Date: Jan. 26, 2017
Event: 55th Rolex 24 At Daytona (Round 1 of 10)
Series: Prototype division of the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship
Location: Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway (3.56-mile, 12-turn road course)
Pole Winner: Joao Barbosa of Action Express Racing (1:36.903 at 132.2 mph)
Wayne Taylor Racing: 4th by Ricky Taylor (1:37.169 at 131.8 mph)
The brand new No. 10 Konica Minolta Cadillac DPi-V.R – making its first official race appearance this weekend – will start the 55th annual Rolex 24 At Daytona from the outside of the second row after IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship qualifying Thursday afternoon at Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway.
Ricky Taylor, who’s sharing the cockpit with his brother and full-time co-driver Jordan Taylor, as well as veteran Italian Max “The Ax” Angelelli in his final career sportscar race and four-time NASCAR Cup Series champion Jeff Gordon, drove a fast lap of 1 minute, 37.169 seconds at 131.8 mph around the 3.56-mile, 12-turn superspeedway road course layout. It was good for fourth overall among 55 car-and-driver combinations that will take the green flag Saturday for traditional 24-hour season opener.
“I think we’ve got a really good car for the race,” said Ricky Taylor, who also qualified fourth here last year en route to the team’s third runner-up finish in the last four Rolex 24s. “It’s disappointing to not get the pole, but it’s nice to see Cadillacs one, two and four in their debut – so strong. I think we’ve got a proven team and crew and driver lineup for the race and I’m very optimistic. We know we have a fast car, but being a brand new car, the only question left on the minds of our fans and followers, I guess, is how the new Cadillac is going to hold up for 24 hours. I can say that I don’t think we could’ve done any more than we’ve done in terms of preparation. I’d go so far as to say we’re the most prepared of all the teams here, knock on wood. We’ve worked out a lot of bugs during all the testing, and I think we’ve got all the confidence we can expect. So, anything that happens from this point forward is out of our control.”
The top-five qualifiers for this weekend’s 55th Rolex 24 At Daytona are:
1. Action Express Racing (No. 5 Corvette DP) with Joao Barbosa, Christian Fittipaldi, Filipe Albuquerque (1:36.903 at 132.2 mph)
2. Action Express Racing (No. 31 Corvette DP) with Eric Curran, Dane Cameron and Simon Pagenaud (1:36.973 at 132.1 mph)
3. Rebellion Racing (No. 13 ORECA) with Neel Jani, Sebastien Buemi, Nick Heidfeld, Stephane Sarrazin (1:37.123 at 131.9 mph)
4. Konica Minolta Cadillac DPi-V.R (No. 10 Cadillac DPi-V.R) with Ricky Taylor, Jordan Taylor, Max Angelelli, Jeff Gordon (1:37.169 at 131.8 mph)
5. Extreme Speed Motorsports (No. 22 Nissan DPi) with Brendan Hartley, Johannes van Overbeek, Bruno Senna, Ed Brown (1:37.609 at 131.2 mph)
The green flag flies at 2:30 p.m. EST Saturday with live television on the FOX network from 2 to 5 p.m.FS2 resumes the broadcast from 5 to 10 p.m. Saturday, and from 11 p.m. Saturday to 1 p.m. Sunday. FS1 will carry the race’s conclusion from 1 to 3 p.m. Sunday. Live timing and scoring during all on-track sessions is available at IMSA.com and the IMSA smartphone app.
TIL NEXT TIME, I AM STILL WORKING ON MY REDNECK!