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Jordan Taylor files his latest Sportscar365 column from COTA…

Photo: IMSA

Photo: IMSA

It was a flawless weekend for us in Austin. At this point in the championship, we are too far back to contend for the championship, so it’s all about going for race wins.

We obviously wanted to win the race, but we felt that we maximized everything that we had and came away with a result we should be proud of.

We rolled off the truck with a strong car. We were third in all of the practice sessions leading up to qualifying, behind the 01 and 60. We knew it was going to be tough to beat both of those cars if they didn’t have any problems in the race.

It was my turn to qualify and start the race, with Ricky finishing. We ended up fourth, which I wasn’t too happy with.

The one promising thing was that we were able to repeat the lap time three or four times. The other cars had some more drop off, so we figured our car could be a bit stronger over the long run.

We went into the race hoping for a podium. If the 01 didn’t have any major issues, they were going to be really tough to beat.

As for the rest of the field, it’s a tough spot to be in when you are out of the championship and racing guys that are still in contention.

The 90, 5, and 31 were all within a few points. For us, we can take as much risk as we want, because we have nothing to lose, but at the same time, you don’t want to get into anything with those guys to hurt their championship. So it can be a little awkward at times.

That was pretty much the theme of the race. The 01 was out front and we ran second most of the day. The thing that I was surprised about was how aggressive all of the championship contenders raced.

Heading into Turn 1 on the first lap, I got pushed really wide. I think I was on the outside of three other guys.

I came out of Turn 1 fourth, but was able to get by the 5 car into the Esses. The 90 was battling the 01 heading into the Turn 14 which allowed me to get a run into Turn 15 and get by. It was a pretty hectic first lap.

We settled in behind the 01 for that whole stint. After the first yellow I ran the next stint behind the 31 car. Ricky got in the car in P3, behind the 01 and 31.

Just a few minutes into the stint, the 31 tried to jump the curb in Turn 10 to get through traffic and made contact with a PC car and both cars went spinning down the track, but thankfully Ricky was able to get by.

From there, Ricky just settled into a pace. We were able to gap everyone behind us and there was no chance of catching up to the 01.

We usually aren’t too happy with finishing second, but everyone on the team executed perfectly. No mistakes on track, no mistakes in the pits, and we had strategy that put us in position to win the race.

That’s exactly what we want heading into Petit Le Mans in two weeks, where we will try defend our win from last year.

Jordan Taylor (@jordan10taylor) is a multi-time IMSA champion, driving for Wayne Taylor Racing with Andretti in the WeatherTech SportsCar Championship.

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