Grand Am Prototype - Sun Trust On The Pole - Again
Laguna Seca, July 9, 2011: The No. 10 SunTrust Chevrolet Dallara of Wayne Taylor Racing will start Saturday’s GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Series Continental Tire Sports Car Festival from the pole for the fourth race in a row after qualifying Friday afternoon at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca in Monterey, Calif.
Ricky Taylor, the 21-year-old co-driver to veteran Italian Max Angelelli, earned his fourth consecutive and sixth career Rolex Series pole position with a lap of 1 minute, 20.429 seconds (100.173 mph) around the 2.238-mile, 11-turn hillside road circuit.
“No matter how good the car is, I’m out there pushing 100 percent every single lap, but life is just so much easier when the SunTrust car is this good,” said Taylor, who was the only driver to crack the 100-mph barrier and was more than fourth tenths of a second faster than outside-polesitter Jon Fogarty in the No. 99 Gainsco/Bob Stallings Racing Chevrolet Riley. “I’m not just saying things, but the car is so good that it makes me look so good in front of everybody else, I guess. It’s just so fast and it really makes life easy for me and I’m thankful to all of the SunTrust guys for that. If we had to point at one thing, I’d say it’s mainly the chassis that has made the difference this year. We’ve gone in a completely different direction with a little bit of a change in the engineering staff, and that has led to some new ideas and just a different way of looking at things – not necessarily better, but just new ideas and applying things differently. It’s been a big help, having fresh, new ideas. I’m loving it. It never gets old. This whole season has been great, so far.”
Fogarty’s fast lap was clocked at 1:20.866 (99.631 mph) while Memo Rojas in the No. 01 Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates BMW Riley qualified third with a lap of 1:21.326 (99.068 mph). Taylor’s effort today was his most dominant qualifying margin in the last four events as he won the pole by a little more than a tenth of a second at Lime Rock Park in Lakeville, Conn., on Memorial Day, and was a little more than two tenths of a second quicker than the rest of the field at Watkins Glen (N.Y.) International the very next weekend and at Road America in Elkhart Lake, Wis., two weekends ago. Taylor and Angelelli went on to score victories at Lime Rock and in the six-hour race at Watkins Glen and came home third at Road America.
The four consecutive pole positions leave Taylor still three shy of the series record of seven in a row set by Fogarty in 2007.
“I really don’t know what to say – Ricky is obviously very focused and the guys have been giving him a great car,” said team owner Wayne Taylor. “Max has been great coaching him through all of this. I’m just ecstatic for Ricky, for the team, everybody. He’s really in a good place right now. I know that he really wanted this fourth pole in a row. He just wanted another pole for, among other reasons, I’m sure, because we didn’t win at Road America. Brian (Pillar, engineer) and the guys have done such a good job with the setup of this car, we’ve now been fast everywhere. We got the pole by four-tenths. That’s quite a big gap. This is a pretty important place to start up front. If you look back two years ago, the last time the series was here, the Ganassi car got the pole by four tenths, so those roles are reversed, right now. The 99 car is obviously very quick, and the Ganassi car will be good in the race, I’m sure. So we should be in for a good show.”