Allmendinger and Frisselle join Michael Shank Racing for Rolex 24
(Daytona Beach, FL) 4 January 2008-- Michael Shank Racing will turn to some fast and familiar faces as the Columbus-based team has inked Red Bull Racing NASCAR Sprint Cup pilot AJ Allmendinger and Daytona Prototype expert Burt Frisselle to join full-season drivers John Pew and Ian James in the No. 6 Michael Shank Racing Ford-Riley for the 2008 Rolex 24 At Daytona.
"It's great we were able to get AJ and Burt back with us for the 24," said team owner Mike Shank. "There are a million factors that go into a good finish in this race and obviously chemistry with the drivers is a big one. We've seen what AJ does in these cars, and I'm happy to be racing with Burt rather than against him, so we're looking forward to this race big time."
Allmendinger made a fast start in his first Rolex appearance, leading twenty-seven laps on the way to a strong second place finish in 2006. The California native re-joined the squad in 2007 and once again stormed to the front for twenty-seven laps before a motor issue hampered the effort.
"I love this race-the chance to go up against almost everyone in the sport and race for 24 hours, it's just fantastic," said Allmendinger. "Mike (Shank) is a racer to the core and his team is really focused on this event. We came so close to a win in 2006 and I really want to get back on that podium to start this year off on the right foot and with a new watch!"
Allmendinger and Frisselle share a history of competition that stretches back to their Barber Dodge Pro Series days and the two are looking forward to a new chapter together this year.
Frisselle, who scored a podium with Michael Shank Racing in his very first Rolex Sports Car Series start in 2004, has been a frequent pick for the team, having made at least one Rolex start with the squad every season since.
"Mike has a really strong team and it is always good to run with these guys and to get to do so in the 24 is even better," said Frisselle. "It's great to already know the guys on the team and to have a head start with your co-drivers is a big bonus as well. This race requires good teamwork, great attention to detail, and of course some smart driving and I think we have what we need to get a good result."
The 2008 24 will mark the first Rolex 24 in a Daytona Prototype for Pew, who is relishing the chance to get his Trueman Award campaign off to a fast start.
"This team attracts a lot of talent in and out of the car and it's great that AJ and Burt are going to be a part of this effort at the 24," said Pew. "We were really encouraged about how things went with the Pirellis and the new Ford power in testing so I'd say there's some cautious optimism going on here!"
James has worked with a huge list of drivers in his impressive career, and is looking forward to a competitive shot at the 24 this year.
"Mike's put some great guys together for this race and for me to have already raced with AJ and Burt before is a big head start," said James. "John (Pew) was really on it in the Pirelli test and I think we are on the right path with the whole competitive package we have now and I'm anxious to get this season going!"
The team is well-placed for a competitive effort on both sides of the pit war wagon, having already announced the sister Michael Shank Racing No. 60 Ford-Riley entry of Mark Patterson, Oswaldo Negri, Justin Wilson, and Graham Rahal.