Daytona International Speedway press release
Day 1 Roar Before The Rolex 24: Allmendinger Ready To Run For Rolex Again With Shank Racing
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla., -- The Roar Before The Rolex 24, the three-day test session for the historic 50th Anniversary of the Rolex 24 At Daytona on Jan. 28-29, kicked off on Friday at Daytona International Speedway.
Between GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Series and Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge, 112 cars are tackling the twists and turns of Daytona’s road course preparing for the Rolex 24 At Daytona Weekend. As the cars hit the track on the first day of the Roar Before The Rolex 24, it was clear that teams are taking this weekend’s test as seriously as any event on their 2012 schedules.
A few teams also announced their driver line-ups for the twice-around-the-clock challenge including Michael Shank Racing, which unveiled their team for the No. 60 Riley-Ford. This year’s race marks Michael Shank Racing’s ninth consecutive running at the Rolex 24 At Daytona.
“I have kind of the original team that I started with kind of back in 2006 with AJ Allmendinger, Justin Wilson, John Pew and Oswald Negri,” said owner Michael Shank. “I’m really glad we were able to put these guys back together.”
“I feel good about the race team,” said Allmendinger. “In the short amount of time that we have had with the new Riley, the car has been really good and I think we just have to keep developing it over the three day test. We’re going to have a really good shot at this thing.
“There’s a reason I always love doing this race – I think it’s the prestige of it and the way it kicks off the season obviously here at Daytona for us Cup guys. When it comes to the Cup side of it and the Penske organization, it’s the best opportunity that I’ve ever had.”
This past month has been a whirlwind for Allmendinger. He signed to drive the No. 22 Shell-Pennzoil Dodge for Penske Racing and participated in the recent World Karting Association Daytona Kartweek.
“It’s been a fun crazy off-season,” said Allmendinger. “Things that I had planned for and other things that I hadn’t planned for that happened to me that are really good. I’m really excited about this year as a whole.”
Spirit of Daytona: The locally-based Spirit of Daytona announced that Antonio Garcia, Richard Westbrook, Oliver Gavin and Jan Magnussen will team up on the No. 90 Chevrolet Corvette Daytona Prototype.
“This is the best lineup I’ve had and I’m happy all of the stars have lined up for the 50th Rolex 24,” said Spirit of Daytona owner/manager Troy Flis.
Saturday fan forums: On Saturday, fans can interact with their favorite Rolex 24 At Daytona drivers and teams during three fan forums: Select TRG Racing drivers from 12-12:15 p.m.
Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates and select drivers at 12:15-12:30 p.m.
Dempsey Racing and 50+/Predator Racing select drivers at 12:30-12:45 p.m.
Tickets for The Roar Before The Rolex 24 are $15 and can be purchased online at www.daytonainternationalspeedway.com or by phone at 1-800-PITSHOP.
Fastest of the day: The No. 10 SunTrust Racing Chevrolet Corvette DP with drivers Max Angelelli, Ricky Taylor and Ryan Briscoe was the fastest in the Rolex Series on the first day of testing with a speed of 126.382 mph turned in the morning session.
Robin Liddell posted the fastest time in the GT class in the morning session with a lap of 1:49:494 (117.048 mph) in the No. 57 Stevenson Motorsports Camaro GT.R , co-driven by Ronnie Bremer and John Edwards.
Tickets for the Rolex 24 At Daytona are on sale, along with the rest of Speedweeks events. To purchase tickets, go online at www.daytonainternationalspeedway.com or by call 1-800-PITSHOP.