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2013 Daytona 24: Michael Shank Racing Ready For Rolex Defense
Posted by: newsla on Jan 25, 2013 - 06:26 AM
Grand Am News
2013 Daytona 24: Michael Shank Racing Ready For Rolex Defense

Defending Rolex 24 At Daytona Champions Michael Shank Racing will start the 2013 Rolex 24 At Daytona from fourth and sixth on the grid following Thursday afternoon’s qualifying session at Daytona International Speedway. Michael Valiante will begin the 24-hour endurance event from the second row in the No. 6 Ford-Riley with AJ Allmendinger lining the No. 60 machine right behind the No. 6 on the outside of Row 3.


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“It’s all good. We’re first in class – we are the fastest Fords,” offered team owner Mike Shank. “The cars are ready, we’re good for the race, and I’m pretty happy so far. We’ll go into night practice now, try to get the drivers happier with the cars. We have a good start to the weekend. It’s where we qualified last year (sixth) when we won the race so, we’re good.”

Valiante pushed the No. 6 Ford-Riley DPG3 to a fast lap time of 1:41.236-seconds around the 3.56-mile circuit, and will open the race before turning the machine over to co-drivers Chris Cumming, Jorge Goncalvez and Gustavo Yacaman.

“It would have been nice to be on the front row at least but we’ve kind of been dealt the cards in our hand with the rules right now in GRAND-AM,” said Valiante. “It’s a BMW 1-2-3, and so it’s a bit tough. The main thing is we’ve got a car that’s really consistent. It’s a great race car, and we’ve got a good driver line-up. We just need to be there at the end. Qualifying is more bragging rights than anything.”

Allmendinger, making his eighth consecutive Rolex 24 At Daytona start for Michael Shank Racing, took the No. 60 machine to a quick lap time of 1:41.905-seconds in the 15-minute session. Allmendinger will share driving duties with his 2012 Rolex 24 winning co-drivers John Pew, Ozz Negri, and Justin Wilson as well as fellow Ford racer Marcos Ambrose.

The team will participate in a two-hour night practice Thursday evening as well as a final Rolex Series practice session Friday morning. The 51st Rolex 24 At Daytona is set to begin at 3:30 PM (ET) on Saturday with SPEED carrying live coverage. (3:00 PM, ET).

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