Jordan Taylor Sets Expectations for Hendrick Motorsports Debut

Jordan Taylor

Getty Jordan Taylor poses at Virginia International Raceway.

The No. 9 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet will have a new driver as Jordan Taylor fills in for Chase Elliott at Circuit of the Americas. The 31-time IMSA class winner has now set his expectations for his NASCAR Cup Series debut.

There will be extra attention on Taylor as he controls the No. 9 for the first time in his career. He has two wins at Circuit of the Americas in the IMSA WeatherTec SportsCar Championship, and he will control one of the strongest entries in the field. However, Taylor does not believe that he will immediately go out and celebrate in Victory Lane.

“Any driver wants to be at the front and battling for the win, but I think I have to keep my expectations in check,” Taylor said in a release from Hendrick Motorsports. “Everyone in the Cup Series these days is good on every form of racing, whether it’s a superspeedway, short track, or a road course.

I know that it’s going to be a big uphill battle, battling these guys. I’m glad we do have an extra [practice] session to kind of understand it. From a driver’s perspective, I have the belief that I can figure out how to drive the car and then it just comes down to the little details of pit stops, pit lane speed.”

Taylor Has Detailed Some Potential Pain Points

Jordan Taylor

GettyJordan Taylor prepares for an event at Road America.

Making the transition from another racing series to the NASCAR Cup Series is not a simple matter. There are numerous differences in how the control of the car, the amount of power available at a given second, and how they handle the turns.

The technology in the driver’s control is also a significant difference. This is something of which Taylor will be especially aware as he attempts to avoid speeding on pit road and receiving a penalty.

“I’m used to pushing a button on the steering wheel and it controls my pit lane speed,” Taylor continued. “In NASCAR, you have to control it all yourself. So little details like that are the things that I’ve been bouncing off Chase; little tricks of the trade and what to expect.

“Even little things like coming into the pit box, knowing how to launch the car, and things like that. I know it’s going to be a big challenge, but I’m looking forward to it. I’m really grateful for the opportunity.”

Taylor is familiar with certain aspects of the Cup Series car, albeit in a different sense. He has tested the Hendrick Motorsports-built Garage 56 Chevrolet Camaro, which bears similarities to the No. 9 he will control at COTA. Though there are also noticeable differences considering that the entry is built for the 24 Hours of Le Mans.

“The car couldn’t be any more different than the Corvette we drive, and even the Garage 56 car,” Taylor said in a release from IMSA. “I know a lot of people think it’s going to be close to that, but it’s seven or eight seconds in lap time difference around COTA. So, it’s a different animal.”

Taylor Will Have Extra Preparation Time

Jordan Taylor

GettyJordan Taylor (right) will have extra practice time at COTA.

While there will be a learning curve for Taylor, he will have the benefit of taking over the No. 9 during the first road course weekend of the NASCAR Cup Series season. He will have extra time to prepare that would not be available at future events.

On March 9, NASCAR announced a new rule change for the road courses on the schedule. The sanctioning body added the choose rule in which drivers could pick their preferred lane on restarts.

As part of the announcement, NASCAR also noted that the Cup Series drivers would have an expanded, 50-minute practice session at Circuit of the Americas. This was not tied to the choose rule; instead, the change was due to the road course being the first with the new aero package.

This expanded practice session will take place on Friday, March 24, at 2:05 p.m. ET. As a new addition to the schedule, there will not be live TV. Instead, the session will air on tape delay at 8 p.m. ET (FS1).

Read More
Comment Here
Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Would love your thoughts, please comment.x