Shank Fords On Third And Fifth Rows

Michael Valiante qualified the #6 Ford-Riley fourth fastest for the Rolex 24 at Daytona (Photo Credit: Rolex/Stephan Cooper)

Defending Rolex 24 at Daytona champions Michael Shank Racing will start this tomorrow’s race at Daytona from fourth and sixth on the grid – with the Daytona Prototype class headed by three BMW-Riley machines including a pair of Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates machines.

“The cars are ready, we’re good for the race, and I’m pretty happy so far,” said team-owner Mike Shank. “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.”

The team’s #6 car will start from fourth (lap time: 1:41.236), with the #60 (lap time: 1:41.905) in sixth. Michael Valiante (#6) and A.J. Allmendinger (#60) will start the endurance in their respective cars. Valiante will then be handing 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.”

The 51st running of the Rolex 24 at Daytona begins tomorrow at 2030 GMT (1500 ET), with The Checkered Flag providing hour-by-hour coverage of the