Double Disappointment for Michael Shank Racing at Daytona; Knocked from lead and 4th place to bring early end to promising Rolex outing
(Daytona Beach, FL) 25 January 2009-After closing out the 2008 Rolex Sports Car Series season with wins from both team Daytona Prototypes, Michael Shank Racing had good reason for high expectations for a strong result in the 47th running of the Rolex 24 At Daytona.
Boasting the same technical Ford-Riley package that powered the team to victory lane last season, as well as a stellar driving line up for both the No. 6 and No. 60 machines, the aim was clear for the season-opening enduro at Daytona-to return to the Rolex 24 podium once again.
But after getting off to a strong start, that ambition will have to be postponed one year as both team machines were unable to finish the race after being sidelined by a sensor failure in the drivetrain. Even for a team that has demonstrated remarkable comebacks in previous examples of the grueling endurance test, the setback proved to be too much to overcome as both team entries were retired.
Deepening the disappointment was the fact that the early race performance confirmed the team's high hopes for the event. The No. 6 was in the lead at the time of the problem some five hours into the race, with the No. 60 Westfield Insurance entry still running on the lead lap in fourth position as the race neared the nine-hour mark.
"This is a huge disappointment for us because we've never had any kind of problem like this before, and to have both team cars get knocked out while running so strong is just a punch in the gut," said Shank as his team started packing up to make the trip back to team headquarters in Ohio. "If we weren't going to win this race, we wanted at least to start off right in the championship with some good points and a strong result but unfortunately that's not the way it played out tonight."