Jordan Taylor Holds Off Pruett To Win In Kansas
By Jim Pedley | Managing Editor
KANSAS CITY, Kan. – With Jordan Taylor driving the final stint, the No. 10 Daytona Prototype Corvette of Wayne Taylor Racing captured the inaugural SFP Grand Prix at Kansas Speedway on Saturday night.
The victory was the third of the Grand-Am Rolex season for the WTR duo of Taylor, driving his first full season in a DP car, and veteran Max Angelelli. And the victory moved them to the top of the DP point standing with just two races left in the season.
To get the victory, Taylor had to hold off Scott Pruett in the defending series champion No. 01 BMW Riley of Chip Ganassi Racing.
Pruett pressed Taylor for much of the second half of the timed race but with about 26 minutes left, Pruett stumbled just a bit in traffic and Taylor was able to stretch the lead to over 1 second. Pruett didn’t go away, however. He was able to get to Taylor’s rear bumper with 16 minutes to go and stayed there for most of the rest of the race.
“It was a stressful two hours,” Taylor said. “It was my first time finishing a race in the DP class. To have someone like (Scott Pruett) behind me for an hour-and-a-half was stressful but I knew I had a good car behind me and had all these guys (on the team) supporting me so I wasn’t phased at all.
“We went into this race thinking we had a third- to fourth-place car. Our engineers did their homework and it paid off. The car was solid for the whole stint. We usually have tire wear issues where they drop off a little bit, but the Continentals were perfect and we could push for the whole race.”
At the end, the winning margin was just over a half second.
“It was a great battle,” Pruett said. “Jordan did a terrific job. That’s what racing is all about – GRAND-AM racing that close, that tight. We had a long way to recover today, and had a heck of a fight to get to the front.”
The WTR entry made only three pit stops – the least amount of the DP field. After the team elected to short-fill on its first stop, Taylor moved into the lead for the first time midway through the race following the third and final caution period. The team called in Taylor for his final stop with 38 laps to and was the first of the lead cars to pit. That strategy proved to be the difference.
“Max was great at the start and gave me a great car,” Taylor said. “The guys had the perfect strategy, and we were the only ones to do what we did. So it worked out in the end.”
Angelelli and Taylor lead Action Express Racing’s Christian Fittipaldi by two points, meaning Corvette DP drivers hold the top three spots in the championship with two races remaining.
Finishing third was the No. 60 Michael Shank Racing Ford Riley with Oswaldo Negri driving the final stint.
Points-leader Alex Popow in the No. 2 Startworks Motorsport BMW Riley was involved in the first caution of the night when he appeared to blow a tire about a half hour in. The car sustained major damage and was sent behind the wall. Gone was the points lead.
In GT, Allesandro Balzan got the win in the No. 63 Scuderia Corsa Ferarri 458 Italia. His co-driver was Leh Keen. It was their first victory of the season.
Second was the Park Place Porsche GT3 Cup car with Porsche factory driver Patrick Long at the wheel at the end.
Balzan led the final 30 laps, holding off Patrick Long in the No. 73 Park Place Motorsports Porsche GT3 that was started by Patrick Lindsey. Emil Assentato and Anthony Lazzaro rounded out the podium in the No. 69 AIM Autosport Team FXDD Ferrari 458.
IndyCar visitor Alex Tagliani – subbing for Max Papis – captured the pole and led three times for 47 laps, but finished sixth after Jeff Segal had the fueling hose still attached to the No. 61 R. Ferri/AIM Motorsport Ferrari 458 exiting his final pit stop, leading to a penalty.
Balzan moved into a one-point lead in the GT standings (279-278). John Potter and Andy Lally were leading entering the race, but finished eighth after losing time to repair a damaged radiator. John Edwards and Robin Liddell finished fourth in the No. 57 Stevenson Auto Group Chevrolet Camaro and are third in the standings with 276 points.
Joel Miller won the GTX class in Mazda 6 GX.
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