Daytona 24: Ford race report

After starting on the outside pole and having trouble during the night, the No. 60 Michael Shank Ford-Riley Daytona Prototype finished sixth in the Rolex Series 24-hour race at Daytona. Oswaldo Negri Jr., Justin Wilson, Graham Rahal and Mark ...

After starting on the outside pole and having trouble during the night, the No. 60 Michael Shank Ford-Riley Daytona Prototype finished sixth in the Rolex Series 24-hour race at Daytona. Oswaldo Negri Jr., Justin Wilson, Graham Rahal and Mark Patterson fought through the night and put together a solid finish for the MSR team to start the season sixth in the points.

OSWALDO NEGRI -- 60 -- Michael Shank Racing -- (Finished sixth)

"We unfortunately had so many problems. We had trouble with the suspension, the car heating us, but you know this is all part of the 24 hour race. I am pretty sure that we are salvaging quite a lot just by finishing considering everything that we went through through the race. I think we are looking forward to next year."

ON HIS OUTLOOK FOR THE REST OF THE YEAR. "The package is definitely there. Our switch to Ford, it was a key point on putting us in such a good position where we are. The Roush-Yates guys are doing a fantastic job with the engine and the pole position for the 24 hours and a record, it is really amazing. I will definitely trade that for a race victory today. You know I think everybody deserves the good finish that we are getting, they worked hard and we just have to move on. The next chapter is coming at Homestead and we'll be ready going into there."

JUSTIN WILSON -- 60 -- Michael Shank Racing -- (Finished sixth) --

"It was pretty eventful. Every time that we would make some progress, something else would happen. I think everyone in the Mike Shank Racing team has done a great job or keeping the cars running and getting them back running and it's their hard work that has really been something amazing. Obviously without having a great engine with Ford we wouldn't be as competitive as well."

WOULD YOU ENJOY DOING THIS ENDURANCE RACE AGAIN? "Yeah, it's good fun to do and it's hard to put into words exactly what you feel when you doing this kind of race and I enjoy doing this and working hard and looking forward to coming back next year and doing it again."

GRAHAM RAHAL -- 60 -- Michael Shank Racing -- (Finished sixth)

"I finished a race two years ago, but this was the best prepared of the teams that I've ever been apart of for this race. I was really proud of the team and that we really had a shot at it. There are so many things that you can't control and it seems all of those things hit us all at once. I was happy to be a part of it and hopefully will be back next year."

ON ENDURANCE RACING. "This is fun to do because it isn't the norm and it's something that I enjoy and hope to keep doing. It's just nice to try something different and to mix things up as a driver."

MARK PATTERSON -- 60 -- Michael Shank Racing -- (Finished sixth)

"We were supposed to go easy during that last hour, but I pushed just about as hard as I could. This is the fourth Daytona Prototype class that I've finished, I've never failed to finish, so I'm really proud about that. This is the most powerful engine that we've ever used here, there's no question about it. Even with the couple of issues of damage that we had with the splitter and things, we were still chasing other manufacturers and scaring the [heck] out of them. It was kind of cool."

THIS WEEKEND BROUGHT A LOT OF ATTENTION TO THE ENTIRE MSR ORGANIZATION AFTER STARTING BOTH CARS ON THE FRONT ROW. "I think people really woke up to see us on the front row on the grid and then I don't know how many hours, but I think the No. 6 car maybe have owned the P1 position for most of the night. That was rotating it through two or three drivers and that's a [heck] of an accomplishment. And then to have a weld break and not to have anything do with a mechanical or engine failure or anything that we could have prevented. It wasn't a driver error that caused that issue. I think we finished sixth and we really had a P2 or P3 car today."

ON THE SEASON AHEAD. "We're really looking forward to this season."

The No. 6 Michael Shank Racing Ford-Riley Daytona Prototype enjoyed the highest of highs during the 24-hour race at Daytona with leading 118 laps, and the lowest of lows after problems with the bell housing in the car caused the team to spend several laps working on the car in the garage. The team of Ian James, A.J. Allmendinger, Burt Frisselle and John Pew were able to battle back and get the car back on the track and finish respectively.

IAN JAMES -- 6 -- Michael Shank Racing -- (Finished 14th overall, 9th in DP class)

"We came here this year with a totally sense of perspective. We knew that we were okay, but were definitely one of the fastest cars out there and we could control that this year and we proved that for 24 hours. We were just hoping that we could keep up it up. Everything that Mike has done and our new relationships this year with Ford is great and has really helped the team and as a driver it gives you a lot of confidence out there to be on the flip side of things. You know it's easy to look over to the other side of the fence and think that the grass is greener, but in this case it was."

THIS IS A REAL TESTAMENT TO THE TEAM AND THE HARD WORK THAT THEY PUT INTO ITS TWO CARS. "Yes, this is a small team that acts like a big team. Our budget isn't as big as the big teams, but our personnel might not be the highest paid, but they are as good as anyone on pit lane and that showed today. I wouldn't swap these guys for anyone on pit lane."

MICHAEL SHANK k-- Team Owner -- Michael Shank Racing -- (Finished sixth and 14th overall, with sixth and ninth place finishes in the DP class)

"I'm massively upset about it. I'm so upset about it I won't hide it. You know when you -- I had 33 people here in the form of crew and engineers and technical support and mechanics all working as hard as they work and to have it let go in hour 21 of a 24 hour race is hard. To snatch it at 13 hours or 15 hours, I could maybe live with it. With that said, we came back and finished ninth and sixth in the DP class, so we actually came out with pretty good points days, so that I'm grateful for. The difference in my whole program, it's not B.S., is Roush-Yates with John Maddox and his guys and the Ford engineers. All these guys that made a huge differences. And mainly why they did is because they are interested in what we do. That shop has guys that can work on the Cup series and other racing, but I think that they like to come and work on this program I think they kind of like it. It's something different for them. And for me, this is all I do. I don't have parents with money; we built this from nothing. So, to have the resources that Ford brings to the table and what Dan Davis guaranteed me when we were working our deal out, is far beyond what I expected. I've got a two-year deal with Ford and I'm looking forward to that and extending that in the future."

YOU GUYS HAD A LOT OF ATTENTION FROM THE MEDIA AND COMPETITORS ALIKE THIS WEEKEND. "It's all great. To have all the things like yesterday when they were setting up the grid and having the guys push the cars and all those little details, really helped the guys feel like part of the team and part of the program. To be honest, I got a sponsor Friday morning. I had a deal with them and they called up and wanted to be a part of this. And they stepped up and I'm grateful for that and I know that's because of how well we ran here."

The No. 77 Doran Racing Ford-Doran battled throughout the entire 24-hour race at Daytona, finishing 16th in the Daytona Prototype class. Memo Gidley, Brad Jaeger, Fabrizio Gollin and Gabriele Gardel fought back after multiple issues kept the Kodak team busy in the garage.

KEVIN DORAN -- Team Owner -- Doran Racing -- (Finished 41st overall, and 16th in the DP class)

"We did one with Holbert that was bad, but I think this one was the worst. But I'm proud of our team. The guys kept digging and the drivers kept going. We were actually on pace the whole race; we just couldn't keep it out of the garage. We had tripod boot failures. We had two or three tire failures, one of which took a lot of the bodywork off the car. Debris off the tires wiped out the wiring for the transponder. That took a long time to fix because it's not very accessible. We had a brake problem that was strange. Debris got in the cockpit between the brake pedal and the floor, causing the brake pedal to not give the drivers any stopping power. Then when Memo [Gidley] had that crash in Turn Six, it damaged the splitter and the nose. At the end the gearbox was running hot. We stopped to cool it off three times and we did some preventative things to get it to last. Our Roush-Yates engine was flawless. It hasn't had a hiccup in really two-and-a-half years, and it gave us no sign of any trouble at all this weekend. It ran cool and it gave us good power. I can't say enough about Roush/Yates and John Maddox."

MEMO GIDLEY -- 77 -- Doran Racing -- (Finished 41st overall, 16th in DP class)

ON HIS CRASH. "I ran over oil and I couldn't stop; I went straight into the tires in Turn 5. This race we had a lot of problems. This race is won by the team that has the least amount of problems. We had to replace a half-shaft about two hours into the race, and that sort of set the stage for our day. Our race pace was in line for a top-five finish, but we just had a lot of problems. But I guess a lot of teams can say that and were in the same situation. I'm optimistic about the year though, because from here on out I know it'll be better and better. We'll have a new car and a new aero package, and we'll get stronger and stronger. There's always a lot of traffic at the Rolex 24. The slower GT cars are hard to pass, but that makes it exciting. Yes, we had a lot of problems, but as a driver I really enjoyed it. I like the start of the race, and I like the night stints because you get in a good rhythm. It was fun driver-wise."

BRAD JAEGER-- 77 -- Doran Racing -- (Finished 41st overall, 16th in DP class)

"My first two stints were pretty uneventful. I was the first driver to go on rain tires; both of those stints were in the rain. It was good for me because I got to learn the car. We were fairly out of contention, so we used it as good track time for me. I'm going to run the full season with Memo, and eventually I'll need to know how these cars handle in the rain sometime this season, so it was great practice for me. I never had a flat tire or anything. I drove off once in the rain and I had to come in so they could clean the radiator screen out, but that was all. I had one dry session at the end. At that point I had to baby the car the whole time. We had to try to hold on to the suspension and the gearbox. I was in the car for the finish, which was fun. The Doran Racing team did a great job. The Doran Racing crew was determined to keep the Kodak car on track to finish, and they did it."

FABRIZIO GOLLIN-- 77 -- Doran Racing -- (Finished 41st overall, 16th in DP class)

"It was the strangest Rolex 24 that I've ever done. I think this race was very important for the Doran Racing team. Some things were very new, and I think this race is very important for the future. It's difficult not to have problems when you're working on new things. We were unlucky too. I hope for the Doran team to have helped improve the car a lot, and now Kevin can fight for the win. I hope to come back to race with him again too!"

GABRIELE GARDEL-- 77 -- Doran Racing -- (Finished 41st overall, 16th in DP class)

"My first Rolex 24 was amazing. I'm really happy to be here. We were fast even with all the trouble. The team almost built a new car in 24 hours. I can't say enough about how hard this team worked. In the end we were just trying to keep going. We were working hard so we'll have a good car for the rest of the season. In GT cars, when you have a situation with tires, you can feel it. Here with these cars and the banking, when that tire exploded, it was a big surprise. In my second stint I had a small vibration and we came in to change tires because I don't know this package's limits. We're all new to Pirelli tires; it was their first Rolex Series race. I just want to thank the Doran Racing team for this super opportunity."

-credit: ford racing

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