Michael Shank Racing with Curb/Agajanian will enter their ninth Rolex 24 at Daytona this weekend, fielding a two car Daytona Prototype team for the 50th anniversary event.
Shank's Ohio based outfit has fielded at least two cars in every Rolex 24 since 2006, with their best result coming that year when A.J. Allmendinger, Justin Wilson, Ozz Negri and Mark Patterson finished in second place.
Three-quarters of that line-up will contest the 2012 event with the team in a 2012-spec Riley/Ford chassis. NASCAR man Allmendinger and Indycar race winner Wilson again combine with Rolex Series regular Negri. John Pew completes the line up in the LiveOn.com backed no.60 entry.
The second half of the team brings a South American flavour to the MSR garage in an old style Riley, though again with a Ford powerplant. Michael McDowall makes his sixth Rolex 24 start this year, having scored four top tens from his past starts. The 27-year-old American is joined in the no.6 by three young South Americans all making their Rolex 24 debuts – Gustavo Yacaman, Jorge Goncalves and Sunoco Rolex 24 at Daytona Challenge winner Felipe Nasr.
“We were all running pretty respectable times at the test so I think we have a pretty strong team,” Yacaman said of the no.6 crew. “There are three of us that don't have any experience in the 24 hours so we're definitely going to need a little bit of luck. I hope luck is on our side and I think we're pretty well prepared for this race and we can go for a win. At the end of the day it's all about whoever doesn't make mistakes. It's not about ultimate speed. As long as we keep it clean and between the lines I think we'll be fine.”
Both cars ran well in the Roar Before The 24 session earlier this month, the no.60 car regularly featuring in the top six fastest cars during the eight test sessions of the three day event.
“We learned some stuff at the test so overall I'm pretty pleased,” said Allmendinger. “We know the Chevys are going to be fast. I think the SunTrust car might be the car to beat as of right now. You never know when you come back. Going into the race all you hope for is a car that is close enough to win and then you just pray everything goes right. So we're definitely going to have the speed now we just have to do the right things and hope for some more.”
“The team has been working incredibly hard over the last few weeks,” said Shank. “We're as ready as we can be and we're eager to get going. I'm very proud of the effort this whole team has put in, and I'm very excited about our chances this year. We've got an exciting line up of guys, and we know that this race will be as much about performance as it will be about patience. ”