The Latest: Wayne Taylor Racing wins Rolex 24 at Daytona
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (AP) — The Latest on the Rolex 24 at Daytona (all times local):
Wayne Taylor Racing has won the Rolex 24 at Daytona, thanks to a controversial pass by Ricky Taylor in the closing minutes.
Taylor drove hard into Turn 1, breaking late, and turned race leader Filipe Albuquerque. IMSA officials reviewed the contact and ruled no action would be taken against Taylor.
So Taylor was out front the rest of the way and gave Wayne Taylor Racing its first Rolex 24 victory since 2005. Ricky Jordan, younger brother Jordan, veteran Max Angelelli and retired NASCAR star Jeff Gordon celebrated the victory.
The team came oh-so-close the last four years, finishing with four straight podium finishes but failing to get the win and the coveted Rolex watch. Gordon joined Angelelli and the Taylor boys this year in hopes of getting them over the top.
Joey Hand and Chip Ganassi Racing are closing in on another pricey wristwatch.
With two hours remaining in the Rolex 24 at Daytona, Hand and the Ford factory program is in contention for the one victory that eluded them last year.
Hand, who helped Ganassi win the 2011 Rolex race and took home an expensive chronograph, had the lead in the GT Le Mans class. He’s in one of four Chip Ganassi Racing entries, and his car won its class in the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 2016 when Ford made its highly anticipated return to the most prestigious endurance race in the world.
But Ford has been clear it also wants a win at Daytona. A year ago, the program was brand new and the Ford cars were simply trying to figure some things out and get to the finish. Ford’s toughest competition in the final two years will be from a Corvette, a Ferrari and a Porsche. The GTLM class has been the most competitive at Daytona this weekend.
Max Angelelli says he’s driven his last stint in the Rolex 24 at Daytona.
Angelelli took the lead on a restart Sunday morning, lost control and spun in the bus stop chicane, surrendered a 12-second lead and then recovered before getting out of the No. 10 Cadillac for good.
When he climbed out of the Wayne Taylor Racing prototype car, he was still in first place overall.
“I just wanted to have the best race of my life, and I think I did pretty well,” Angelelli said.
Jordan Taylor replaced Angelelli with a little more than four hours to go, and although the team lost on the lead on the pit stop, Taylor got it back almost immediately when Christian Fittipaldi of Action Express Racing spun in the international horseshoe.
Jordan Taylor’s older brother, Ricky, is expected to close out the 24-hour endurance race and drive the final two hours or so.
Four-time NASCAR champion Jeff Gordon is likely done driving for the team in this event. Gordon drove three stints over two sessions, including one in pouring rain. Angelelli kept the car near the front in similar conditions.
He put it in the top spot shortly before pulling into the pits. Now, he will watch the Taylor brothers try to close out what would be Wayne Taylor Racing’s first Rolex 24 victory since 2005.
“This this is it,” said Angelelli, who is stepping away to continue leading the Cadillac racing program. “I’m done. I’m finished. I enjoyed. I have many, many wins, a great time with Wayne, all the way from ’99 until today, and the kids. What can I ask for? I’m accomplished. I’m happy.”
The team has four straight podium finishes.
“I just don’t want to finish second again for the eighth time,” Angelelli said. “I hope it’s not going to happen.”
Daylight has the Rolex 24 at Daytona mostly back to normal.
Heavy rain and puddles around the 3.56-mile road course at Daytona International Speedway forced a lengthy caution in the wee hours Sunday morning. The yellow flag flew so long that IMSA officials had to swap pace cars because one started to run out of gas.
But daylight brought drier and safer conditions, and cars were back running full speed with about 6 ½ hours remaining in the 24-hour endurance race.
“This is some of the sketchiest condition we’ve seen in a long time,” driver Andy Lally said.
The No. 10 Cadillac for Wayne Taylor Racing is back in the lead, with Jeff Gordon, Max Angelelli and brothers Ricky and Jordan Taylor looking like the favorites to win the overall championship.
Jeff Gordon, Max Angelelli and the Taylor brothers are halfway home to a Rolex 24 at Daytona championship.
Angelelli, driving the No. 10 Cadillac for Wayne Taylor Racing, is out front at the midway point of the 24-hour endurance race at Daytona International Speedway. Angelelli is about a minute ahead of Renger van der Zande, who is driving the No. 90 Riley for VisitFlorida Racing.
If Angelelli and his teammates can stay there, they would clinch a victory in Gordon’s first Rolex 24 race in a decade and give Angelelli a win in his final race. Angelelli is retiring as a full-time driver and focusing on co-owning the team and running the Cadillac program.
Other class leaders at the halfway mark: Joey Hand in the No. 66 Ford in the GT Le Mans class; Nicholas Boulle in the No. 38 Oreca in the Prototype Challenge class; and Jeff Segel in the No. 86 Acura in the GT Daytona class.
The Tequila Patron team has reason for some late-night shots.
Brendon Hartley, driving on cold tires, turned into a Porsche driven by Wolf Henzler and crashed hard into the outside wall at Daytona International Speedway with about 14 hours to go in the Rolex 24 race early Sunday. Hartley’s No. 22 Nissan came to rest near the bus stop and had to be loaded onto a flatbed tow truck and taken to the garage.
Hartley was leading the endurance race before his pit stop and was in second play at the time of the accident. Hartley was sharing seat time with Ed Brown, Bruno Senna Lalli and Johannes van Overbeek.
The wreck likely leaves the Cadillacs of Wayne Taylor Racing and Action Express Racing as the cars to beat in the twice-around-the-clock event.
Ricky Taylor was leading in the No. 10 car, and after the wreck, pole-sitter Joao Barbosa moved up a spot to second.
The Tequila Patron prototype returned to the track after a lengthy delay to repair broken steering components, but it was 26 laps down with about 13 hours to go.
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