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Top tens no consolation for Shank.


The result of the 2008 Rolex 24 at Daytona will show Michael Shank Racing sixth and ninth in the Daytona Prototype results, but the numbers don't do anything to demonstrate the strength of the two-car team's campaign.

Putting the new Roush-Yates Ford powered-Riley XX upgrade to excellent effect, Oswaldo Negri set a new track record in qualifying with the #60 entry, while AJ Allmendinger set a time merely 0.009secs behind the Brazilian to start alongside in an MSR front row sweep but, in a race that plays no favourites and takes no prisoners, the weekend did not reward that early performance.

Establishing a strong presence at the front of the field early on, and never wavering through conditions that went from bad to worse on occasion as the famous green Rolex clicked off the seconds, minutes and hours, the team emerged in a prime position to challenge for victory late in the day - before fate intervened. Only the eventual race-winning Ganassi team led more laps than the two-car MSR assault but, after a series of setbacks, the team was forced to accept a double-top ten race result.

“We're tremendously proud of the qualifying effort we put together, but we were of course looking for more out of the race itself,” team owner Mike Shank admitted, “There just aren't words to describe the disappointment we're experiencing. We showed again that we have what it takes to be there on Sunday morning, with a shot at a win, but our luck just didn't last the whole day today.”

The #60 machine suffered from multiple tyre issues, beginning with Graham Rahal having to do a long slow lap after losing pressure early in his run, but, despite the problems, the entry remained firmly at the sharp end of the field. As the race found its stride on Sunday morning, however, the campaign was further hampered when Justin Wilson was forced into the barriers after a dropping a wheel over a kerb and damaging the suspension.

“I'd been in the car for about two hours and 45 minutes when it happened,” the Briton explained, “I was pushing hard and trying to manage a high water temperature problem when I ran about six inches wide coming out of turn one. I caught a hole, broke the suspension and spun across the grass. Up to that point, the car was in pretty good shape and Mike and the guys did a great job as always. I'm just really disappointed that this cost us a possible podium.”

The damage from the incident was significant and probably would have sidelined most teams, but a rally in the garage to simultaneously repair both the entire nose and radiator sections of the car as well as the rear suspension damage soon saw the Westfield Insurance-backed entry back on track.

“What can I say? This team worked their butts off all during the off-season to be in this situation - ready to fight for a victory on Sunday morning,” Negri sighed, “We did everything we could - starting on pole, being conservative when it was smart to be, adjusting to the conditions, making good pit calls, everything. But that's what makes this race so incredible... You can have that kind of preparation, speed, and team behind you, and we still are looking for more at the end of the day.”

Conversely, the #6 car avoided any significant trouble and emerged as a late contender in the morning hours as Burt Frisselle put in an outstanding stint to trade the lead with Ganassi pilot Juan Montoya. However, as he was preparing to turn the machine over to Ian James, a sickening cloud of white smoke emerged from the rear of the car while at speed on the banking. It signalled a severe mechanical issue and the end of a run for victory, even as Frisselle made a mammoth save to keep the machine from hitting the wall.



Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
Negri/Patterson/Rahal/Wilson - Michael Shank Racing Riley-Ford   [pic credit: Grand-Am media]
Max Angelelli / Jordan Taylor. GRAND-AM Championship Weekend Presented by BMW at Lime Rock Park. 2013 Grand AM Rolex Sports Car Series
Max Angelelli / Jordan Taylor. Continental Tire Sports Car Festival. Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca. 2013 Grand AM Rolex Sports Car Series
Action. VisitFlorida.com Sports Car 250 at Road America. Grand AM Rolex Sports Car Series [Pic credit: Grand AM]
Starworks Motorsport BMW/Riley duo Brendon Hartley and Scott Mayer celebrate their first Grand AM Rolex Sports Car Series victory at Road America [Pic credit: Grand AM]
Max Angelelli and Jordan Taylor drive the #10 Velocity Worldwide Wayne Taylor Racing Corvette Daytona Prototype to victory Saturday, April 6, 2013 in the third race of the GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Series at Barber Motorsports Park in Birmingham, Alabama. (Photo by Brian Cleary for Chevrolet)
Max Angelelli and Jordan Taylor drive the #10 Velocity Worldwide Wayne Taylor Racing Corvette Daytona Prototype (left) to victory Saturday, April 6, 2013 in the third race of the GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Series at Barber Motorsports Park in Birmingham, Alabama. Alex Gurney and Jo Fogarty, drivers of the #99 GAINSCO/Bob Stallings Racing Corvette DP (right) finish in second place. (Photo by Brian Cleary for Chevrolet)
John Edwards and Robin Liddell, drivers of the # 57 Stevenson Motorsports Camaro GT.R., race to victory Saturday, April 6, 2013 in the Grand Touring (GT) class of the GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Series at Barber Motorsports Park in Birmingham, Alabama. (Photo by Brian Cleary for Chevrolet)
Juan Pablo Montoya, Memo Rojas, Scott Pruett and Charlie Kimball, co-drivers of the #01 Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates TELMEX/Target Ford BMW Riley celebrate their win in victory lane at the Rolex 24 at Daytona International Speedway on January 27, 2013 in Daytona Beach, Florida. (Photo by Chris Trotman/Getty Images)
Rolex Series action [Pic credit: Grand-Am]
Alex Popow and Sebastian Bourdais, drivers of the #2 Ford Riley, celebrate in Victory Lane after wininng the Grand-AM Rolex Sports Car Series Inaugural Brickyard Grand Prix at Indianapolis Motor Speedway on July 27, 2012, in Indianapolis, Ind. (Photo Credit: Tyler Barrick/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Alex Popow and Sebastien Bourdais, drivers of the #2 Soloson Ford Riley, celebrate after winning the Grand-AM Rolex Sports Car Series inaugural Brickyard Grand Prix at Indianapolis Motor Speedway on July 27, 2012, in Indianapolis, Ind. (Photo Credit: Tom Pennington/Getty Images for NASCAR)
The winning #60 Michael Shank Racing with Curb-Agajanian Ford Riley car is brought into victory lane after a gruelling 50th anniversary Rolex 24 at Daytona. [Picture Credit: Daytona International Speedway]
Action Express win the Rolex 24 [Pic credit: Grand Am]
Derek Johnston [Pic credit: Grand Am]
Wilkins/Frisselle - AIM Autosport [Pic credit: Grand Am]
Vic Elford, the 2010 Rolex 24 At Daytona Grand Marshal (Photo credit: Motorsports Images and Archives)
The No. 09 Spirit of Daytona Porsche Coyote that will be tested by 2009 Radical European Masters Champion Derek Johnston at Virginia International Raceway

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