Autosport Ford Riley, qualified alongside Rojas on the front row. Wilkins co-drove to victory here in the August race two years ago.

"It's just deflating," said team owner Wayne Taylor, who won both sprint races at Watkins Glen in 2005, co-driving with Angelelli to that year's Rolex Series championship. "It was disappointing. Ricky did maybe two (hot) laps and then he backed off because he was catching traffic, and he didn't end up getting another shot. You know, the race is tomorrow and we've got a good car. Ricky's happy with the car. Max is happy with the car. We're in a good starting spot on the inside. We had a pole car, for sure, but tomorrow is more important."

-source: suntrust racing

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About this article
Series Grand-Am
Drivers Wayne Taylor , Max Angelelli , Memo Rojas , Buddy Rice , Chip Ganassi , Mark Wilkins , Mark Patterson , Felix Sabates , Ricky Taylor
Teams Chip Ganassi Racing , Wayne Taylor Racing