Auto Racing

Robert Taylor happy to be helpful, just enjoying life at Hawkeye Downs

Tow-truck driver taking advantage of his multiple opportunities

Robert Taylor entered his sixth endurance race Saturday at Hawkeye Downs, driving his No. 87b car that is a five-speed T
Robert Taylor entered his sixth endurance race Saturday at Hawkeye Downs, driving his No. 87b car that is a five-speed Toyota Acura purchased for him by his bosses at Albert Auto in Urbana. (Justin Webster/The Gazette)
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CEDAR RAPIDS — Something we all have in common is second chances.

We’ve all received them and many of us have even dished out third and fourth opportunities to friends and family we love.

That includes 65-year-old Robert Taylor, who has taken advantage of his additional chances at life and love, and finds himself happier than ever.

Married to his fourth wife, Doris, Taylor is a mechanic by day for Albert Auto in Urbana and the tow-man for Hawkeye Downs each Friday night.

“I’m there to help everybody,” Taylor said. “I don’t care what your number is, what kind of car you drive or how fast or slow you are. I’m there to help you and I’ll be there without a problem every time.”

Taylor learned that willingness to help after he moved from Mechanicsville to Anamosa prior to high school to live with his grandparents.

“I wasn’t very good in school and I was a kid that when something happened, I was the one that got blamed for it,” Taylor said. “I went to live with my grandma and grandpa so I could change my life and I did. I graduated with my class of 1974.”

Taylor began volunteering his Friday nights at Hawkeye Downs four years ago, and a year later, started helping local stock car driver Jay Schmidt with his car as a pit man.

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Saturday, he found himself behind the wheel of his five-speed Toyota Acura for his sixth endurance race after his bosses, Wes and Tab White, bought him the car a few years back.

“I didn’t know what was going to happen,” said Taylor of the unique endurance-race format. “It’s a whole new ballgame with no flags. There is no stopping, you just drive defensively and look out for yourself.”

Taylor has done fairly well for himself, with two top-15 finishes, including a fourth-place debut to racing.

“I’m just having fun,” Taylor said.

Hawkeye Downs’ endurance race is 200 laps or two hours, whichever comes first, and usually takes the winning driver about 90 minutes to collect the checkered flag.

While Taylor didn’t finish first in his sixth attempt as a racer, he is still enjoying life with his wife of 20 years, his twin daughters, Shawn and Dawn, and stepchildren Suzanne McKinney and Robert Ramirez of Central City.

“I’m a guy that’s out there to help everybody and that’s why I enjoy towing,” Taylor explained. “I come down here and I just enjoy doing what I’m doing. If I’m in a car or the wrecker, I just love doing it.”

Comments: justin.webster@thegazette.com

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