Ricky Taylor’s aggressive pass with about five minutes left won the Rolex 24 for Wayne Taylor Racing at Daytona International Speedway on Sunday.
The No. 10 Cadillac driven by Taylor, brother Jordan Taylor, Max Angelelli and four-time NASCAR Cup Series champion Jeff Gordon, dominated the 24-hour race. But was second to the No. 5 Action Express team driven by Filipe Albuquerque, Christian Fittipaldi and Joao Barbosa as the minutes wound down.
But Taylor slowly reeled in the No. 5, driven by Albuquerque, and dove to the inside entering turn 1 as Albuquerque left the bottom lane open. For a brief moment, anyway. As Taylor got to the inside of the No. 5, Albuquerque closed the door and the two made contact. And Albuquerque went spinning.
The pass was reviewed by IMSA race officials and no action was taken. The inaction was perhaps karmic retribution for a maneuver Action Express pulled on the race’s next-to-last restart. Mike Conway, driving the lapped No. 31 car for the team was ahead of the No. 10 heading to the green flag as the No. 5 was leading. As the No. 5 accelerated when the green flag flew, The No. 31 conspicuously didn’t, opening up a huge gap for the Albuquerque on Taylor.
Gordon, who finished third in the 2007 Rolex 24 driving alongside Wayne Taylor, drove two stints for the team, both on Saturday. Gordon drove in the car on Saturday afternoon and then later Saturday evening as rain started to fall at Daytona.
It’s the first Rolex 24 win for Gordon and his three co-drivers. And with it, Gordon becomes part of a select group of drivers — including A.J. Foyt, Mario Andretti and Jamie McMurray — to win both the Daytona 500 and Rolex 24. It’s also a fitting way for Angelelli’s career to end, as the driver had said the 2017 Rolex 24 would be his final race before retirement.
While the racing was dramatic in Prototypes for the overall win, the GT Le Mans category was the most thrilling event for the entirety of the race as Ford, Corvette, Ferrari and Porsche raced within fractions of a second of each other for significant periods of time. Dirk Mueller, driving for Chip Ganassi’s Ford GT team, won, while Porsche finished second.
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