RACING

Jordan Taylor drives race cars. Rodney Sandstorm worships them. Surprise: it is the same person.

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Jordan Taylor has been racing his whole life. He has ridden many famous tracks and rubbed shoulders with many famous drivers, but he was still surprised at how fanatical followers of the sport can be.

Shortly before the 2017 24 Hours of Daytona race, he was in Brownsburg, Indiana, having lunch at a diner with Jeff Gordon. They were going to be teammates in the race, and they were about to get the four-time NASCAR champion sometime in a simulator. “He was being approached by fans left and right in a normal restaurant, not even in a racing town,” says Taylor. “I couldn’t believe how famous he was.”

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For the record, Gordon remembers it as “just another day,” which makes one wonder how Taylor would have reacted if lunch had been, say, in Charlotte. But nevertheless, a small light went out above Taylor’s head. He went to eBay and bought a vintage DuPont rainbow Gordon jacket. (“It’s genuine,” Taylor says. “It still smells like cigarettes.”) He took a pair of jeans and cut them into shorts. Oversized sunglasses, a twist cap and a pair of Dr. Scholl’s (“super comfy”) shoes completed the outfit. Then, arriving at Daytona, he approached Gordon in the paddock and tried to impersonate a rabid fan. “Unfortunately, he understood 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 sort of took on a life of its own after that.

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