Allmendinger and Tracy Join Michael Shank for Rolex 24 DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. -- Team owner Mike Shank announced today that Paul Tracy and A.J. Allmendinger will co-drive the Michael Shank Racing Lexus-Riley with full-season drivers Henri Zogaib and Ian James in the 2007 Rolex 24 At Daytona.
Both drivers have made Rolex Series starts with Michael Shank Racing, but the 2007 Rolex event will mark the first time the two former Champ Car teammates have co-driven together. Tracy stormed to the lead in the early stages of the 2006 event with MSR before driveline issues sidelined the effort, while Allmendinger finished second in the sister MSR entry.
"We're really excited to have Paul and AJ back with us this year," said Shank. "They've both done a great job for us every time they've run with us, and we obviously think that having drivers who have already been teammates is a big asset for a race like the 24. We did well here last year, and if we don't win this year, we are definitely going down fighting."
The 1-2 punch that the AJ/PT combo brings is a potent addition to the to the Columbus-based team.
"I'm honored to have such extraordinary talent driving the #6 car, the initiative will be managed through incredible and creative potential from M.S.R," said Zogaib. "Ian, AJ and Paul have enriched this program with tremendous aspirations and boosted a great sense of confidence for the team to deliver outstanding results. As car owner and driver, I feel remarkably confident that we will be very competitive and with a little bit of luck we should be able to win!"
Allmendinger and Tracy have a long and storied relationship going back to when AJ was just a karting phenom with big dreams and Tracy was the Champ Car star who helped him get his career in open-wheel racing going, and the two are looking to write a new chapter of success in the 24.
"AJ and I know each other really well, and we like the same kind of set-ups so that is going to help the team a lot," said Tracy. "This is a good building block for me for the Champ Car season and I have all the confidence in Mike Shank and his team. Working with (MSR engineer) Dale Wise is always a joy, so I'm looking forward to coming back and taking care of some business."
Allmendinger came tantalizingly close to a win in his first Rolex start last year, and is looking to start his ambitious 2007 off with another run to the podium at Daytona.
"I'm thrilled to be back with Michael Shank Racing," said Allmendinger. "I'm glad to have a Lexus powering me and it's always good to be working with the TRD guys. We came really close to the win last year and even though I am driving a different car, this is a great team and I'm looking to go just one spot better this time around."
The 45th Rolex 24 At Daytona will take the green flag at 1:30 PM EST on January 27th. The race broadcast will open at 1:00 on FOX.