Grand-Am Series Makes It’s Debut at Kansas Speedway

Grand-Am Had A Lot Riding On Saturday Night’s Race and It Showed

In a battle of youth versus experience, 22-year-old Jordan Taylor held back five-time GRAND-AM champion Scott Pruett over the final half-hour to win tonight’s inaugural event for the Rolex Sports Car Series at Kansas Speedway. The 22-year-old took over the lead just past the halfway mark, which saw the second-generation driver charged with taking the No. 10 Corvette DP to the finish.

Grand Am Jordan Taylor Kansas Speedway 2013
The new road course at Kansas Speedway gave Grand-Am racers their a good taste of speed this weekend when the series visited the all new 2.37-mile circuit for the very first time.

Jordan-Taylor-Wayne TaylorWith father and team owner Wayne Taylor looking on, Jordan took the lead in the No. 10 Velocity Worldwide Corvette DP with around an hour and ten minutes remaining in the 2-hour, 45-minute SFP Grand Prix.

He would pit from the lead with 42 minutes remaining and then cycle back to the front to set-up a battle for the win against Pruett, who valiantly drove to overcome early trouble for his No. 01 Chip Ganassi Racing BMW/Riley.

Less than 15 minutes into the race, Pruett’s co-driver, Memo Rojas, spun out the No. 5 Action Express Racing Corvette DP of Christian Fittipaldi from the lead and was penalized for avoidable contact with a stop-plus-60 second penalty on pit road.

The incident also damaged the No. 01, but after repairs, Pruett brought it back into contention and as the clock ticked down, he wouldn’t let Taylor run away.

However, the youngster stayed poised and eventually pulled out the third win of the season for himself and No. 10 co-driver Max Angelelli.

“This race was all strategy and keeping the car up front – the guys had the perfect strategy to short-fill at the beginning and have me be the first one to make the last stop,” Jordan told Fox Sports in Victory Lane. “Max was flawless, and the [crew] was flawless.”

Grand Am Jordan Taylor Kansas Speedway 2013

Taylor and Angelelli also took over the Daytona Prototypes championship lead by two points over Fittipaldi and three points over the previous leaders, the No. 2 Starworks Motorsport team of Alex Popow and Ryan Dalziel.

Popow spun on the opening lap and then later on in the first hour, he made contact with an infield wall that inflicted heavy rear damage to the Starworks BMW/Riley. The car would eventually return to action but at 21 laps off the pace and would finish 22nd overall.

In GT, Alessandro Balzan and Leh Keen won in the No. 63 Scuderia Corsa Ferrari 458. Balzan not only got his first career Rolex Series victory, but he also jumped to the top of the GT standings by one point over the No. 44 Magnus Racing Porsche team of John Potter and Andy Lally.

“It’s really good to have a win at this point of the championship,” Balzan said to Fox. “You have to show that you are there. I can’t ask for better from Scuderia Corsa and from ‘my baby’ [the car].”

Potter and Lally’s strong run of consistency finally ended when Lally hit debris on the track at the Turn 2/3 chicane. The hit severely damaged the No. 44′s radiator, and eventually led to an 18th-place finish.

In GX, Joel Miller and Tristan Nunez notched their second straight class win in the No. 00 Speedsource Mazda6.

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Kansas Speedway Is Looking Beyond This Race

The merger between the Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series and theAmerican Le Mans Series announced earlier this year means Kansas Speedway could be left out of a combined schedule next season. More established venues such as Road Atlanta and Daytona are virtually assured of dates, making it more difficult for a newcomer such as Kansas to land a race weekend.

Kansas Speedway logo

”The issue is simply math,” Kansas Speedway President Pat Warren said. ”How many races are there going to be on the schedule next year? How many places are they going to go, and which tracks may or may not be included? I don’t think it’s a reflection on Kansas Speedway. It’s not a reflection on the track or the market, and it’s not a reflection on the long-term.”

Indeed, even if Kansas Speedway is left off the schedule of the rebranded United SportsCar Racing series next year, Warren said it would aggressively pursue future races.

United Sports Car Racing Logo

”They have to make some decisions for 2014 that are some tough decisions,” he said. ”As they try to figure out how they want to grow the series, what they want to do to bring the two series together, we just don’t know where we fit in that picture.”