Michael Shank Racing Ready For Rolex 24
DAYTONA BEACH, FL (27 January 2011)- AJ Allmendinger lead the Michael Shank Racing charge in qualifying for the Rolex 24 At Daytona on Thursday with a fast lap time of 1:40.469 seconds at Daytona International Speedway. The time, which was just under the previous track record, will see the No. 6 Michael Shank Racing with Curb Records Continental Tire Ford Dallara take the green flag from the fourth row of the 50 car Daytona Prototype and GT Class grid (SPEED, 3:00 PM ET).
Martin Brundle added yet another line in his impressive racing resume as he qualified the No. 23 United Autosports with Michael Shank Racing Ford Riley ninth on the grid, with Ozz Negri scoring 11th in the order with the No. 60 Crown Royal XR Ford-Riley. The top eleven cars were within .8 seconds of the new track-record setting pole time.
"We were hoping to be a little bit stronger here in qualifying but we've got some time yet to keep working on the cars and keep improving," said team owner Mike Shank. "Martin (Brundle) did a great job qualifying, his first time out in a Daytona Prototype qualifying session. It's amazing how close this field is. If you are just a tick off, you are not going to be starting up front and that was just the case with us today. It's not what we wanted, but we didn't come down here to be good on Thursday-it's Sunday that matters so we're just focused on that and focused on having good cars for the distance."
"We just haven't had the grip in the car so far today and qualifying was no different," offered AJ Allmendinger about the top ten position. "We have made some improvements, but we are still haven't got the car exactly where we want it pace-wise. But we've still got more ideas about how to improve and we're going to just keep working at it."
"I'm a little bit frustrated with where we ended up, not just because of the grid position, but also because we've been good all day and the session results really didn't show that," said Negri, who has twice started from the front row including taking pole in 2008. "We just didn't have the right mix for qualifying but we'll keep working on the car. We need to find a good balance and unlock some more speed out of this car. I'm confident in this team to keep focused and working hard, so this is a disappointing result but we will keep pushing for the race."