Daytona 24: Ford Racing hour 18 notes

After having each of its four drivers lead for laps at the Rolex Series 24-Hour race at Daytona, the AIM Autosport No. 61 Ford-Riley retired from the race on lap 502 early Sunday morning after issues with the right rear tire caused heavy damage to...

After having each of its four drivers lead for laps at the Rolex Series 24-Hour race at Daytona, the AIM Autosport No. 61 Ford-Riley retired from the race on lap 502 early Sunday morning after issues with the right rear tire caused heavy damage to the car. Despite an upsetting ending to the race, the AIM team looks forward to being competitive and contenders in every race of the 2008 Rolex Series season.

ANDREW RANGER -- 61 -- AIM Autosport

TALK ABOUT YOUR LAST STINT IN THE CAR. "You know what it's too bad for us because the car was very good. AIM Autosport with Ford did a great job the weekend and that was just fantastic. Bad luck like that is bad. I was just coming into the corner before and the banking and the right rear tire explodes and I hit the wall like two times and I broke a lot of things in the car.... but it was not my fault."

IN THE FIRST HALF OF THE RACE, THE TEAM HAD A GREAT RUN AND SEEM TO HAVE THE RIGHT SETUP AND PACKAGE PUT TOGETHER. "The first half was unbelievable, having every driver lead laps here at Daytona, everything was perfect for us. The pit stops were great and the driver changes go smooth. Mark [Wilkins] crashed a little bit in his stint and then that's where the bad luck started. But this was my first time here in Daytona and it was a great experience for myself and AIM Autosport and with Ford was unbelievable. I would very much like to come back."

COLIN BRAUN -- 61 -- AIM Autosport

"I think that the AIM Autosport team did a good job as a whole. I think the first six or seven hours really showed how much effort put into the whole deal and how good our car was. We were really strong and even in the wet we were super strong. I credit a lot of that to the Ford engine that we had. They had Lexus before and they switched to Ford this year and I think that it's definitely helped them and they've got the right package put together now. Having all that certainly makes the car a lot of fun to drive for me and I felt like we had one of the quickest cars out there and we were just pacing ourselves and unfortunately just got caught up in some problems and it just kind of spiraled on from there. It was certainly a lot of fun and driving with Mark and Brian and Andrew was a blast. They are pretty fun guys and they all did a really good job."

IAN WILLIS -- 61 -- Team Principal

A GREAT RUN EARLY IN THE RACE AND THEN IT SEEMS LIKE WHEN ONE THING HAPPENED, THE REST JUST SORT OF FOLLOWED. "Yes, well it's a 24 hour race and we're done and the race isn't done. Last year we were very conservative and worked our way up and were eventually fifth at the end. And that's what it takes to do well at Daytona -- and luck. We had good luck last year. As a rookie team, we probably had our rookie luck and now we're in our sophomore year and we had our share of bad luck. We had a number of issues that put us about 26 laps behind at some point and when the tire let go -- the car is repairable and we could probably get it back out on track in a couple of hours, but when you're that far back and the guys are tired, the potential for further damage, sometimes you just have to cut your losses."

YOU WERE QUICK IN TESTING, PRACTICE AND HERE IN THE RACE. IS THIS A GOOD INDICATION OF THINGS TO COME FROM THE AIM TEAM THIS SEASON? "We're the new Gainsco."

***

Burt Frisselle drove the No. 6 Michael Shank Racing Ford-Riley Daytona Prototype to the front of the field in his overnight stint in the Daytona 24-hour race. Changing track conditions have been ever-present throughout the night hours, but the No. 6 team continues to power through the night and remain a fixture at the top of the scoring tower.

BURT FRISSELLE -- 6 -- Michael Shank Racing -- (Running 1st when he got out of the car around 3 a.m.)

ON TRACK CONDITIONS. "When we come down here and test and practice, we do it in good and perfect conditions and so the track is always going to be different, so you just have to take that into your plan. It's the person who can win the race at the slowest speed who is going to do the best. What we can do is to keep a nice steady pace out there. There is still about 10 hours to go and we're aware of that. I just couldn't be happier. The Pirelli Tires are just phenomenal and the Ford engine is just powering us closer and closer to the finish."

ON LEADING HERE AT DAYTONA. "You know, it's cool. My dad came on the radio and told me, 'You're the overall leader Burt,' and that's just awesome. Because this is our Super Bowl so to lead some laps is getting to be a part of history but what we really want is at the end so hopefully in 10 hours we'll be talking about our race win."

***

The No. 60 Michael Shank Racing Ford-Riley continues its battle through the overnight hours of the 24-hour race at Daytona. Graham Rahal finished one of his racing stints around the halfway point of the race and right before the rain began to fall again. He talks about the changing track conditions and how traffic is affecting his team.

GRAHAM RAHAL -- 60 -- Michael Shank Racing

"It's kind of been a mix between rain and dry. In my first stint there was rain in every different corner. In this stint it only had a little bit of rain after my second pit stop, but now we're starting to see it come down some more."

ON TRAFFIC. "Traffic is still a factor, absolutely, but it's definitely stretching out. You're definitely seeing that there are more gaps and less cars. You're seeing more and more guys having failures and seeing guys peel off. It's a good think if it keeps happening for us, as long as we can stay out there."

-credit: ford racing

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About this article
Series Grand-Am
Drivers Graham Rahal , Burt Frisselle , Michael Shank
Teams Michael Shank Racing