Michael Shank Racing takes first Rolex 24 Hours of Daytona crown

Article by Anita Panait, on January 30, 2012

Michael Shank Racing finally won its first victory after nine tries at the 50th season of the Rolex 24 Hours of Daytona. The team’s climax came after NASCAR Sprint Cup driver A.J. Allmendinger and his Ford-Riley took the lead on a restart with 2 hours, 8 minutes left, following a sweeping pass of defending champion Scott Pruett of Ganassi Racing. Allmendinger managed to maintain the lead and outran Ryan Dalziel and his Ford-powered Starworks car.

Pruett’s luck ran out after a gearbox malfunction pushed his BMW-powered car to also-ran status. Michael Shank Racing also bagged the third place with a sterling finish by 19-year-old Felipe Nasr of Brazil. Sharing the ride with Allmendinger, were Ozz Negri and John Pew and Justin Wilson, who set the fastest lap of the race.

Allmendinger took over from Negri in the lead with 2:48 left, and then sped the rest, including three more pit stops. He was almost passed on the banking in turn four with 2:19 left when Allan McNish of Starworks took exception to Allmendinger’s pass and then drift up the track. McNish collided with Allmendinger, but the latter persevered. Shank almost won the podium in 2006 when the team finished second.

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