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Taylor Gets First Grand-Am Pole

Info Manager | , RacinToday.com Friday, April 9 2010

Ricky Taylor put his car on the Grand-Am pole at Barber Motorsports Park. (File photo courtesy of the Grand-Am Series)

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Ricky Taylor became first-time pole winner in Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series presented by Crown Royal Cask No. 16 in Friday’s qualifying for the Porsche 250 at Barber Motorsports Park in Birmingham, Ala.

Taylor ran a record lap of 1:19.624 (103.989 mph) in the No. 10 SunTrust Racing Ford Dallara co-driven by Max Angelelli to lead the Daytona Prototype session.

His younger brother, Jordan Taylor, was bumped off the GT class pole in the final minute by Jonathan Bomarito, who co-drives the No. 70 SpeedSource Castrol/Syntec Mazda RX-8 with Sylvain Tremblay.

Round 3 of the 2010 GRAND-AM Rolex Series takes the green flag Saturday at 1:30 p.m. (SPEED, live).

“We’ve improved the car a lot from yesterday to today,” said Taylor, whose best prior qualifying effort was fifth last year with Beyer Racing. “I knew what we could do in qualifying, but I wasn’t sure what everybody else would do. This is the best team in the paddock, and hopefully this is a sign of things to come.”

It was a bittersweet moment for SunTrust Racing car owner Wayne Taylor, who saw his son bumped from the pole for the second time this season.

“I’ve been telling people about these two guys since they were young,” said Wayne Taylor. “We thought Ricky had a good shot at qualifying today. I told him he had to dig really deep, and he did that today. I’m sure Jordan was disappointed to go to second, but he had only one clean lap in qualifying and then got caught in traffic, so he was fantastic.”

Ricky Taylor will be joined on the front row by Antonio Garcia, who ran a lap of 1:19.661 (103.940 mph) in the No. 90 Spirit of Daytona Porsche Coyote with 2004 Indianapolis 500 winner Buddy Rice.

Memo Rojas, who shares the Daytona Prototype point lead with co-driver Scott Pruett, qualified third in the No. 01 TELMEX Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates BMW Riley, 1:19.9232 (103.600 mph). He will be joined on the second row by Jon Fogarty, who saw a streak of eight consecutive front-row qualifying efforts – including six poles – come to an end in the No. 99 GAINSCO/Bob Stallings Racing Chevrolet Riley he shares with defending Daytona Prototype co-champion Alex Gurney.

“It’s really close, but it could have been better,” said Fogarty, who ran a lap of 1:19.940 (103.578 mph). “It was all I could do. We’ll make our best guess at what will be best for the race tomorrow, and take it from there.”

Also eclipsing Michael Valiante’s two-year-old track record were Dion von Moltke, 1:20.437 (102.938 mph) in the No. 77 Doran Racing McDonald’s Ford Dallara co-driven by Memo Gidley, and Brian Frisselle, 1:20.518 (102.834 mph) in the No. 6 Michael Shank Racing Ford Riley he shares with Valiante.

Von Moltke tagged the Turn 2 barrier on the final lap of qualifying, and the resulting cleanup resulted in an abbreviated five-minute GT session.

Bomarito and Taylor broke Bill Auberlen’s 2004 GT track record.

“I knew what time I needed for the pole when I started my final lap, so I knew I just had to stay clean in the final two corners,” said Bomarito, who opened his rookie season with a victory in the Rolex 24 At Daytona. “I’m really excited about winning my first pole. I love qualifying. Now, we’ve got to adjust our mind set to get ready for the race.”

Taylor – bumped off the Rolex 24 pole by Jeff Segal – gave the No. 30 Racers Edge Motorsports Mazda RX-8 its fifth outside pole starting position without a pole. It was only Bomarito’s second qualifying session in the Rolex Series.

“We got completely messed up with that five-minute session,” Taylor said. “I’m sure we would have been on the pole, but I know what really counts is what happens tomorrow.”

Andrew Davis, who co-drives the No. 57 Stevenson Motorsport Camaro with Robin Liddell, and motorcycle legend Scott Russell, who shares the No. 07 Banner Racing Corvette with Paul Edwards, will start from the second row.

Saturday’s schedule also includes a two-and-a-half-hour race for the GRAND-AM Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge, set to start at 5 p.m. ET.

Info Manager | , RacinToday.com Friday, April 9 2010
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