Jordan Taylor and Max Angelelli inched closer to the Daytona Prototype championship Sunday at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca, as the Wayne Taylor Racing duo scored a dominant win in the Continental Tire Sports Car Festival.
The penultimate round of the Rolex Sports Car Series offered up plenty of on-track action, but it was a battle in the pit lane that got the No. 10 Velocity Worldwide-sponsored Corvette DP out front early.
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Quick pit work put the second-generation racer out front ahead of the pole-sitting No. 90 Spirit of Daytona Corvette DP of brother Ricky on lap 22. However, as the Coyote-chassied machine faded with grip issues, Jordan Taylor came to life, leading a race-high 72 laps and en route to a 2.692-second victory.
“Once we made the strategy call on the first stop and once we were out front, the car was unbelievable,” Jordan Taylor said. “You could see by the gap we were able to pull and maintain that through traffic and everything.
“When I pulled a gap, I was just trying to maintain it and save the tires and save a little bit of fuel because we knew if a yellow came out, it would just be a restart and everybody would be starting from zero. Once we made the final stop, I knew we were in a pretty good position.”
Taylor held off a late charge by the No. 02 Chip Ganassi Racing Riley-BMW of Scott Dixon, who relinquished second place to his championship-contending teammate Scott Pruett on the penultimate lap.
The No. 99 GAINSCO/Bob Stallings Racing Corvette DP of Alex Gurney and Jon Fogarty finished fourth, while the No. 4 8Star Motorsports crew of Sebastien Bourdais and Emilio DiGuida celebrated their first top-five finish after gambling on fuel.
It was a race to forget for two title contenders.
The No. 2 Starworks Motorsport Riley-BMW of Ryan Dalziel and Alex Popow suffered gearbox issues and a pair of penalties, relegating the once championship-leadng pair to a 13th place finish.
Christian Fittipaldi’s title quest was also deflated when co-driver Joao Barbosa slammed their No. 5 Action Express Racing Corvette DP into the pit wall while pitting from the lead. The duo had to settle for a 7th place finish.
The bad luck and misfortune for some padded Taylor and Angelelli’s championship lead, now 8 points heading into the season finale at Lime Rock Park. But as the 22-year-old points out, anything can happen.
“Eight points sounds like a lot, but you saw with the 2 car and the 5 car today that a lot can happen,” Taylor said. “I almost hit a GT car, which could have taken us out of the race. Little random events happen, so I think we’ll go into it trying to do what we do and see where we come out.”