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IMSA at COTA: Taylors on pole, Austin’s Jeff Mosing repeats as champ

Florida brothers Ricky and Jordan Taylor can stand out in any sports car racing crowd, and they look as if they’ve got the fastest ride among nearly 120 cars at Circuit of the Americas this weekend.

Their big blue No. 10 Konico Minolta Cadillac smoked the field in qualifying for Saturday’s IMSA Advance Auto Parts Showdown.

Austin’s Jeff Mosing, however, already has a big win in the books. He and co-driver Eric Foss of Dallas drove their No. 56 Murillo Racing Porsche Cayman to victory Friday in the Continental Tire Challenge ST class.

Mosing and Foss qualified eighth, smartly moved up to third and gained the last two precious spots during a pit stop, holding on the rest of the way in the 2-hour, 47-lap race over the 3.4-mile road circuit.

“We had a clutch problem before the race, and it started slipping with 12 laps to go, so I wasn’t even sure we were going to finish,” said Mosing, who operates Mosing Motorsports in North Austin.

Foss said, “We struggled in practice, so this was a nice surprise.”

Mosing, also competing in the Porsche GT3 Cup events here, certainly knows this course; he has won several races at COTA, including last year’s Continental Tire event.

“My track knowledge offsets my age,” the 49-year-old said. “These younger guys have much better reflexes. I need all the tricks to stay ahead.”

He was so hot on this 85-degree day that he went through 12 bottles of water and a strawberry lemonade.

“COTA throws a lot of curves at you,” Mosing said. “The track is always changing. It gets hot and greasy, and you deal with tire degradation. But it’s nice to live 30 minutes away and have my wife, Yuliya, and family and friends here. You want to win it for them, too.”

He also was racing his brother. Brent Mosing finished ninth in the ST class.

The team of Paul Holton of Orlando, Fla., and Matt Plumb of Chadds Ford, Pa., was the overall winner in a McLaren GT4. California drivers Mathew Keegan and Nico Rondet took second, 3.67 seconds behind.

The two Austin-based C.J. Wilson teams were eighth and 29th.

For Saturday’s feature, the Taylor boys definitely have the car to beat, just like a year ago when they dominated here. Their 1.59-second qualifying advantage over their nearest competitors was larger than the total time separating the other nine racers in their prototype class.

“I had the car on edge, and it got pretty tense,” Ricky Taylor said. “You can’t run a whole race that way. I really think the field will tighten up (Saturday).

“The heat will be a factor, too. I thought coming here in early May would mean cool temperatures. Thursday was nice, but now we’re looking at a hot, greasy track and a loss of grip. The hotter it is, the tougher it is to control the car.”

There was a similar message from top qualifiers in the other classes.

“I’ve never been more uncomfortable in a car. I just roasted,” said James French, whose team is on the pole in the PC class in an Oreca FLM09. “But we’ll deal with it.”

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