No. 60 Crown Royal XR Michael Shank Racing on Front Row for Rolex 24 At Daytona DAYTONA BEACH, FL (28 January 2010)-Michael Shank Racing will once again start the Rolex 24 At Daytona from the front row after Oswaldo Negri's last-lap qualifying...
No. 60 Crown Royal XR Michael Shank Racing on Front Row for Rolex 24 At Daytona
DAYTONA BEACH, FL (28 January 2010)-Michael Shank Racing will once again start the Rolex 24 At Daytona from the front row after Oswaldo Negri's last-lap qualifying effort netted a quick lap time of 1:41.100 to put the No. 60 Crown Royal XR Ford-Riley on the outside pole for the start of Saturday's season-opening Rolex 24 at Daytona.
The 15-minute qualifying session was a strong outing for the team, as Michael Shank Racing pilot Michael Valiante set a fast time just .010-seconds behind Negri and will line the sister No. 6 Michael Shank Racing entry up third on the grid. The team paced the first two practice sessions of the day, and the qualifying session saw both team entries again right on the pace with the Ford-Riley package.
"I am very proud of my entire Crown Royal XR Michael Shank Racing team today, and so honored to be driving with John Pew for Mike Shank," said Negri, who credited the collaboration between the two-car Daytona Prototype team entries for finding the set-up that came up less than a half a second from the pole position time. "I have to thank them for having the faith in me that they do, and this is the least I can do to pay them back. The tires were just coming in as the session went on so the car was getting better and better. I wish I had just one more lap!"
"I'm really happy-we wanted to get both cars into the top-five, and we did exactly that. I'm happy for Ozz to be up front and Michael will also be right there at the start," said team owner Mike Shank. "The day has gone exactly to plan and this weekend is off to a great start. Michael got a little balked on his last go-around, so he wasn't able to make the most of the lap. But we are very happy to take 2-3 on the grid. It was a great effort from the entire team today, and now we will just focus on our race planning."
After Valiante set the pace earlier in the session, the Canadian held the second spot on the timing sheets until final moments as Negri pipped him at the checkered flag.
"I'm not sure if we were quick enough to go for the pole today, but starting from third is fine-I'll be on the inside for turn one and I prefer that anyway so I think we will be all set for the race," said Valiante. "We only made small changes to improve the car, and still have a few things to work on, but this car is very good. Both these cars are here to help each other go faster, and today was a good example of that. You want to be in a good position at the start of course but its not too important. We started from last place last year, and were in the lead a few hours after the start so we know it's all about what happens in the race. "
Negri will start the 48th running of the Rolex 24 At Daytona before handing the driving duties over to co-drivers John Pew, Mark Wilkins, and Burt Frisselle. Valiante's No. 6 Ford-Riley will be shared by Mark Patterson, AJ Allmendinger, and Brian Frisselle.