Ricky Taylor wins pole battle

April 18, 2015

Ricky Taylor wins pole battle

April 18, 2015

After Le Mans-style P2 machinery scored the opening two pole positions of the 2015 TUDOR United SportsCar Championship, today it was time for the Daytona Prototypes to jump to the front with Ricky Taylor winning an epic battle with Scott Pruett.

The Wayne Taylor Racing racer who will team with his brother Jordan today stopped the clocks at 1:14.790 – just 0.258 of a second clear of Pruett. Taylor fought a fierce battle with Pruett who scored the pole here last year – the duo swapped fastest times as the clock wound down on the final moments of qualifying.

Taylor,-RickyChristian Fittipaldi aboard the Sebring-winning Action Express Racing entry was third fastest.

“Everyone really wants to be on pole and win here, especially because track position is so important,” Taylor (pictured right) said.

“It’s been a long time since I’ve had a pole and we were really quick in practice. I was quickest in final practice by just a little bit.

“I was trying to make excuses that we were only fast because we were on new tires, and I just kept making excuses. And then the car was even better in qualifying. It kept feeling better and better. It bodes well for the race. I’m really excited.”

Taylor enjoyed the qualifying battle with Pruett – a man who is 30 years older than Taylor and was racing IndyCar here at Long Beach before the pole winner was born!

“It was tough. We were talking about not running the whole session and the value of running low fuel,” Taylor said.

“The qualifying sessions are so competitive now so you don’t ever want to pit and think you’re good. We were on pole by six or seven tenths at one point and I thought, oh shoot, you better not take a chance or cause a yellow. And then he goes quicker and it was quite a shock to the system.

“As the fuel was burning off I could feel the car getting better and better and the balance was getting better and better. The lap time came quite easily toward the end. I was able to match him at the end. Well, not really easily, but it was cool to fight someone like Pruett like that.”

long_beach_race_14 044Pruett went from pole to victory here at Long Beach in 2014 (pictured right) but now the Californian veteran will have to work a little harder on race day.

“You’re never happy with second. However, that being said, when we’re just so close to being on pole, it’s a bit nerve-wracking. It’s exciting, being able to fight it out like that in qualifying,” Pruett said.

“Track position does mean a lot at this race. The guys dug in. The car was good right off the trailer. We’re just continuing trying to make it better. We’ll just have to keep our nose clean and run hard. You could have a few breaks in traffic. I think the car is really good, so we’ll just fine-tune it tonight and see what we have for tomorrow.”

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