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Wilson/Allmendinger entry wins Daytona 24h

Justin Wilson and AJ Allmendinger were among the drivers of the victorious #60 Michael Shank Racing with Curb-Agajanian Ford Riley at the Rolex 24 at Daytona.
Michael Shank Racing claimed its maiden victory in the Daytona Prototype class in the 50th anniversary running of the Rolex 24 at Daytona, with IZOD IndyCar Series driver Justin Wilson among the winning driver lineup in his first return to race action in six months.

Wilson had missed the latter races of the 2011 IZOD IndyCar Series season after fracturing vertebrae in a practice accident at Mid Ohio Sports Car Course, and the Daytona 24h marked his first race since he was declared fit to get back to action - and he showed no signs of any cobwebs whatsoever.

An extended night-time stint from Wilson helped put the #60 car out in front, and additional spells behind the wheel for co-drivers Ozz Negri and John Pew set up NASCAR Sprint Cup driver AJ Allmendinger to bring the car home to the chequered flag after 761 laps (2709.16 miles), holding off a late resurgence from the #8 Starworks Motorsport Ford Riley driven by Ryan Daziel in second place that closed to within just 5s of the lead.

"I feel like we deserved it to be honest," said Michael Shank. "I think we've worked hard. I don't make any excuses for that. We paid our dues for sure and I hope it can take us to new cool places in the coming years."

"I feel very fortunate," contributed Allmendinger. "It's such a prestigious race. It's one of those races you want on your resume and you want to say that you were part of a victory. It's amazing. I'm going to cherish this."

"Watching and waiting at the end were the hardest two and a half hours of my life," admitted Negri. "It was awesome when I was in the car, but once I got out, I couldn't take it. I don't know how my wife can do it!"

The #8 had looked strong thanks to impressive long spells behind the wheel by former F1 driver and Le Mans veteran Allan McNish, but went off the track while in the hands of co-driver Lucas Luhr which put it off the lead lap for a spell. After a flurry of late cautions tightened up the field again, McNish clashed with Allmendinger two hours from the end of the race, with the two making heavy white-knuckle contact while battling side-by-side on the banked high-speed superspeedway section of the course, which left McNish fuming over Allmendinger's conduct when he climbed out of the car.

Firestone Indy Lights duo Gustavo Yacaman and Jorge Goncalvez combined with NASCAR's Michael McDowell and teenage British Formula Three champion Felipe Nasr to claim third place for the second Michael Shank Racing with Curb-Agajanian car, with the #6 the final entry running on the lead lap by the end of the 24 hours.

At one point during the night, the two Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates BMW Riley cars threatened to dominate the race despite being somewhat underpowered compared with the Ford teams. But the #02 car driven by Scott Dixon, Dario Franchitti, Jamie McMurray and Juan Pablo Montoya lost four laps when the gear shift lever broke overnight, and it ended up finishing the race in fourth place a lap off the podium trio.




Related Pictures

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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]
Scott Dixon rolls out of pitlane during the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach (Photo by: Chris Owens for IndyCar Media)
Ryan Hunter-Reay celebrates pole position in the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach (Photo by: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)
Ryan Hunter-Reay leads Sebastien Bourdais during the early stages of the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach (Photo by: John Cote for IndyCar Media)
Ryan Hunter-Reay leads James Hinchcliffe during the early stages of the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach (Photo by: John Cote for IndyCar Media)
James Hinchliffe (Photo by: Chris Owens for IndyCar Media)
Ryan Hunter-Reay around the fountain turn during practice at Long Beach (Photo by: Chris Owens for IndyCar Media)
Ryan Hunter-Reay on course during practice at Long Beach (Photo by: Richard Dowdy for IndyCar Media)
Ryan Hunter-Reay on course during practice at Long Beach (Photo by: Chris Owens for IndyCar Media)
Justin Wilson during practice at Long Beach (Photo by: John Cote for IndyCar Media)
Ryan Hunter-Reay on course during practice at Long Beach (Photo by: John Cote for IndyCar Media)
Ryan Hunter-Reay on course during practice at Long Beach (Photo by: John Cote for IndyCar Media)
Ryan Hunter-Reay (Photo by: John Cote for IndyCar Media)
James Hinchcliffe in the hairpin during practice at Long Beach -- Photo by: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media
Justin Wilson in the hairpin during practice at Long Beach -- Photo by: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media
Will Power, driver of the #12 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet IndyCar V6, celebrates his victory Sunday, March 30, 2014 during the Grand Prix of St. Petersburg in St. Petersburg, Florida. Helio Castroneves, driver of the #3 Hitachi Team Penske Chevrolet IndyCar V6 finished third. (Photo by LAT/ Michael L. Levitt for Chevy Racing)
Ryan Hunter-Reay, Will Power and Helio astroneves celebrate on the podium. (Photo by: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)
Ryan Hunter-Reay, Will Power and Helio astroneves celebrate on the podium. (Photo by: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)

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Davis Chaste - Unregistered

January 30, 2012 4:32 AM

The lead Starworks car that finished second had 2 gentleman drivers. It set the pole (dalziel) and the fastest lap (mcnish). If it was an all pro lineup it would have won. Especially since Mcnish had it in the front for so long. But since the gentleman drivers are the ones who paid the (high) fee for McNish to be brought in, we can't really speculate how the car would have done without them, since they came with the package.



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