Allmendinger, Wilson, and McDowell Join Michael Shank Racing with Curb/Agajanian for Rolex 24 At Daytona Effort as Continental Tire Partners to Launch National Retail Promotion
(Daytona Beach, FL) 7 January 2011- Fully committed to earning the best possible result in the teams eighth consecutive Rolex 24 At Daytona outing, Michael Shank Racing will stage the strongest campaign in team history with three Daytona Prototype entries for the 49th running of the endurance classic on January 29-30.
On Friday, team owner Mike Shank announced the driver line up for the third entry, with the No. 6 Continental Tire Flip 4 Four Michael Shank Racing with Curb/Agajanian Ford-Dallara being driven by three top talents, NASCAR Sprint Cup pilots AJ Allmendinger and Michael McDowell and IZOD IndyCar driver Justin Wilson.
The event will mark the first GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Series presented by Crown Royal race to see the entire field take to the track with Continental Tires, and the manufacturer has partnered with Michael Shank Racing to utilize the entry as a platform to launch the he "Flip For 4 in the New Year" promotion to kick off their GRAND-AM involvement. The promotion, which will kick off January 31st at participating Continental Tire retailers, gives drivers who purchase four Continental Tires with a value of $499 a free Flip UltraHDTM 1 Hour digital video camera.
In addition, the Rolex 24 effort will be supported by the famed Curb Records group, which has partnered with Michael Shank Racing for the event. The team will also continue to enjoy support from partners including Ford Racing and the Rocky Fork Company. The entry will also be utilized to raise funds and awareness for PVA.org, with additional details to be announced ahead of the race.
The 2011 Rolex 24 At Daytona campaign will mark Allmendinger's sixth attempt in the twice around the clock classic. He has led every race that he has started, with a best result of second place, which he shared with Wilson in 2006. Wilson has 3 starts in the event, and will look to improve his own personal best, having twice run to the checkered flag in the overall runner-up position.
McDowell has GRAND-AM experience stretching back to 2004, as the Phoenix native broke through for his first Daytona Prototype victory one year later in Mexico City. While his motorsports career has seen him show speed in everything from open wheel machines to NASCAR Sprint Cup, his participation in the Rolex 24 has remained constant, with three top ten finishes in the race from four race starts.
No. 6 Continental Tire Flip 4 Four Michael Shank Racing with Curb/Agajanian Ford-Dallara Rolex 24 At Daytona Effort, what they are saying:
Mike Shank, Team Owner:
"All three of our entries have a very realistic shot to win the Rolex 24, and I couldn't be more excited about this race," said team owner Mike Shank. "This has been a lot of work to put everything together, but we are focused and ready to go. Having this stellar line up is something we've worked very hard to develop and having fast guys, with experience in this race and who know what it takes to get to the finish, was my absolute priority and I feel like we hit the target perfectly by bringing AJ, Justin, and Michael on board. I'm also very excited about working with Continental Tire to use this in their promotional efforts to kick things off.
Travis Roeffler, Marketing Director, Continental Tire North America:
"After a great first season of involvement with GRAND-AM in 2010, Continental Tire is very excited about growing our role as the Exclusive and Official Tire for the Rolex Sports Car Series starting with the Rolex 24. We have a lot of activation and promotional activities planned all year long, and we wanted to kick everything off for 2011 focused on the "Flip For Four in the New Year" promotion by teaming with Michael Shank Racing. The team has proven to be a strong competitor in the 24 and this is clearly a very impressive driver line up."
AJ Allmendinger, Driver No. 6 Michael Shank Racing with Curb/Agajanian Rolex 24 Ford-Dallara:
"I've been telling Mike that I am not going to stop trying to win this race until we get to the top, and hopefully we can do that this year. Mike Shank runs a great team, and this race is what his entire organization is all about. I can't even describe how much I want to win this race. Getting so close the first time out, and having led it as much as we have only makes me want it that much more. This is a great chance to do that with this team and driver line up, so I'm very excited. With Best Buy coming back on board with us on the No. 43 in Cup and now kicking the season off with the 24, I'm already having a great 2011!"
Justin Wilson, Driver No. 6 Michael Shank Racing with Curb/Agajanian Rolex 24 Ford-Dallara:
"This is just one of those races that you want to win, and for me, having been so close before, I am especially motivated to get to the top this year," said Wilson. "I think racing for Mike (Shank) with this driver line-up is a great opportunity to do exactly that. Michael Shank Racing has always been strong in this race, and I think we've got an excellent opportunity for a good result again this year. Having known Michael and AJ for so long will only help as we are all on the same page and can get straight down to work in Daytona. Starting the racing season off with loads of laps in such a challenging race is a perfect way to kick off the year, and I'm very pleased to be back again with such a strong program."
Michael McDowell, Driver No. 6 Michael Shank Racing with Curb/Agajanian Rolex 24 Ford-Dallara:
"I can't wait-starting the year with the Rolex 24 is a great way to kick the season off," said McDowell. "I've been fortunate to run the 24 with some strong driver line ups, but I feel like this is the best effort that I've been a part of. Mike Shank's cars are always very fast at Daytona and the team does an excellent job preparing the cars. Everyone will be learning the new Continental Tire so hopefully we can do that quickly and get the car set-up to be fast but comfortable through the full stint. You have to have a good pace, but you have to save the car as much as you can so hopefully we can find that balance this weekend and come back at the end of the month ready to go. Thanks to Mike Shank for inviting me and I also want to thank Mike Curb for stepping up to support the team. Hopefully we can get a new Rolex watch this year!"