TUSC: Wayne Taylor reflects after first stint in four years

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Wayne Taylor has completed his first stint in a race car in the last four years, as he stepped out of his eponymous No. 10 Wayne Taylor Racing Corvette DP.

Taylor, a two-time former overall winner at the Rolex 24 at Daytona, was reflective and pensive – almost a bit shaken – after the GAINSCO/Bob Stallings Racing and Risi Competizione accident that caused a red flag.

“Memo’s (Gidley) accident put a damper on the evening for me. It puts everything into perspective,” Taylor told assembled reporters in the Daytona International Speedway press room.

“My stint was OK. I haven’t driven for four years. It was pretty tough,” he added, actually describing his stint. “I wanted to get in after (Ricky). We had a plan where Ricky would start, and if there’d be a caution in the second stint, I’d get in. But if no caution, we’d put Max (Angelelli) in and I’d go into into the evening. That would allow me to be in the nighttime. It was the safest thing to do.”

Taylor also had less than complimentary words of some of the gentlemen drivers in the race. Some classes require Silver and/or Bronze-rated drivers to complete the driver lineups.

“I’ve always believed in the 110 percent rule,” Wayne Taylor explained. “I always believed that every driver should have to qualify. The car… I don’t think the car qualifying is necessarily OK when you have paying drivers that quite honestly aren’t good enough to be on the track, I’ve always believed they bring this rule in.

“They just need to stay on line and we’d find a way around them. They change their mind and run in the middle of the track, safe with room on right and left.”

It was a sentiment SRT Viper factory driver Dominik Farnbacher echoed in the next media availability.

“Without saying any names, there are some people who don’t know where to go,” he said.

NHRA: Brittany Force cleared to race this weekend in Phoenix after bad wreck 2 weeks ago

Photo: John Force Racing
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Drag racing is a Force family tradition. So, too, is not keeping a Force family member down.

Just 12 days after the most serious wreck of her six-year drag racing career, Brittany Force and John Force Racing announced late Thursday afternoon that the defending 2017 NHRA Top Fuel champion has been medically cleared and will indeed race in this weekend’s NHRA Arizona Nationals at Wild Horse Pass Motorsports Park in suburban Phoenix, Arizona.

“I flew into Phoenix early this (Thursday) morning and headed straight out to the race track to meet up with my team,” Force said. “I suited up and got belted back into my car that I ran all last season.

“It honestly felt good to be strapped back in and I was surprised how comfortable I was. I’m looking forward to getting back in my car tomorrow (Friday’s first two rounds of qualifying) and getting back in the swing of things with my guys.”

The 31-year-old Force, one of four daughters of 16-time NHRA Funny Car champ John Force, suffered a concussion and bruising after the hard crash she was involved in on February 11 in the first round of eliminations of the season-opening NHRA Lucas Oil Winternationals in Pomona, California.

Shortly after leaving the starting line in a race vs. Terry Haddock, Force’s dragster crossed from the right to left lanes, impacted the retaining wall with a very hard lateral crash, bounced off, spun, went on its side and briefly caught fire after crossing the finish line wheels-up.

While she is still recovering from the bruising, Force feels strong enough to get back behind the wheel. Getting back in the race car could be the best medicine of all, since she has three runner-up finishes in Phoenix, including back-to-back second-place showings in both the 2016 and 2017 national events.

The three-day event kicks off Friday with qualifying rounds at 4 and 6:30 p.m. ET, the same times as Saturday’s qualifying. Final eliminations begin at 1 p.m. ET Sunday.