Homesick Englishman Zooms to Pole for Today's Del Mar Race : On track: Wayne Taylor sets a fast lap record and finds himself occupying the pole position in today's season-ending Camel GT Grand Prix.

It has been seven weeks since Wayne Taylor last saw his 2-month old son, Ricky Scott. Taylor has been away from his homeland of England trying to make a name for himself on the American racing circuit.

In order to stay current with his son's progress, Taylor has been watching videos of his development.

However, if Ricky Scott's dad continues his success of the past two days, there may be a new video star in the family.

Saturday, in the opening qualifying session, Taylor proved that his fastest practice time Friday was no fluke. He set a Grand Prix track qualifying record with a fast lap of 91.193 m.p.h., breaking the mark of 90.213 set by Chip Robinson in 1987.

The 10 fastest drivers advanced to the afternoon single-qualifying session, where Taylor drove his Pontiac Spice SE89 to a fast lap of 90.832.

Thus Taylor will open today's 2:30 p.m. season-ending IMSA Camel GT Grand Prix at the 1.62-mile, 10 turn Del Mar Racetrack on the pole.

"It's nice, but it creates more pressure," Taylor said. "I suppose now I have to win the race."

Taylor said he is not downplaying the importance of gaining the pole position.

"It's the advantage that anybody would like to have," said Taylor, whose previous best finish was a fourth at the LeMans in 1987. "The approach to the first corner is not all that sharp. You just need to be in front into the first corner, otherwise it can be very difficult to pass. I think the first 10 laps, everybody's going to be really going for it."

Bob Earl, Taylor's Spice Engineering teammate, drove his Chevrolet to the second position with a lap of 90.538.

Taylor said Earl and the Jaguar team, which includes fourth-fastest qualifier Price Cobb, will probably provide his stiffest challenge.

Scott Atchison, from Bakersfield, will co-drive the second half of today's two-hour race with Taylor.

"I prefer to start," Taylor said. "Up until now, I've had most of the time in the car, and I think at the beginning of the race the most experienced people should be in the car. The fact that I've done more laps than him will be better in the beginning because there will be more cars around."

Taylor said changing drivers in midstream has its ups and downs.

"I don't think it's going to be a problem in that Scott's not going to keep the pace," Taylor said. "I think the problem of having a driver change is that it takes that much longer than having one driver in the car. A normal stop is 18 seconds, but having another driver is another 10, 12 seconds, and that could cost us a lot, but that's just how it is."

Although he usually races in England with a 3.5-liter engine, Taylor said he had a feeling his new 5.5-liter, non-turbo engine would fare better in the United States.

"We figured the best chance we would have was the last three rounds of the championship (because) the circuits haven't got any long straightaways," Taylor said. "The car is very, very good, and the team has done a great job. The car is suited to the circuit.

"Our engines are different than the Porsches and Jaguars, but we have enough torque to keep us there with the turbo cars. The 3.5-liter engine is a lot harder to drive. There's no power out of corners, but these cars have instant power."

Taylor said a win today might convince his team to make him a single driver on the IMSA circuit next year. It would also give him a check for a $180,000.

Which could go a long way to buying some new video equipment.

CAMEL GRAND PRIX OF SOUTHERN CALIFORNIAFinal practice results for today's Camel Grand Prix of Southern California IMSA Camel GT sports car race at the Del Mar Fairgrounds with driver, hometown, make of car and average speed in mph around the 1.6-mile temporary circuit:

1. Scott Atchinson, Bakersfield, Calif., and Wayne Taylor, England, Pontiac Spice SE88, 90.832 mph.

2. Jim Miller, Oak Brook, Ill., and Bob Earl, Larkspur, Calif., Checy Spice SE89, 90.538.

3. Geoff Brabham, Australia, Nissan GTP-ZXT, 90.145.

4. Price Cobb, Evergreen, Colo., Jaguar XJR-10, 89.867.

5. Rocky Moran, Covina, Calif., and Willy T. Ribbs, San Jose, Calif., Toyota Eagle, 88.726.

6. Chip Robinson, Oldwick, N.J., Nissan GTP-ZXT, 88.247.

7. Jan Lammers, The Netherlands, Jaguar XJR-10, 88.067.

8. Jochen Mass, Monaco, and Dominic Dobson, Sonoma, Calif., Porsche 962, 87.595.

9. John Winter and Frank Jelinski, both West Germany, Porsche 962, 87.506.

10. Costas Los, Greece, Pontiac Spice SE89, 84.052.

11. Bill Koll, Carlsbad, Calif., Skeeter McKitterick, Burbank, Calif., and Jeff Kline, Topanga, Calif., Pontiac Spice, 87.713.

12. Jean-Louis Ricci and Henry Pescarolo, both France, Porsche 962C, 86.348.

13. Bob Wollek, France, and John Andretti, Indianapolis, Porsche 962, no time.

14. Tom Hessert, Cherry Hill, N.J., and Charles Morgan, Conway, Ark., Buick Spice, 83.320 (fastest Camel Lights division qualifiers).

15. Jim Downing, Atlanta, and Howard Katz, New York, Mazda Kudzu, 83.043.

16. Ferdinand de Lesseps, France, and Jay Cochran, Buick Tiga, 82.762.

17. Dan Marvin, Berekly, Calif., and David Rocha, San Antonio, Pontiac Firebird, 82.366.

18. Scott Schubot and Linda Ludemann, both West Palm Beach, Fla., Buick Spice, 80.477.

19. Al Rocca, Westlake Village, Calif., and Tomas Lopez, Mexico, Chevrolet Tiga, 78.663.

20. George Sutcliffe, Odessa, Fla., and Michael Dow, Los Angeles, Pontiac Firebird, 77.931.

21. Stefano Livio and Enrico de Benedetti, both Italy, Buick Alba, no time.

22. Ken Knott, Marietta, Calif., and Don Bell, Woodside, Calif., Cosworth Pontiac Spice, no time.

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