Sunday, January 31, 2010

Daytona Rolex 24 Post-race Quotes


“Yes, about two or three laps before, I could feel it going sour and just losing RPMs, and Kenny [Wilden, spotter] kept saying there was steam and smoke coming out of the back. It was one of those things where you pray that it’s going to last another hour and 20 minutes, because I could still run in the 44s and 45s even with it down on power. I thought for as big of a gap that we’ve got on third we might be able to hold it, but usually when they start smoking it’s not a good thing. Just disappointed for everybody at Michael Shank and Ford. We’re getting closer. We’re going to win one of these things, I’ll tell you that. Once again great car, great motor, just bad luck.”

“The car, we needed to get it better. It wasn’t as good as last year. The No. 01 and the No. 9, it seemed when they turned the wick up they could go, but I ran about as fast as them on the stands. It would have been a good race. It would have been close. I think they might have had a little on us, but I would have tried to hold them off.”

“I felt like this was the best 24 that I’ve ever run. I had a triple stint starting around 3 a.m. and then was ready to run a lot of laps with a triple again to get it to the finish. This was no ones fault. Everyone worked really hard and we wanted to get back up on the podium for Mike Shank. It’s disappointing, but we’ll be back, no question.”

“This race was really tough. We had our adversity with one of our key members [Michael Valiante] getting sick so that made things really tough. We were all dealing with fatigue and dehydration. The team gave us a fast car but something out of our control took us out. It’s unfortunate, but we will come out of here with points and I expect to be strong at Homestead and all year long.”

“Last year we had a very abbreviated run. It is easy to make the misinterpretation that you are going to win just because you are leading it 15-20 percent into the race. This time, we were where we were so late in the race that we were practically jumping on the back of the pick up truck to head to the podium. So this is a much bigger disappointment. That was a great outcome in 2006 but I was too inexperienced to understand really what we’d accomplished. This year we were in a very good car once again, and we pushed our drivers very hard. This field had a lot of very capable driver line-ups, and when the sun came up, we were in a great position. So it’s a very disappointing way to end.”

“I think this was one of the most treacherous 24s I’ve ever run because of the conditions. We just tried to stay out of trouble. Just like last year, we had a chance to win this year, but it just didn’t fall into place. It’s the 24 hours and that’s just what can happen. I’m looking forward to getting the championship going at Homestead.”

Credit: Ford Racing

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Speed Weeks Schedule

Thursday, Jan. 28
10 a.m.: Opening of Speed Weeks: Ceremony at start/finish line in pit lane
10-11:30 a.m.: Rolex Series practice
11:45 a.m.-12:30 p.m.: Continental Tire Challenge practice
1:30- 2:30 p.m.: Rolex Series practice
2:45-3:30 p.m.: Continental Tire Challenge practice
3:45- 4 p.m.: Rolex Series Daytona Prototype qualifying
4:15- 4:30 p.m.: Rolex Series GT qualifying
5- 5:15 p.m.: Continental Tire Challenge ST qualifying
5:30-5:45 p.m.: Continental Tire Challenge GS qualifying
6:30-8:30 p.m.: Rolex Series practice

Friday, Jan. 29
9-9:45 a.m.: Rolex Series practice
10-10:45 a.m.: Continental Tire Challenge practice
11-11:20 a.m.: Rolex Series final qualifying
Noon-12:45 p.m.: Rolex Series final practice
1-1:30 p.m.: Continental Tire Challenge autograph session
1:45 p.m.: Continental Tire Challenge Fresh From Florida 200 (2 1/2- hour time limit)

Saturday, Jan. 30
11 a.m.: Rolex 24 Heritage Exhibition
11:30 a.m.: Rolex 24 driver's Meeting
Noon: Milestones Laps
12:15 p.m.: Rolex Driver autograph session
2:15 p.m.: Rolex Driver introductions
3 p.m.: Rolex 24 pre-race ceremonies
3:30 p.m.: Rolex 24 At Daytona

Sunday, Jan. 31
3:30 p.m.: Finish of Rolex 24 At Daytona

Thursday, Feb. 4
Noon-4:50 p.m.: ARCA practice
5-5:45 p.m.: Bud Shootout practice
6:30-7:30 p.m.: Bud Shootout Practice
8 p.m.: Bud Shootout drawing

Friday, Feb. 5
11 a.m.: ARCA qualifying
2:10-3:30 p.m.: Sprint Cup practice
4-5:30 p.m.: Sprint Cup practice
5:40-6:30 p.m.: ARCA final practice

Saturday, Feb. 6
1:05 p.m.: Daytona 500 qualifying presented by Kroger
4 p.m.: ARCA driver introductions
4:30 p.m.: Lucas Oil Slick Mist ARCA/ReMax 200
7:50 p.m.: Bud Shootout driver introductions
8:10 p.m.: Bud Shootout

Wednesday, Feb. 10
Noon-1:30 p.m.: Sprint Cup practice
2:00-2:50 p.m.: Sprint Cup practice (final practice before Gatorade Duel At Daytona)
3-5 p.m.: Nationwide Series practice
6-7:30 p.m.: Camping World Truck Series practice

Thursday, Feb. 11
9-11 a.m.: Camping World Truck Series final practice
11:30 a.m.-1 p.m.: Nationwide Series final practice
1:40 p.m.: Sprint Cup drivers introductions
2 p.m.: Sprint Cup Gatorade 150 mile qualifying races
6:10 p.m.: Camping World Truck Series qualifying

Friday, Feb. 12
1::40-2:40 p.m.: Sprint Cup practice
3:10 p.m.: Nationwide Series qualifying
7:30 p.m.: Camping World Truck Series driver introductions
8 p.m.: Camping World Truck Series Nextera Energy Resources 250

Saturday, Feb. 13
10:30-11:55 a.m.: Sprint Cup final Daytona 500 practice
12:45 p.m.: Nationwide Series driver introductions
1:15 p.m.: Nationwide Series Camping World 300

Sunday, Feb. 14
12:15 p.m.: Sprint Cup Daytona 500 driver introductions
1 p.m.: Sprint Cup Daytona 500

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

This Says It All

This quote from Media Week says everything you need to know about why AJ Allmendinger is a driver to cheer for. Does it get any more honest or basic than this?

AJ Allmendinger: "I drive a race car 'cause it's what I love to do. It's not about being in front of the media or being on a poster or being on TV or going out there and having the fame when it comes to that. It's about the love of going out there and competing. Going home and knowing that I gave everything I had that day, everything I had in my life to go out there and be at my best, and that's why I do it. That's the attitude I carry. I have fun doing it. I'm excited to go do it, but at the same time you can see when I'm frustrated. You're going to see it on my face 'cause it's all about winning."

Everyone who is clamoring for more emotion in NASCAR should read that quote. AJ is the real deal. He's a genuinely nice guy who has a ton of personality and untapped depths of racing talent. It takes years for the light from a star in the night sky to reach Earth. Well AJ is a star, and soon everybody will see that like I do.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Michael Shank Racing Fastest on Day 2 of The Roar Before the Rolex 24

Cold temperatures and precipitation, including light snow, freezing rain, sleet and patches of ice, merely dampened the morning practice sessions for the GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Series presented by Crown Royal Cask No. 16 and Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge series Saturday at Daytona International Speedway.

But drivers, teams and crews kept their cool, and once their sessions started, posted admirable times under the cloudy skies of central Florida.

Michael Valiante recorded the fastest lap of the day in the No. 6 Michael Shank Racing Ford Riley, 1:41.237 (126.594 mph), to lead the Daytona Prototypes. Leh Keen was fastest in GT practice in the No. 41 Dempsey Racing/Team Seattle Mazda RX-8, 1:49.214, set late in the night practice session.

Competitors in the Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge found conditions more to their liking, with Scott Maxwell unofficially bettering the existing track record.

The Roar Before The Rolex 24 wraps up Sunday. The Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge will practice from 9 -10 a.m. and 1:30 - 2:15 p.m. The Rolex Series will practice from 10:15 a.m. - noon and 2:30-3:30 p.m. The session is open to the public.

Rarely is it as cold as it was Saturday morning in Daytona Beach, where temperatures stayed in the low 30s, and an ice buildup around the race track forced cancelation of the first Rolex Series session. A handful of competitors in the Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge braved the untested track during their first session before waiting it out for the afternoon.

Valiante, who was fastest during several practice sessions during the 2009 Daytona Prototype season, set his time late in the afternoon. Times in Daytona Prototypes dropped off during the 90-minute night practice session, while GT times picked up.

"Michael Shank Racing has done a fantastic job, and it's great to be teamed up with Mark Patterson, Brian Frisselle and AJ Allmendinger here," Valiante said. "I think we will be challenging for the top spot at every race we go to this year. I think we will have a shot at the pole here. Unfortunately, it's been quite cold here. The temperature here today is the same as it is back home in Vancouver (B.C., Canada), and I was expecting Florida to be a lot warmer."

David Donohue was second fastest in Daytona Prototypes in the No. 59 Brumos Porsche Riley, 1:42.088 (125.539 mph). He was followed by Christophe Bouchut in the No. 55 Level 5 Motorsports BMW Riley, 1:42.106 (125.517 mph); Jon Fogarty in the No. 99 GAINSCO Chevrolet Riley, 1:42.207 (125.393 mph); and Pedro Lamy in the No. 10 SunTrust Racing Ford Dallara, 1:42.352 (125.215 mph).

Robin Liddell was second quickest in GT with a lap of 1:50.565 (115.914 mph) in the No. 57 Stevenson Motorsports Camaro, followed by Jorg Bergmeister, 1:50.604 (115.873 mph) in the No. 67 TRG/Flying Lizard Porsche GT3, Sylvain Tremblay in SpeedSource's No. 70 Castrol Syntec Mazda RX-8, 1:50.698 (115.774 mph), Paul Edwards in the No. 07 Godstone Ranch Motorsport Corvette, 1:50.889 (115.575 mph) and Andy Lally in the No. 66 TRG Shore Tel Porsche GT3, 1:50.978 (115.482 mph).

"We're pretty happy with the car so far," said Liddell, who co-drove a Stevenson Pontiac GXP.R with (Andrew) Davis the past two seasons. "We had a pretty good test here in December, and obviously I was able to put down a pretty good lap. So it looks like we're in good shape. Andrew and I work very well together, and having Jan (Magnussen) in the car is a great addition to the team."

Scott Dixon led the early afternoon session with a lap of 1:43.325 (124.036 mph). AJ Allmendinger was fastest in night practice with a lap of 1:41.448. Bergmeister was fastest in the early GT session, 1:50.214 (116.283 mph).

"It was really cold out there," Allmendinger said. "These are conditions you normally don't race in. I've been at Daytona before when it was cold, but this was like ice out there. When the tires were cold it was nuts trying to hang on."

Competitors in both the Rolex Series and Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge took advantage of the sessions to practice GRAND-AM's new restart procedure. On the final lap of caution periods, competitors in the faster class (either Daytona Prototype or Grand Sport) will fall into a continuous line, followed by the GT or Street Tuner competitors.

Like their Rolex Series counterparts, Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge competitors experienced the wrath of cold temperatures and precipitation throughout their two sessions. During the first session, only five cars took track time due to the temperatures and drizzle, while 47 Grand Sport (GS) and Street Tuner (ST) machines participated in the second hour-long session.

A day after BMW M3s swept the top five, the Ford Mustang GTs struck gold, grabbing the top four spots. Maxwell managed the quickest time in the afternoon, posting a time of 1:59.215 (107.503 mph) in the No. 16 Multimatic Motorsports Ford Mustang GT.

Overall, three different Mustang teams were in the top four. Todd Snyder turned the second fastest time in the No. 11 CMA Motorsports Ford Mustang GT, 1:59.710 (107.059 mph), the only other car under the two-minute mark. The defending championship-winning car, the No. 59 Belesta Ford Mustang GT from Rehagen Racing, was third, with Ken Wilden behind the wheel. Multimatic also claimed fourth with Gunnar Jeannette in the No. 71 Ford Mustang GT, while Joey Hand ended the Mustang's hot streak with Turner Motorsport's No. 97 BMW M3.

In ST, Compass360 Racing went from 2-3-4 on Friday to 1-2-3 on Saturday with its trio of Honda Civic Sis. Leading the way was 2009 Fresh From Florida 200 co-winner Lawson Aschenbach, who drove the No. 77 Skunk2/HPD Honda Civic Si, with a time of 2:10.078 (98.526 mph). Ryan Eversley was second in the No. 75 Skunk2/J.C. Concrete Honda Civic Si at 2:10.334 (98.332 mph), while Jesse Combs clocked in with a time of 2:10.655 (98.090 mph) in the No. 74 Skunk2/Hondata Honda Civic Si.

BimmerWorld and Irish Mike's Racing were also fast. BimmerWorld team owner James Clay was fourth quickest in the No. 80 BMW 328i, while Todd Buras claimed fifth in the No. 51 Volkswagen Jetta.

AJ in the Rolex 24 at Daytona for MSR

Michael Shank Racing Announces Rolex 24 At Daytona Drivers

Hard on the heels of Michael Shank Racing’s announcement that Crown Royal Extra Rare has signed on to sponsor the No. 60 Ford-Riley, the team presented the full driver line-up for the organization’s two-car 2010 Rolex 24 At Daytona campaign during the Roar Before the 24 at Daytona International Speedway.

Full-season Michael Shank Racing drivers Ozz Negri and John Pew will be joined in the No. 60 Crown Royal Extra Rare Ford-Riley by Burt Frisselle and Mark Wilkins in the season-opening race, as the No. 6 Michael Shank Racing Ford-Riley will see Mark Patterson team with Michael Valiante, AJ Allmendinger, and Brian Frisselle.

Ever since making it to the race finish in the team’s 2004 debut in the race, Michael Shank Racing has repeatedly shown strength in the Rolex Series season kick-off endurance format, finishing runner-up in the 2006 Rolex 24 and threatening for a race win late in the event again in 2008.

Seven of the eight drivers have previous race starts with Michael Shank Racing, something that team owner Mike Shank carefully considered as he assembled his team.

“We have had a lot of very strong driver line-ups for this event in the past, and I’m as confident in this group that we have this year as I’ve been for any we’ve had before,” said Shank. “Every one of these guys has a lot of Daytona Prototype experience, and a lot of miles at this track. To be successful in the 24, and to even make it to the finish of this race, takes speed, smarts, and a lot of experience. You have to make the right decisions, every minute of the way for 24 hours. With the guys we have in both cars, we have the right mix to make sure we are there at the finish and in position to fight for a podium on Sunday afternoon.”


Driver Quotes:

Ozz Negri, No. 60 Crown Royal Extra Rare Ford-Riley driver
Like Mike (Shank) said, it’s great to have guys with so much Daytona Prototype experience in our line-up. Everyone gets along, we are similarly sized, so we don’t need inserts, and I think we have a very strong line up. This is a magical race, one that everyone wants to win-not for the watch, but to win. Hopefully we can work enough to get it this time.

(about driving with John Pew in 2010)

“It’s strange because I’ve worked with Mark Patterson so long and we have a great relationship. So it was odd in the test in December to see Mark getting out of the other car! But its Im looking forward to working with John- we’ve known each other for such a long time, karting together and working together. So I am really looking forward to this year, especially to have Crown Royal Extra Rare in the car, it’s very motivating to have them with us.”

John Pew No. 60 Crown Royal Extra Rare Ford-Riley driver
“It’s great to try to fill Marks place! It’s going to be difficult, but I’m going to try my best, knowing Ozz and Mark for a long time and seeing how they worked together, I’m looking forward to stepping up my game even further this year. I’m proud and humbled to have such a great brand like Crown Royal Extra Rare with us this year on the car. I know Ozz said its not about the watch, but I want one!”

Mark Wilkins, No. 60 Crown Royal Extra Rare Ford-Riley driver
“I have to thank Mike Shank—this is a fantastic team, one that I grew up watching when he ran Ken Wilden in Atlantics when I was just a kid and they had so much success. It is a real pleasure to be here with these co drivers, to be the new guy here. Everyone is great, you just slot into the car, do your job and get going. It’s a great environment for the drivers and I think we have a great shot at it this year.”

Burt Frisselle No. 60 Crown Royal Extra Rare Ford-Riley driver
“The relationship with Michael Shank Racing and AIM Autosport has always been a strong one, we’ve been able to share information and work together so this is great.

For me, this is a kind of second home. I love racing for this team. It also is a great way for Mark and I to get excited about racing with AIM again at Homestead so hopefully we can start the season off strong here and try to help get Ford a Championship at the end of the season.”

Mark Patterson, No. 6 Michael Shank Racing Ford-Riley
“This is a great line up, with both these cars. If we get to the podium, I have no objection to what position where they are behind us! We’ve raced against each other in several different series--None of us is a stranger—I met Ozz through John, so we all work well together. Having worked with Ozz these last few years I will tell you-watch out for John Pew this year!”

AJ Allmendinger No. 6 Michael Shank Racing Ford-Riley
“I love coming back and racing for Mike-he’s one of those real racers and his team is great. You can see the passion he has for it in how his team executes. I am excited for him for this team and the line up that he has for the full season I think they are going to be really strong all year long.

“We finished second in this race the first year, and we’ve had the opportunity to win it every year since. I see both cars contending for victory, and hopefully the six car can do that. It’s exciting for me to be with Ford here in the Daytona Prototypes because now I’m with them in Cup so I hope to start the year off well for them and score well here in the 24.

Brian Frisselle, No. 6 Michael Shank Racing Ford-Riley
“I’m really excited to work with Michael, I think everyone made notice of the fact that he was on the top of the sheets all year long last year. He’s obviously very talented and I think the two of us together can hopefully be strong in the championship.

Michael Valiante, No. 6 Michael Shank Racing Ford-Riley
It’s great to be back and to be representing Michael Shank Racing again. Both cars have two driver lines up a capable of winning the race, our car was winning the race until we had an engine issue last year. Fortunately, that’s been resolved and this team prepares a fantastic car. Like Brian said, we have a very strong pairing for the full season as well. We have a lot in common. We both were co-drivers with Max Angelelli so we got off to a good start right there trading some stories!”