After starting fifth in the Rolex Series 24-hour at Daytona International Speedway, the AIM Autosport team fought its way to the top of the field in the No. 61 Ford-Riley Daytona Prototype. Mark Wilkins qualified and started the race for the team...
After starting fifth in the Rolex Series 24-hour at Daytona International Speedway, the AIM Autosport team fought its way to the top of the field in the No. 61 Ford-Riley Daytona Prototype. Mark Wilkins qualified and started the race for the team with Brian Frisselle taking over for the second stint. With single stints as the plan for the first four hours, Andrew Ranger took over at the three-hour mark and right before the fourth hour, moved up to third place. Colin Braun is expected to be behind the wheel after hour four.
HOUR No. 4 position: 1st
MARK WILKINS -- 61 -- AIM Autosport
THERE SEEMED TO BE A LITTLE BIT OF TRAFFIC AT THE START OF THE RACE WHEN THEY SENT OUT THE GT CLASS WHILE YOU GUYS WERE OUT ON THE TRACK. "I'm not quite sure what happened, but what happened for us is that we went out on rain tires and it was kind of a hit or miss call with the weather today, and then obviously we had to go to dries right away. When we found out that we could do that before the green flag, we elected to do it right away. We figured once the race go going those tires weren't going to last but 10 or 15 laps in these conditions. It was a great call, Ian [Willis] made a great call on that. We've got a fantastic car, Brian [Frisselle] did a great job and the team is doing a great job. We've got a really well-balanced car and Ford power, great gearbox and brakes and it's really an awesome package. We've just got to stay out of trouble and keep pushing."
BRIAN FRISSELLE -- 61 -- AIM Autosport
"The team is working really hard and the car was really good in practice and it's extremely good right now. It's fast and consistent and isn't too hard to drive. Ford gave us a great motor and the team is really excited about this race and I'm excited for our chances."
ON SEEING THE NO. 61 AT THE TOP OF THE SCORING TOWER. "Well they told me that you're now P1, and it's great! I think this team deserves it, they work as hard as anyone in this paddock and I'm just really happy that things are going well so far."
Michael Shank Racing started both of its cars on the front row of the Rolex 24-hour race here at Daytona. A.J. Allmendinger started in the No. 6 Ford Riley Daytona Prototype and has helped keep the No. 6 a fixture in the top 10 of the race. After another driver change right around hour four, the team is in 11th, but one would expect to see them back towards the top shortly.
HOUR No. 4 position: 11th
AJ ALLMENDINGER -- 6 -- Michael Shank Racing
ON HIS FIRST STINT. "We took the lead early. We just ran my own pace. Max was pretty quick so I let him go. I can kind got shuffled back on the pit stops and had to restart in the back and fought our way back up to forth as I handed the car off to Ian. Overall, I think we need to find better grip. The track seems really slippery right now. A lot of guys are going off. Overall, I handed the car off without any marks."
ON TRAFFIC. "It's brutal. It's so bad out there right now. It's a struggle just trying to figure out where everybody is going. We were catching the GT cars in groups of like 10 cars. That's something the last couple of years that I don't remember catching groups of cars like that. It's always going to be like that. It's always going to be a struggle. You just got to stay clean and be patient when you have to be."
ON SCHEDULE FOR THE REST OF THE RACE. "The first year that I did it, I was so jazzed about it and excited I never went to sleep. We were running good. I was afraid something was going to happen if I magically feel asleep. I paid the price of that at the end of the race. I learned last year to take it easy and go back to the bus and relax. Maybe not sleep before the next stint but definitely after that get some rest before the 4 a.m. stint."
The Doran Racing Kodak Doran Ford No. 77 qualified 16th but actually started at the rear of the field after changing from rain tires to slicks. Memo Gidley quickly fought his way back up through the field, and led laps 51 and 52 before pitting for four tires, fuel and for Fabrizio Gollin to take over. At that point the team headed to the garage area due to a problem with the rear drivetrain. The hard-working Doran Racing crew made repairs and had Gollin back underway in about a half-hour. Due to that problem at the three-hour mark the Kodak team is in 49th place overall, 11 laps down, but the car is back working well.
HOUR No. 4 position: 50th
MEMO GIDLEY-- 77 -- Doran Racing
"The way the series rules are we had to start behind the GT cars after we changed tires, so it was not ideal for sure. It took a lap or two to get through all the GT cars, but we did. I just tried to go easy on the car and be very consistent, because we want to run all day long. The track conditions are OK, but at the start it was real dirty in the Bus Stop. Traffic is pretty decent though. The car was working great when I was in it; the Doran Racing Kodak team does a great job."
-credit: ford racing