Curb Racing - MICHAEL SHANK RACING WITH CURB/AGAJANIAN WINS ROLEX 24
January 30th, 2012 - With the world watching, Michael Shank Racing with Curb/Agajanian made history as the team won the 50th Anniversary Rolex 24 At Daytona to open the 2012 GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Series season. John Pew, Ozz Negri, AJ Allmendinger, and Justin Wilson drove the No. 60 LiveOn Ford-Riley to a 5.198-second victory after completing a DP-era record 761 laps at Daytona International Speedway.
Bolstering the storybook victory was the strong finish of the team's sister No. 6 Ford-Riley DPG2 entry, which finished third with Michael McDowell, Felipe Nasr, Jorge Goncalvez, and Gustavo Yacaman fighting back from two laps down to finish less than one minute behind the winning car after 24 hours of racing.
From the huge assembly of previous winning cars and drivers on hand, the biggest crowd in the event's history, the debut of the new Daytona Prototype machines, a huge GT Class field, Sir Jackie Stewart calling the race start, and another Rolex 24 field deep with international talent, the race held high expectations. And with 49 lead changes among 53 drivers, a record race distance covered, and a battle that ran at an unrelenting pace right to the finish, the event fully lived up to those expectations as Michael Shank Racing with Curb/Agajanian won the race for the first time in team history.
"It's just indescribable," said Team Owner Mike Shank about the hugely popular win. "I don't know what to say, I'm just so happy to be here - just thankful for the guys that do all the work for us, that hung in with us for those years and it all paid off today. 50th anniversary - it doesn't happen but once. I always feel like I have to prove myself every step because I came from nothing more or less, and it's because I've had great relationships with people like Ozz and John Pew that have really taken our business to another level."
Ozz Negri qualified the Michael Shank Racing with Curb/Agajanian No. 60 Liveon.com entry sixth on the grid and the Ford-powered Daytona Prototype dominated most of the race running in the top-three throughout the majority of the event. The team led a total of 249 laps with Wilson pacing the field for 92, Allmendinger for 90 and Negri for 67. Allmendinger has led laps in each of his seven Rolex 24 starts with Michael Shank Racing.
McDowell put the No. 6 Michael Shank Racing with Curb/Agajanian entry eighth on the grid and the squad immediately set a strong pace - running in the top-five throughout much of the event. Despite the significant youth of the line-up, all four drivers looked more like veterans, pacing lap after lap with strong times while staying out of trouble through the frantic race start, long night, and endless GT traffic. Falling two laps down after completing the needed brake updates through the running, the team used shrewed strategy from the pit box and great pace from the drivers to be on the lead lap for the closing stages of the race.
Both Michael Shank Racing with Curb/Agajanian cars ran a near perfect race with each entry leading laps and never going behind the wall for repairs as the Shank squad's elaborate preparation for the historic event paid off in a big way. The race was the ninth outing in the fabled Rolex 24 At Daytona for the team, and the huge result was one that left fans, media, and even some of the competition roundly pleased as the team broke through on the biggest stage yet.