Jordan Taylor conceded with a smile, that it took a couple laps to get used to everything during his first ever laps in a NASCAR Cup Series car. But it took all of a few minutes into the session before the four-time IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship driver to quickly adapt and shine.
Taylor, who co-drives the No. 3 Corvette Racing Corvette fulltime in IMSA, technically is the single winningest driver at COTA this weekend with a pair of IMSA race wins and a runner-up showing in four previous sports car starts at the famed track.
He is making his NASCAR debut driving the No. 9 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet this weekend – filling in for injured driver Chase Elliott, who won the inaugural NASCAR Cup Series race at COTA two years ago.
“I was shocked we were fourth [fastest] right at the beginning because it was a much different animal than I expected right out of the gate,” Taylor said, acknowledging the natural transition to real life laps versus the simulator he had been practicing on.
“I think I had this perceived expectation and maybe I expected more grip and downforce, but it was super easy to make mistakes. I did rely on the simulator a lot and I think that’s why I was up to speed so quickly so good for Hendrick and GM to know their simulators are doing the proper job to get us up to speed. I think that’s where that top five right out of the gate came from.”
Taylor said he was grateful for the constant communication with Elliott regarding the car and said the spotters have been invaluable on track as well.
“I think it’s going to be a much different animal when there’s 39 guys around me and I’ll just wait for that on race day,” Taylor said smiling. “I want to see where I kind of cycle out speed wise and set my place on the grid. Hopefully I’ll be around a good group of guys I can trust, and they don’t look at my yellow stripes too much and push me around.”
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