Daytona Beach – Defending Rolex 24 At Daytona champions Michael Shank Racing picked up right where they left off at Daytona International Speedway as the team led five of eight practice sessions at the Roar Before the 24 test days to kick off the 2013 GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Series season.
“It’s always nice to be one of the quickest cars during the test days,” said Valiante, who was joined by Chris Cumming, Gustavo Yacaman, and Jorge Goncalvez in the No. 6 Ford-Riley. “I think we’ll have a good shot in qualifying. It’s hard to say where we’ll be exactly but it’s always nice to know that you have a car that at least has a shot to be on the front row. I think a lot of what GRAND-AM decides to do with the rules will dictate who will be on the front row. For sure you want to start first and qualify on pole but at the end of the day it doesn’t really mean anything for this race because you could start last and still win. If the rules are really close and we have a shot at it, it would be great to be on the front row.”
The No. 60 Michael Shank Racing entry, which claimed victory in last year’s Rolex 24, posted the third fastest time of the test on Saturday when AJ Allmendinger put down a 1:42.296-second flying lap around the famed Daytona circuit.
“What Ozz and John did here at the test, we have a really good package,” offered Allmendinger. “What I like the most is that I can get in the car right away and go fire off the laps. I don’t have to keep working hard to just put in one lap. The car is pretty consistent. I think we still need to fine tune it a little bit overall but I’m pleased with it. The car has great speed – both cars have great speed. We don’t know exactly how fast everybody else is but overall I feel pretty good about it.”
“We couldn’t be happier,” said team owner Mike Shank. “We were P1 in five of the eight sessions and we just kept learning about the cars. We took a couple steps back in there - it wasn’t all perfect but the best part is that all of the drivers got tons of laps in. We had no problems mechanically at all in either car. We have a good foot forward for the race and there is no reason why we shouldn’t do well.”
Michael Shank Racing