RICKY TAYLOR EXPLORES THE OPEN ROAD
The elder son of sports car ace turned
team owner Wayne Taylor has emerged
as a headline talent on his father’s team
in IMSA, but Ricky Taylor is testing the
water elsewhere, too. In between victories
at the Daytona and Sebring enduros in
a Cadillac Prototype, the 27-year-old
sampled open-wheel with a test run for
none other than Team Penske on
Homestead’s road course. The experience
made a profound impression on him.
“My view of what I see [on TV] is totally
different,” Taylor related. “After driving
Pre-season testing seemed to suggest
that Honda-aligned Verizon IndyCar Series
teams would be in for a tough time.
Chevrolet demonstrated a comfortable
speed advantage in Spring Training, and
with IndyCar freezing development for the
two makes’ aero kits – of which the Bowtie
brigade’s had shown consistent superiority
last year – the die looked cast for a Chevy
runaway. Then they went racing...
Sebastien Bourdais’ brilliant victory for
Dale Coyne Racing at the St. Petersburg
opener stunned the winner as much as
anyone. After all, he’d not only beaten the
Chevrolets and IndyCar’s superpower
teams in his first race back with Coyne’s
compact squad, but he’d done it from last
on the grid after problems in qualifying.
A timely full-course caution aided
Bourdais in his quest but, presented the
opportunity, the Frenchman made full use
of it and outran Penske’s defending champ
Simon Pagenaud over the final stages.
One race doesn’t make a season, but
Bourdais’ broadside exposed the biggest
potential chink in Chevrolet’s armor: With
Honda’s recruitment of Chip Ganassi
Racing, the statistical advantage no
longer rests with Chevy. Meaning,
whenever Team Penske’s fleet is off its
game or hit by adversity, odds that had
looked solid for Chevy flip the other way.
Trying the champ’s
car (LEFT) gave Taylor
(ABOVE, with Simon
appreciation for the
IndyCar art – and the
joy of its challenges.
Simon’s car and realizing every kick of
the wheel is as hard as you’ve ever felt,
you know they’re out there muscling the
cars around and fighting with all their
effort to maintain control of them, while
going as fast as humanly possible.”
Taylor’s enthusiasm suggested he
would be eager to expand his resume
into IndyCar somewhere down the road.
“It doesn’t look easy,” he said while
watching the Verizon IndyCar Series’
open test at Barber Motorsports Park,
“but it also looks like a lot of fun.”
About those predictions of Chevrolet IndyCar domination...
BEATING THE ODDS
Hard-trying Pippa Mann is set to return to
the Indy 500 for a sixth time, again with
Dale Coyne. Indy Lights grad Zach Veach
and sports car racer Gustavo Yacaman are
among those hoping to join her there.
A brilliantly executed
win by Bourdais and
Dale Coyne Racing in
St. Pete boosted hopes
in the Honda camp.
All the latest IndyCar news at
Laguna Seca, 2001
St Petersburg, 2017
Al Unser Jr.
Reunited at DCR with key personnel from his
Newman/Haas glory days, Bourdais showed
at St. Pete what speed and savvy can do.
IndyCar wins from
lowest grid positions
worst to first