Mike Curb Relishes History at Daytona and Looks to Make More
Famed car owner teams with Michael Shank Racing in Rolex 24 At Daytona
DAYTONA BEACH, FL (21 January 2011)- When the 49th running of the Rolex 24 At Daytona takes the green flag next Saturday (SPEED, 3:30 PM ET), there will be a full field of drivers and their teams looking to make history as the 2011 GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Series championship kicks off on the high banks at Daytona.
But it won't be just the drivers who will hope to enter the record books, as famed car owner Mike Curb hopes to yet again make history at the "World Center of Speed" as he looks to see the No. 6 Continental Tires Michael Shank Racing with Curb/Agajanian Ford-Dallara entry driven by Michael McDowell, Justin Wilson, and AJ Allmendinger make it all the way to victory lane.
"Daytona is a special place for me," offered Curb ahead of the Rolex 24 weekend. "My daughter lives here, and my son in law works at Daytona State University, so I feel connected to the area. Of course, I've also been fortunate to experience some amazing things at the Speedway! We were the car owners when Dale Earnhardt won the 1980 NASCAR championship and of course, the memory that we all are so fond of was when Richard Petty won his 200th race here with our car at Daytona with President Reagan here. What an amazing day!"
"In everything we've done since then, we've never been able to match that so I thought 'wouldn't it be wonderful to be part of winning the 24 Hours At Daytona?' Michael Shank has come so close to winning it before, and this is a real first-class effort, so we are proud to be a part of this. I've watched AJ, Michael, and Justin in everything they've raced and couldn't be more impressed with this line up that Mike (Shank) has put together."
The connection with McDowell has seen Curb connected to the young NASCAR pilot in another significant event, as the duo first teamed up in the 2010 Brickyard 400 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
"Of course, we've been working with Michael for quite some time and we just think the world of him," said Curb. "Everyone on this team knows what it means to win at Daytona. Whether its a GTO race in the 80's or any NASCAR event here, there is nothing like Daytona. Any time you have the chance to do something on a historic track in an event like the 24 Hours, its a special opportunity. This is the super bowl of sports car racing in America and its been that way for years and GRAND AM has brought it to a whole new level. And I can't think of anything more exciting to be a part of this."
The weekend marks the return to the GRAND-AM ranks for McDowell, who scored a debut win in Rolex Sports Car Series competition on his way to NASCAR's premier levels.
"I've had a lot of great opportunities at the 24, driving some good cars with great teammates, but this is by far the best shot I've ever had," said McDowell, who has three top-ten finishes in the Rolex event to his credit. "We've got two really fast guys and hopefully I'll be able to hold my own as well! Mike (Curb) and I have been working on this for a long time. Every year, I've called Mike (Shank) to try to put an effort together, so it was great to have Curb step up and Continental TIres come on board to make this happen."
The Ford-Dallara combination proved quick in testing as the Rolex Series squads got their first taste of running on the newly laid pavement in early January. The Columbus (Ohio)-based team is targeting a return to the Daytona Podium with a three-car entry in the huge season-opener.
"It's amazing when you think about some of the accomplishments that Mike Curb has been a part of through the years, so we were pretty honored when we started talking about working together," said team owner Mike Shank, who will lead his team's first-ever three-car entry in the 24."Obviously, we have one clear goal and we are really focused on trying to add another big win at Daytona to his list. We've got a great opportunity to do that this year."