NBC SPORTS - WTR wins three in a row

February 01, 2021

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – Wayne Taylor Racing won its third consecutive Rolex 24 at Daytona, tying the record held by Chip Ganassi Racing, its chief challenger for the victory Sunday.

[WATCH DRIVER INTERVIEWS]

Filipe Albuquerque brought the No. 10 Acura of WTR to the checkered flag ahead of Kamui Kobayashi in the No. 48 Ally Cadillac, followed by Harry Tincknell in the No. 55 Mazda and Juan Pablo Montoya in the No. 60 Acura of Meyer Shank Racing.

It was the fourth Rolex 24 victory in five years and fifth overall for Wayne Taylor Racing which is one shy of Ganassi’s record of six overall victories. Ganassi was the first team to win three consecutive in 2006-08. It also was Acura’s first Rolex 24 victory.

Team owner Wayne Taylor, whose son, Ricky, is part of the team and whose younger son, Jordan, won in GTLM, said it was “probably one of the best days I’ve ever had.

[WATCH RACE HIGHGLIGHTS]

“Jordan won, Ricky won, my team won,” team owner Wayne Taylor said. “It’s like (expletive) awesome.”

After mounting a serious challenge on Albuquerque for the victory during the final stint, Renger van der Zande finished fifth in the No. 01 Ganassi Cadillac because of a blown right-rear tire with 8 minutes remaining, the second tire failure for the car in the last three hours on the 3.56-mile road course.

Albuquerque’s lead was closed to less than a 10th of a second on a furious charge with 15 minutes remaining by van der Zande, who won the past two Rolex 24s with Wayne Taylor Racing but was fired after the 2021 season as the team switched from Cadillac to Acura.

“I could almost see his eyes on my mirrors,” Albuquerque told NBC Sports’ Marty Snider. “He was so hungry for this, especially the whole story leaving Wayne Taylor, went to another team. He was fast initially but one thing is to catch, another is to pass.

“He was really pushing hard. I was lucky they had a puncture. He was really pushing hard in the Bus Stop. Still congratulations to Chip Ganassi, Renger and everyone. I think it was a hell of a show. Probably the hardest race of my life.”

Albuquerque, a native of Portugal, took over the wheel with about 90 minutes remaining from Ricky Taylor. Indianapolis 500 winners Helio Castroneves and Alexander Rossi were the team’s other co-drivers.

[FULL RESULTS]

Taylor, Castroneves and Rossi came to WTR after being teamed the last three seasons on the Acura of Team Penske (which closed its team after 2020), making Albuquerque a newcomer who acquitted himself well.

“He’s a superstar,” Taylor said of Albuquerque. “We always knew he was the one we wanted in our car, along with Alex, Helio and I. He had all the pressure in the world on him, and he took it like a champion. You have to send love to the Chip Ganassi guys. They did such a great job all day, and to have that misfortune at the end, they didn’t deserve it.”

READ THE FULL STORY ON NBCSPORTS.COM



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