Jeff Taylor is sitting on 48 victories and with two cars in competition at Indy, he could become the next driver to reach the coveted 50 win mark if he were fortunate enough to double-up this weekend at Indy. Taylor won his first national event in 1981, the same year he won the first of his four world championships. He’s also won national events in Comp, Super Stock, Stock, and Super Comp, and he even dabbled in Pro Stock briefly in the early 1980s.
Taylor is easy to spot this week since he’s racing a pair of bright yellow and black entries for the JEGS Mail Order team. He is driving Jeg Coughlin Jr.’s Dodge Challenger in Stock and he’s wheeling a new Pontiac in Super Stock that will eventually be raced by Mike Coughlin’s son, Clay.
“Jeg and I have had a deal to drive his Challenger for a couple of years, and it’s a really good car,” said Taylor. “Now, Mike has this car for his son, and they wanted me to help them get it sorted out. I’m happy to do that. It’s great to be able to run both of these cars, especially at Indy. I’ve had a long association with the JEGS team and it’s worked out really well for me.”
Taylor admits that he was initially a bit indifferent to the notion of 50 wins, but that milestone took on an added sense of importance last year when he lost his older brother Charlie, the 1981 NHRA Super Stock champion.
“Charlie was my biggest supporter, and he really wanted to see me get to 50,” said Taylor. “It was a big deal for him, and I don’t believe I can quit until I get there. Hopefully, it will happen sooner rather than later. I really want to get those two national event wins to get to 50, and then I’ll be done. I mean, I won’t quit after that, but I will definitely slow down. I just want to be able to race where I want and when I want. Fortunately, I have a number of people who will let me drive their cars so I don’t need to have all this equipment.”
Winning even one title at Indy might seem like a lot to ask, but Taylor’s record at “the Big Go” is impressive. He won the Stock title during his first championship season in 1981 and added additional wins in 1991 in Super Stock and 2000 in Comp Eliminator. He was also a runner-up in 1987 and 1988. Taylor is off to a good start here this weekend by winning a pair of class eliminations trophies on Wednesday.
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