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The Legend of Rodney Sandstorm: Everything You Need to Know About Jordan Taylor

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Bryan Moyers

These articles are written perfect and staggered special. If you wanna read em, they CAN inform you. -Harry Hogge, probably.
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While Chase Elliott recovers from his snowboarding injury, Hendrick Motorsports announced the substitute drivers for the number 9 Camaro. Josh Berry will pilot the car on oval tracks while Jordan Taylor will take the wheel at Circuit of the Americas for Hendrick.

NASCAR fans may not recognize that name, but the “road course ringer” has quite the resume.

Glad you asked, Bean. Here’s everything you need to know about Jordan Taylor.

Corvette Driver for Team Chevy in IMSA

Taylor is a three-time champion in IMSA’s GT and Prototype classes. He also races internationally and was part of the 2015 Le Mans winning Corvette team.

Because of his success, Jordan was tapped to be the driver coach for Hendrick/Chevy/NASCAR’s Garage 56 program. In fact, when the announcement was made, “JT” was at COTA testing the Garage56 ZL1 Camaro.

Taylor has 24 wins and 54 podiums in IMSA’s Sportscar Championship, taking the checkered at least once in every season entered.

Sports Car racing is a family affair for the Taylors. His brother Ricky is well known in the paddock and father Wayne is a legendary driver turned team owner.

In an interview for the National Corvette Museum, JT reflected on his love of motorsports.

Taylor says of his earliest days of racing, “I just loved being in the car, particularly when it was a test day with one car and no one else to race or compare ourselves to.” Taylor added, “I love the challenge of driving and extracting the most possible out of the car on any given day. Each day and time on the track are different. There are different variables and situations that arise, and for me it’s about adapting to those situations.”

Garage 56 Coach

In addition to driving Corvettes for Team Chevy, Hendrick brought the veteran racer into help with NASCAR’s innovative car entry to the 24 Hours of Le Mans. As mentioned, Taylor was testing the car at COTA when he was announced for the number 9 seat.

Taylor will be a back-up driver for Garage 56 while serving as a coach and consultant for the three drivers on the roster – Jimmie Johnson, Jenson Button, and Mike Rockenfeller.

JT approaches this role with humility as he discussed with John Oreovicz and Racer Magazine.

“My title is ‘driver coach,’ but I think that’s more of a joke than anything with the level of drivers that we have,” Taylor said, chuckling. “I think a more accurate title would just be a consultant, with a lot of experience on the sports car side — the Le Mans side, specifically, having raced there so many years.

Taylor sought out the opportunity to be a part of Garage 56 with Hendrick. He called Chad Knaus immediately after hearing whispers of the potential.

The first generation American, Taylor loves the GM muscle.

“I think it’s going to open a lot of people’s eyes at Le Mans and around the world when they see this car in person,” he said.

With his Garage 56 ties, Taylor already slots in to Hendrick well and should feel right at home with the number 9 team.

“It’s a bunch of amazing people, and to kind of see how Hendrick works has been impressive and I’ve learned a lot,” he said. “Working with Chad and Jimmie, seeing their relationship, and (crew chief) Greg Ives had a lot of success in NASCAR. Seeing how the team operates — how they run through a test, how they do pre- and post-event briefings — there are so many little things I can take away and take back to my regular side of racing.

Who is Rodney Sandstorm?

Growing up around the racetrack, Jordan became a fan of all things motorsports. JT was especially a Jeff Gordon superfan.

Taylor created his alter ego, Rodney Standstorm when the stars aligned in 2017. Shortly before the 24 Hours of Daytona, Taylor and his favorite NASCAR champ met just outside of Indianapolis to prepare to be teammates for the endurance race.

Mark Bechtel wrote about the origins of Rodney Standstorm for Sports Illustrated.

For the record, Gordon remembers it as being “just another day,” which makes one wonder how Taylor would have reacted had the lunch been in, say, Charlotte. But nonetheless, a little light went off over Taylor’s head. He went on eBay and bought a vintage DuPont rainbow Gordon jacket. (“It’s authentic,” Taylor says. “It still smells like cigarettes.”) He got a pair of jeans and cut them into shorts. Some oversized shades, a crooked cap and a pair of Dr. Scholl’s shoes (“super comfortable”) completed the outfit. Then, when he got to Daytona, he approached Gordon in the paddock and tried to pass himself off as a rabid fan. “Unfortunately he caught on like five seconds into the prank,” says Taylor. “But people loved the outfit, the jorts and the name [I’d come up with]: Rodney Sandstorm. So it kind of took on a life of its own after that.”

What started as a prank, Taylor’s character has grown quite the following. He has almost 21,000 followers on Instagram. He only follows 2 accounts though: SimCraft and Jeff Gordon.

Sandstorm even shows up for Dale Jr.’s Dirty Mo Media in a series called “Video Jorts.” This side project kicked off shortly after Taylor, listed as Sandstorm’s manager on Instagram, appeared on the Dale Jr. Download.

While Jordan is known as a clean cut, respectful racer in sports car circles, the racer and racefan fits right in with the NASCAR community.

Fans will enjoy seeing Jordan Taylor race other “road course ringers” Conor Daly and Kimi Raikkonen at COTA March 26th.

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Picture of Bryan Moyers

Bryan Moyers

These articles are written perfect and staggered special. If you wanna read em, they CAN inform you. -Harry Hogge, probably.
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