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The Journal Gazette

Saturday, August 17, 2013 11:01 pm

Taylor holds off Pruett for Grand-Am win at Kansas


Jordan Taylor held off Scott Pruett over the final 30 minutes Saturday night, crossing the finish line under the lights to win the first Grand-Am race at Kansas Speedway.

Taylor usually leads off and is replaced by veteran Max Angelelli, but this time it was the son of team owner Wayne Taylor who climbed in for the finish. Taylor took the lead with 38 minutes left in the 2-hour, 45-minute race before securing their third Daytona Prototype win this season.

Pruett finished second in his BMW Riley for Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates. He nearly overcame a 60-second penalty that teammate Memo Rojas received earlier in the race for avoidable contact, finishing half a second behind Taylor on the 2.37-mile course.

Alessandro Balzan teamed with Leh Keen for his first GT win of the season in their Sucderia Corsa Ferrara 458. Joel Miller and Tristan Nunez won their second straight GX race.

It was another frustrating weekend for Alex Popow and Ryan Dalziel, the drivers of the No. 2 Starworks with Alex Popow Ford Riley that came into the weekend leading the DP standings.

After mechanical problems last week at Road America doomed them to a 14th-place finish, Popow picked damage to the front of his car early in Saturday night's race. The team pulled the car behind the wall and managed to get it fixed, but by that point the team was close to 20 laps down.

They weren't the only point leaders to have trouble at Kansas.

Andy Lally, who along with teammate John Potter had a seven-point lead in the GT class, came onto pit road about 90 minutes into the race with heavy damage to his Porsche GT3. Fluids spewed out the front of the car from what turned out to be a punctured radiator.

The pit stop came during a caution caused by a spin in the DP class that collected Stephane Sarrazin and Alex Gurney. Sarrazin's 8 Star Motorosports Corvette went behind the wall for repairs, while Gurney's Gainsco Corvette wound up losing the driver's side door - Gurney comically tossed mud out of the car during a pit stop before the door was replaced.

"Sarrazin was coming through the field. It's racing," 8 Star's Enzo Potoliccio said of the wreck. "We knew this would be tough because we knew the Corvettes would have a disadvantage with the down-force here. We're looking forward to next year and see what happens."

That's assuming the race is even on the schedule next year.

The merger between the Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series and the American Le Mans Series that was announced earlier this year means that Kansas Speedway's new road course could be left out of a combined United SportsCar Racing series schedule next season.

"They have to make some decisions for 2014 that are some tough decisions," track president Pat Warren 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."

Kansas Speedway certainly made a positive first impression.

There was a decent crowd in the main grandstand near Turn 1, where cars exited the main track used twice a year by the Sprint Cup series and headed onto the infield part of the track. Fans lined the fences there, filling a pair of portable grandstands on a picturesque late-summer night.