CONCORD, N.C. – While the end result was not what he wanted, Jordan Taylor was truly appreciative of the opportunity to fill in for the sidelined Chase Elliott at Circuit of The Americas (COTA).
Taylor made not only his NASCAR Cup Series debut, but also his NASCAR national series debut at the 20-turn, 3.41-mile road course in Austin, Texas. The start came as Elliott continues his recovery from successful surgery on a fractured tibia suffered in a snowboarding accident earlier this month. Driving the No. 9 UniFirst Chevrolet Camaro ZL1, Taylor finished 24th in the race at COTA.
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On Monday morning, the 31-year-old IMSA WeatherTech Sports Car Championship star took to Twitter to share his thanks and gratitude.
Taylor started the weekend strong as he finished 10th in Friday’s practice session. He followed that up with a fourth-place qualifying effort that turned plenty of heads.
During the race, Taylor helped the No. 9 team earn stage points in the opening 15-lap stage and he battled his way up to the top 12 late in the race. On the final restart in the third overtime attempt, Taylor got trapped in turn one and lost ground, finishing 24th.
"Yeah, it was definitely wild," Taylor said of his Cup Series debut. "The guys knew I’d be a little bit more hesitant, so they would take advantage of it. At the end, I got more aggressive and made our way almost back to the top 10.
" ...The No. 9 UniFirst Chevy was fast. I need to thank UniFirst and Hendrick Motorsports for giving me the opportunity. We had good pace, but we just got shuffled back every restart."
Taylor competes for Corvette Racing in the IMSA WeatherTech Sports Car Championship. He is a 31-time IMSA Class winner and a four-time IMSA champion. In addition, Taylor is a 24 Hours of Le Mans winner in 2015 (in the LMGTE Pro class), a two-time overall winner of the 24 Hours of DAYTONA in 2017 and 2019 and a GTLM class winner in 2021. His 2017 overall 24 Hours of DAYTONA win came with Hendrick Motorsports vice chairman Jeff Gordon as one of his teammates. Taylor is also a 12 Hours of Sebring overall winner in 2017 and in the GTD PRO class in 2022.
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In January, Taylor was announced as part of the lineup for Garage 56, which will run at the 2023 24 Hours of Le Mans on June 10-11. He is serving as a backup driver and coach for the Hendrick Motorsports-NASCAR-IMSA-Goodyear collaboration, logging seat time at each test to provide insight and feedback as the group readies for its journey across the pond.