DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (AP) – It’s fairly common to see a mullet or two at Daytona International Speedway.
But the business-in-the-front, party-in-the-back hairstyle is usually found in the stands and not on the starting grid.
Jordan Taylor is an exception. The 22-year-old Taylor, who teamed with Max Angelelli to win a Grand-Am championship in 2013, has been growing his brown locks out for a year. He is proud of the outcome, even though fellow drivers and others are pointing fingers and making fun of his new `do.
“It has gotten me more attention than anything else,” Taylor said Friday. “I did two TV interviews this week and one radio interview, and it was all about the mullet. They showed pictures comparing me to Billy Ray Cyrus’ mullet and Ellen DeGeneres’ mullet. I can’t believe it.”
Neither can some of his colleagues, many of whom have seen videos Taylor and his team made making fun of the mullet.
“It’s 100 percent shtick,” said Los Angeles Angels pitcher C.J. Wilson, who also runs a race team. “If you’ve seen the videos, you have to respect what they’re doing. I’m a hair guy, somewhat of a hair expert, I guess. And I like it.”
Taylor is driving this season with his older brother, Ricky. It’s the first time the siblings have been teamed in their careers. To mark the occasion, their father, Wayne, came out of retirement to join them in the Rolex 24 at Daytona this weekend. Wayne Taylor owns the team.
The elder Taylor has seen his son’s hair take on a life of its own, currently overshadowing his budding racing career.
“He looks like Billy Ray Cyrus, which I cannot believe,” he said. “Maybe he needs to dye his curls now or something. He needs to add something because the story is getting old.”
Jordan Taylor first vowed to grow a mullet if he reached 10,000 Twitter followers before the 2013 season. His quest failed, but he decided to do it anyway.
“I think it’s something unique,” he said, adding that his dad has rocked versions of a mullet for years. “A lot of people take themselves so seriously, so I thought why not be the guy that kind of shows I don’t mind if people laugh at me. I think there are a lot of drivers in the paddock that take themselves so seriously; I get frustrated by it.”
Taylor showed off photos of his childhood mullet, pics that made him consider the throwback hairstyle. Now, about a decade later, he’s sporting a similar look. Of course, he also wears glasses these days.
“The mullet and the glasses is really the interesting contrast,” Wilson said. “That’s where the contrast really comes alive.”
Taylor’s response: “Yeah, intelligence and non-intelligence.”
Taylor plans to keep the mullet going through Le Mans in June _ maybe even longer.
“I don’t really care too much what people think of me,” he said. “I get mixed responses. I can’t tell if they’re messing with me or not. I was walking around last night and I just hear someone say, `Ah, look at that thing.’ I looked around and he’s like, `Yeah, I’m talking about your mullet.’ I laugh at it. It’s funny. I don’t take myself too seriously. Everyone’s going to laugh at it, so I don’t mind.”
(Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)