The Sun Trust Dallara has led many more laps than Ganassi, but Ricky Taylor and Max Angelelli (BELOW) need to stand on the center step of the podium more often.
ideas and we’ve taken a bit of a di;erent
direction this year,” says Ricky Taylor.
“The engineers worked hard so we’re
closer to the Riley on the mechanical side
while maintaining our aero advantage.
It’s made our car well-rounded, especially
in terms of being easier on the tires.”
The third part of the puzzle has been
Ricky Taylor’s remarkable maturation.
Although his experience belies his 21
years (he logged 19 Daytona Prototype
starts in ’08-’09 with the Beyer and
Doran Racing teams), he was inevitably
overshadowed by the vastly experienced
Angelelli upon joining his father’s team
in ’ 10. Although Taylor more than held
up his end, qualifying on the pole twice
and winning at Lime Rock, he has come
into his own this season.
A second straight win at Lime Rock
was significant, but Watkins Glen was a
real watershed. At his urging, the team
swapped driver roles, assigning him the
event’s “anchor” leg, in all likelihood,
setting up a head-to-head confrontation
with Pruett, unquestionably the master
of Daytona Prototypes. Predictably, the
Sun Trust entry emerged as the car to beat
and, when a late-race caution put Taylor
squarely in Pruett’s sights, the youngster
might have been forgiven for musing
about being careful what you wish for…
And yet Taylor never put a wheel wrong
and pulled away to win by 3.8sec.
Taylor’s development owes much to
his talent, dedication and fortitude. But
has there ever been a better race driver
incubator than the one in which he has
found himself, living with his father/
boss and “other father,” Angelelli, who
“We have only one
option: to fight
every weekend and
win every weekend”
lives with the Taylors when he’s not at his true home in Monaco?
And let’s not forget 19-year-old Jordan Taylor who’s in the hunt
for the Rolex GT title and who won the GT class at Watkins Glen
with Bill Lester in the Autohaus Racing Chevrolet Camaro.
“It’s a unique dynamic,” admits Ricky. “I’ve got my dad with
all his experience in sports car racing and giving me various life
lessons. There’s Max teaching me about the technical side,
working with the engineers and how to deal with other drivers.
Even Jordan helps me. He helps me understand what a GT
driver is thinking when he sees a DP in his mirrors.”
Angelelli prefers to give credit where credit is due. “Ricky,
Jordan and I talk all the time about racing – setups, aero,
mechanical, driving,” he says. “It is like they’re going to
school. They are open-minded, open to constructive criticism,
open to new things. They listen, and they deliver.”
Angelelli, like Ricky, knows the mountain they have to
climb before season’s end, but he’s up for that.
“I have not for one moment given up on the championship,”
Angelelli says. “We will fight for the points until the end. Why
is it only us who have bad weekends? Perhaps the others will
have theirs, as well. But in any case, we have only one option
and that is to fight every weekend and win every weekend.”
“It’s nice when you have a fast car and are chasing someone
rather than struggling for speed and having to put together a
perfect race,” Ricky says. “I like the position we’re in.”
RED HOT AGAIN?
just looks for wins in ’ 11
Some of the most ferocious
battles in Grand-Am’s
Alex Gurney and Jon Fogarty
piloted the Red Dragon to the Rolex
Series crown in 2007 and ’09, Scott
Pruett and Memo Rojas took the title
for Chip and Felix in ’08 and ’ 10.
According to the pattern, ’ 11 should
have seen GAINSCO/Stallings back
However, the Red Dragon Riley-Chevrolet (BELOW) went missing in
action this spring before turning
things around with three podiums in
June and July – including a win at
Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca.
“It’s quite simple,” says team
owner Stallings. “We essentially
spent the first part of the year
testing, when we should have done
our testing before the season began.
As a result, we’ve been confused by
the new Continental tires. We
haven’t been able to find a good
balance, nor have we been able to
make them perform through to the
end of a stint.
“Only recently did we begin to
figure that all out. Happy as I was to
win at Laguna Seca, what I’m really
pleased about was that we set our
fastest lap of the race two laps from
Stallings concedes his team’s
chances of taking the ’ 11 title are
zero. “We’re just going to try our
best to win races. We want to make
our sponsors happy, repay them for
their support. I think our
performance in the last few races
shows we’ve started to turn things
around. We’re not there 100 percent,
but I think we’ll be very competitive
in the final races.”