Wayne Taylor experienced firsthand this week how tight the racing community is when rival Grand Am teams rallied to help him after a transporter fire destroyed all of SunTrust Racing's equipment.
The truck was en route from Saturday's race in Monterey, Calif., back to its Indianapolis race shop when it caught fire on I-40 near Amarillo. The cause of Monday's blaze currently is unknown, but it destroyed everything the team owned.
“Literally every single thing was burned to the ground, and I mean every single thing that runs my operation,” Taylor told The Associated Press on Thursday. “The cars, the tires, the wheels, all the tools, the laptops with all our data — everything that you need to make a race team is gone.”
Taylor said the loss already has exceeded $2 million and left his team with just two cars, a pair of out-of-use Pontiac Rileys that Max Angelelli and Michael Valiante drove to a fifth-place finish in the season-opening Daytona 24 Hours. The cars currently are for sale.
Unsure if the team would make it to the next event, June 6-7 at Watkins Glen, the racing community stepped up to help Taylor rebuild the operation.
“People have offered cars, parts, transporters, whatever we need,” Taylor said, rattling off a list of nearly two dozen names of people who have offered support. “Timmy Keene at Chip Ganassi Racing has just been utterly phenomenal with his help.”
Taylor will now go to Watkins Glen using borrowed equipment from Ganassi.
“They are loaning to us every single thing they have,” Taylor said. “All the setup equipment, pit boxes, a truck, trailer, radio, air guns, everything. It's just amazing that we're all competitive and we all want to beat each other and sometimes we don't even speak. But when there's a crisis, we all rally around.”
-- The Associated Press