Daytona24: Ford Racing race report

ROUSH YATES ENGINES

JOHN MADDOX - Road Racing Program Manager, Roush Yates Engines

"For the last 24 hours it's been tough. We had one issue; we ended up working on one of our cars for oil check problems. Overall any issues we came across, my guys seemed to handle pretty well. They kept their heads together and they made some great decisions."

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UNITED AUTOSPORTS WITH MICHAEL SHANK RACING - (finished 4th, started 15th)

ZAK BROWN - driver/co-owner No. 23 Johnnie Walker/FXI/UBS Ford Riley

"This is my fourth race at Daytona and my first in a Daytona Prototype and first with United Autosports and Mike Shank. Everyone did a great job; drivers did a great job. I'm very pleased to get a result like this in our first event. Our weekend was pretty flawless, really. The car ran great, the engine was great. The drivers didn't make any mistakes. We didn't make any mistakes in the pits. It's pretty good, just three places short of what we wanted to be, but I can't complain about a top-five finish."

ON BEING THE TOP FINISHING FORD. "Top Ford, that's much better. Martin gave it a good run to be in the top three there at the end, that was pretty exciting."

TALK ABOUT WORKING WITH MICHAEL SHANK RACING. "He's the best. But I knew he would be. I used race against him in the Atlantics, so I've known him for 20 years, so I'm not surprised he gave the effort that he did."

MARTIN SAID YESTERDAY THAT IT WAS 21 YEARS SINCE HE RACED AT DAYTONA. WHAT DO YOU THINK THIS FINISH MEANT TO HIM? "I bet he loved it. I can't wait to see him get out of the car. I think he's probably got the [racing] bug back."

WHAT'S NEXT FOR THE TEAM? "We hope to keep it going but we have some work to do to get the budget to make that happen."

RICHARD DEAN - co-owner United Autosports No. 23 Johnnie Walker/FXI/UBS Ford Riley

"We've been planning and overseeing this effort to come and take on the Daytona 24 Hours in our first attempt with the obvious, huge help Mike Shank and his team. It's been quite a weekend. We've got some experienced drivers but also in their own way rookie drivers to Daytona Prototypes. Mark Patterson is probably the only one who's got any racing experience in these cars. To finish on the lead lap, having never really been off the lead lap; it was a competitive and professional approach. I don't think it gets much closer than that at the end."

WHAT HAPPENED ON THE FINAL LAP? "We were starting fourth and we didn't really have the pace to make a move in the green flag racing stints. Then the safety car came out and Martin had a little opportunity at the first corner. He certainly gave it a go; he wasn't shy in deciding 'Why not?' and he certainly had a go and nearly came off. It was very close."

TALK ABOUT BEING THE TOP FORD OF THE RACE. "We're proud of the team and we're very grateful to Ford; they've given us a strong engine that hasn't missed a beat at all. The support and back up service has been exemplary. You can't do it without a strong motor in the back. We're obviously very appreciative."

WHAT'S NEXT FOR UNITED AUTOSPORTS? "You never know. This has certainly given us some encouragement and it was very much a toe in the water to have a look at Grand-Am, as a team. You can guarantee it won't be our last attempt. I would imagine we will be back next year for the Rolex 24. If we really want to approach that properly, we should probably do a few more DP Grand-AM races between now and then."

MICHAEL SHANK

CAN YOU TALK ABOUT THE RELATIONSHIP WITH UNITED AUTOSPORTS AND MICHAEL SHANK RACING? "This way exceeded my expectations by big percentage points. We just came into this to have fun but be competitive, be in the top 10 and be happy. We nearly pulled off a P2 on that last lap. Brundle just did a phenomenal job on that restart and almost lost it and kept it at the same time. It was a lot of fun; we learned a ton. The team worked great with United Autosports. It was a perfect win-win deal for both of us. It's way beyond what I'd thought we'd pull out of this thing."

YOUR NAME IS NOW ASSOCIATED WITH ANOTHER SUCCESSFUL DAYTONA DP TEAM. "Absolutely, and we hope that we'll have this group and this car the way you see it today at Homestead in March." ON THE WEEKEND. "The best thing is that everybody led laps today, we were 1-2-3 with 15 hours to go. And that's never happened before, so I've got lots of pictures of it. Everyone of them were competitive and that was the most important thing. We just had some rotten luck. Even with the 23 car, we broke a bunch of stuff. Someday, we'll get it together and that's why we do it."

WHAT'S NEXT FOR MICHAEL SHANK RACING? "Homestead. We're going to go win Homestead."

MARK PATTERSON

No. 23 Johnnie Walker/FXI/UBS Ford Riley - "I had a wonderful time in the car. I did four or five stints with the mighty Mark Blundell and Martin Brundle from England, great Formula 1 drivers and Zak Brown who put the team together. It was fantastic fun."

TALK ABOUT BEING THE TOP FINISHING FORD. "There were only four people on the lead lap at the end of the race and we were one of them. It's tough to do."

MARK BLUNDELL

No. 23 Johnnie Walker/FXI/UBS Ford Riley -"We just finished fourth overall in the Daytona 24 Hours. This is my first Daytona 24 and my first Daytona 24 Prototype drive. This is all new to me. It was a great event; I really enjoyed. The team did a tremendous job. The Ford engine was great and didn't miss a beat. We're all happy."

TALK ABOUT BEING A 'ROOKIE' HERE AT DAYTONA. "Yes, rookie, but to finish in the top few cars, we're happy. We came here to say a top six was possible; we finished fourth. That's not bad. I think the average age on the team is about 180 years old, so I think we're going okay."

TALK ABOUT BEING THE TOP FORD INTODAY'S RACE. "It feels tremendous. I think everybody did a tremendous job. We're all excited. At one point, we might have been on the podium, but it didn't happen for us. I think if you looked at where we came from, we didn't even know we were doing this until a few weeks ago. We've turned up and got this results; pretty good. There are some big names and big teams out there. I don't think we've done anything to disrespect ourselves."

MARTIN BRUNDLE

No. 23 Johnnie Walker/FXI/UBS Ford Riley - CAN YOU TALK ABOUT THAT FINAL LAP? "I thought I'd try and have a go around the outside and see how far I could get. I passed some cars. I had nothing to lose, really. It was all crazy; there were six or seven of us all trying to get to one spot. It was a bit dirty and my tires were cold. I thought I'd have a go."

TALK ABOUT WORKING WITH UNITED AUTOSPORTS AND MICHAEL SHANK RACING. "Our car has been incredibly reliable. We've run it into a few things. They patched it up, sent it on its way. We were competitive all the way through and we got increasingly competitive, actually. I'm very satisfied and I hope they are."

LAST NIGHT YOU SAID YOUR LAST RACE AT DAYTONA WAS 21 YEARS AGO; THIS WAS A NICE WAY TO COME BACK. "Yes, but I would have like to have been on the podium. Then if I wasn't disappointed with that, then I shouldn't have been here in the first place."

HOW WAS THE MOTOR FROM LATE LAST NIGHT UNITL THIS AFTERNOON? "The motor never missed a beat."

WHAT WAS THE MOST DIFFICULT THING YOU ENCOUNTERED THIS WEEKEND? "Two things, really. I picked up a really big vibration at the end and I couldn't see the track, basically, the last 45 minutes. The worst thing that happened was in the middle of the night coming through four passing, I hit this huge piece of debris that I couldn't see in the middle of the track, in the NASCAR turn four. It just took the steering wheel out of my hand and the front of the car. That's why we went down a bit. There was no way I could have seen it because I was passing a car. I think it was a tire carcass or something. It was a heck of a bang."

***

KROHN RACING TEAM - (finished 6th, started 15th)

TRACY KROHN - driver/owner No. 76 Krohn Racing Ford Lola

Whenever you finish a 24 hour race you obviously feel relieved and satisfied no matter where you finished, even if you finished last, at least you finished. A lot of people didn't finish. The Ford motor here today was magnificent. We had a few handling problems with the car, but the motor was just amazing for us. We had no problems at all.

"HOW DO YOU FEEL ABOUT THE PERFORMANCE OF YOUR TEAM TODAY? "Those guys did a great job. We didn't have a single issue where we had to go to the garage. All we needed was fuel, tires and brakes and that was it. You can't ask for more than that. I've never done a 24 hour race where we didn't have some incident where you needed to do some work for the flesh. This was the first one. It's unfortunate that we didn't finish better, but the team did great. The team was incredible. The car just wasn't quick enough. That was all there was to it. Motor was good, transmission was good. We just didn't have the right set-up for this track. Everybody else was faster. All the drivers did a great job. Nobody had a misstep. Everyone did great."

NIC JONSSON - No. 76 Krohn Racing Ford Lola

"The Krohn crew did a fantastic job, not just preparing the car but it was a flawless race. We just had scheduled pit stops. There were no problems with the car. Everything ran perfect. That's a testament to the fact we have a fantastic team behind us. Over the course of the season and the variety of tracks Grand-AM visits, the car can collect many points but it's much more at home on the road courses than the superspeedway. The car was just not fast enough. Otherwise, all the drivers did a good job. The crew did a fantastic job. The Ford motor performed excellent. No complaints. We just didn't have the pace in the car. What can I say? It's still good to finish a 24 hour. The result was not what we wanted and that's a little disappointing but, hey, the car is still in one piece. We'll have to try to come back next year and do better."

NICHOLAS MINASSIAN - No. 76 Krohn Racing Ford Lola

"It was an absolute pleasure to work with the Krohn Racing team. I think they are a top team. Every single person that works on this team - from mechanics to tire guys, refueling, engineer, strategist, everybody works well. You've got a good feeling because everybody is happy doing their job. Everybody is doing his job their best. There is nothing to fault. I think we did the race as fast as we could have done, so that is satisfaction somewhere."

ON THE SIXTH PLACE FINISH. "You are always somewhat disappointed because you want to win. I think it is a problem if you don't always want to win. We did as well as we could have done and the strategy was probably one of the best in the world. Regarding pit stops, there was nothing to say. The car was prepared perfectly because we had no problems. We're probably the only one to have no problems."

RICARDO ZONTA - No. 76 Krohn Racing Ford Lola

"It was disappointing to not win this race because we had a great race. The car was very good. The pit stops were very good, as was the race strategy. We had no problems this year like we did in past years at this race and yet we finished sixth place. This is difficult to accept. We just didn't have a strong enough car for the competition today. I want to thank Tracy for inviting me back to race with the Krohn team again. I also want to thank all the mechanics and team members for their excellent and hard work this year at Daytona."

***

No. 6 MICHAEL SHANK RACING - (finished 7th, started 8th)

AJ ALLMENDINGER - No. 6 Michael Shank Racing Ford Dallara

"It wasn't bad. We ended the day better than where we started. It wasn't fast enough but we finished. It was the first year I finished here. I want to thank everybody at Shank, the team guys here, Justin Wilson and [Michael] McDowell, Continental Tires, Curb Records and everybody that gave us a chance, especially Doug Yates. Everybody for making a motor that lasted. We finished and that was the first goal, so now I'm going to have to come back and try to win it again next year."

THIS KICKS OFF YOUR FULL MONTH RUN IN DAYTONA. WHAT ARE YOU LOOKING FORWARD TO THIS YEAR IN NASCAR? "My body hurts, my back aches. I don't feel like I want to sit in another race car again; that's what makes this race so fun. You're here in Daytona and it kicks everything off. If we finished seventh for the [Daytona] 500 like we did here, that would be a great start. I'm looking forward to working with everybody at Richard Petty Motorsports. It was a tough end of the year and a little bit of a tough off-season. Now we're ready to go and we'll see you guys in a couple of weeks."

JUSTIN WILSON - No. 6 Michael Shank Racing Ford Dallara

"It was a tough 24 hours but I'm just really happy we made to the finish. We pulled through the night. I want to thank everyone at Michael Shank Racing for the effort they put in. We were close, just not quite there. Michael [McDowell] and AJ [Allmendinger] both did a fantastic job. We just have to come back next year."

YOU'RE NOT A GRAND-AM SERIES DRIVER, SO WHAT IS IT ABOUT THIS RACE THAT KEEPS BRINGING YOU BACK? "This race is just special. You get to race against all of these great drivers and that's what it's all about. You come here have some fun, try to win a Rolex watch and it's a great time of year."

MICHAEL MCDOWELL - No. 6 Michael Shank Racing Ford Dallara

"It's not what we came here to do, obviously we wanted to win. We were able to contend for that five or six hours ago but had some suspension issues and we had to fix. All and all it was fun. Our team did a great job."

THIS KICKS OFF YOUR RACE SEASON. HOW DO YOU FEEL ABOUT YOUR RACE SEASON AHEAD? "It's a good way to get it started to get your mindset going again. It's obviously tough both mentally and physically and helps get you back on your game a little bit quicker. It's been a good couple of weeks here and we have a couple more. It feels like we're in Daytona for the whole entire month but it's a great place and I'm glad to be here."

HOW DID THE FORD ROUSH YATES ENGINE PERFORM FOR THIS RACE? "It was great. We didn't have any issue in the motor department. We just had some suspension issues. The motor was great all day."

***

No. 60 MICHAEL SHANK RACING - (finished 10th, started 8th)

OSWALDO NEGRI - No. 60 Michael Shank Racing Ford Dallara

"We are always very competitive here in Daytona. I had a lot of expectations about this race and so did the team. I thought we had a great package with the Ford engine and the new chassis engineers gave us a great car. I felt that we could have definitely finished in the top three here. What goes through my mind is just another year without winning the Rolex watch."

WHAT DO YOU NOW UNTIL HOMESTEAD IN MARCH? "First off, get some rest and take off a couple of weeks for recovery. I need to enjoy some time with my family. We've put a lot of time in to this race so I need to recharge my batteries and get ready for Homestead."

JOHN PEW - No. 60 Michael Shank Racing Ford Dallara

"The Rolex 24 it's always worth it. It's like going into a big battle and coming out, maybe not how you want, but it's a process. It's fun. That's the way to do it. The odds of winning this thing are so small. So many things have to come together to do it, but people try and try again and again to do it because of the whole process, the whole battle."

YOU ENJOY THE BATTLE ASPECT? "I do enjoy that battle.

"WHERE ELSE DO YOU BATTLE LIKE THIS? "You do it in business; you do it in other sports. There are other races similar to this, but this one, this 24 hour race requires so much endurance. So many things can go wrong and there are so many factors involved. "

MARC GOOSSENS - No. 60 Michael Shank Racing Ford Dallara

"This race was quite a battle for us. We had our share of bad luck. Whenever we were staying out of trouble we were running a similar pace. We were keeping up with everybody so the package was there, but it's a 24 hour race. We, at one point, were down a few laps and then we had three hours of fog where you had to keep your safety guard up. That didn't help us. The team was good, the engine was good. We just needed to get the whole package together and maybe next time we will have a little more luck on our side."

MICHAEL VALIANTE - No. 60 Michael Shank Racing Ford Dallara

WHEN YOU LOOK AT THIS RACE TOMORROW WHAT DO YOU FOCUS ON? HOW DO YOU FEEL? "Tired, I think we look at things we could have done differently. Some things you can change some things you can't. As drivers we just regroup and get it together for future events."

HOW DID THE FORD ROUSH YATES ENGINES PERFORM HERE TODAY? "We had no issues with the motor all day. It performed great out there. We had a lot of power out there."

MICHAEL SHANK - Team Owner

"I don't even know what to say. These guys had a whole bunch of issues. We kept cars on the lead lap for 80 percent of the laps. It didn't work out today. I thought Martin Brundle had it there at the end. The whole United Autosports team went way beyond our wildest dreams finish wise. I want to thank everybody involved that helped us get to the finish line."

-source: ford racing

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About this article
Series Grand-Am
Drivers Justin Wilson , Mark Blundell , Martin Brundle , Richard Petty , Mark Patterson , Michael Shank , Zak Brown , Nic Jönsson
Teams Krohn Racing , Michael Shank Racing