Max Angelelli led the last 33 laps of the Rolex Series Porsche 250 at Barber Motorsports Park, scoring a first win of the season for Wayne Taylor Racing with their new Velocity Worldwide sponsorship.
“From my standpoint, it was pretty easy because all I had to do was maintain the gap and look after the tires. So I did that all along and it turned out great,” said Angelelli. “The Velocity Worldwide Corvette was great. Jordan [Taylor, co-driver] allowed me to drive such a race. It was an easy stint. He put our car in such a good position, in front of the 99, and that’s really what made the difference. The team did a really good call by pitting early. I was the one trying to get us to do the race only on one stop but, as usual, they didn’t listen to me. But it turned out to be a good call by the team and we went on won the race.”
While Angelelli led the way for much of his stint, though the first half dozen laps following the driver-change pitstop just after half-distance in the 120 minute race were spent further down the order as the differing strategies of the Daytona Prototype teams in the race played out.
It was a change in strategy in the first half of the race that had helped Jordan Taylor into the lead. From third place on the grid Taylor chased front row starters Jon Fogaty and Ricky Taylor – his elder brother – though Jordan would fall to forth behind Memo Rojas. However, a spun GT car caused the race’s only full course caution with the Wayne Taylor Racing crew taking advantage of the period by making a fuel-only stop to ease fuel conservation concerns.
As those teams opting for a one-stop strategy made their own stops Taylor moved up the order, taking the lead when Fogarty – who had also pitted under the caution – was forced off the track by slower traffic.
Taylor reflected on his stint; “The first 10 or 15 minutes wasn’t great, for me. I caught up to some GT traffic and Rojas was able to get by me. But we were also saving fuel at the point, so I knew that if it came down to fuel, we’d be in a good position to jump them. Our guys did a great job and we were able to get out in front of them.”
Pitting from the lead the team returned Angelelli to the race in fourth place. Crucially, however, he was ahead of Alex Gurney – replacing Fogarty – Richard Westbrook – in for the elder Taylor brother – and as differing strategies again played out with teams pitting from ahead Angelelli took the lead.
He kept Gurney, in the GAINSCO/Bob Stallings Racing entry, at bay once in the lead. Though the lead was a narrow as a few seconds the gap began to open up in the closing stages, Angelelli finally securing his 22nd career Rolex Series win by a margin of 4.116 seconds.