TUSC: Wayne Taylor reflects after first stint in four years

0 Comments

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.

AJ Foyt Racing promotes Benjamin Pedersen from Indy Lights to IndyCar for 2023 season

Benjamin Pedersen AJ Foyt
AJ Foyt Racing
4 Comments

Benjamin Pedersen is the first driver to land a promotion from Indy Lights into IndyCar for next season as AJ Foyt Racing confirmed Wednesday he’ll be part of its 2023 lineup.

Pedersen, a 23-year-old dual citizen of Denmark and the United States, spent last season running the full Indy Lights schedule for HMD Motorsports. Linus Lundqvist, his teammate, won the Lights title, and Pedersen finished fifth in the final standings. Pedersen earned his only win earlier this month when he led every lap from the pole at Portland.

Pedersen also ran four races for HMD in 2021 with back-to-back runner-up finishes in his debut. Pedersen landed on AJ Foyt Racing team president Larry Foyt’s radar through a “trusted colleague” and Pedersen spent most of last season shadowing the IndyCar team.

His promotion to IndyCar comes ahead of all four drivers who finished ahead of him in the Indy Lights standings, including champion Lundqvist.

“We are really looking forward to having Benjamin as part of the team,” Larry Foyt said. “His enthusiasm is infectious, and he is 100 percent committed to IndyCar, AJ Foyt Racing, and doing the best he can to win races.

“It’s been great to have him embedded with the team this past season, and everyone is excited to hit the ground running when testing begins. It is also great to have a multi-year program in place, which will help him and the team grow together.”

Foyt did not announce a car number for Pedersen. Kyle Kirkwood spent his rookie season driving AJ Foyt’s flagship No. 14 but Kirkwood is moving to Andretti Autosport. The team has not yet announced if Dalton Kellett will return for a fourth season, and a third car for Tatiana Calderon was pulled from competition after seven races because of sponsorship non-payment. Shutting down Calderon’s team removed the only semi-regular female driver from the IndyCar field.

Pedersen, however, was signed to an agreement Foyt said “spans multiple seasons as the team plans to develop the young rookie and is aligned to a longer-term plan for AJ Foyt Racing.”

Pedersen was born in Copenhagen but raised in Seattle and currently lives in Indianapolis. He said his time shadowing the IndyCar team has given him a jump on his rookie preparations.

“I’ve spent a lot of time this season with AJ Foyt Racing learning the ins and outs of making the jump to IndyCar and it’s been really nice to do that in conjunction with my Indy Lights season,” Pedersen said. “IndyCar has been my target goal since I started open wheel racing in 2016. The racing, atmosphere, fans, events, tracks, etc. are all awesome.”