January 3, 2009

Valiante Quickest in "Roar Before the Rolex 24" Opening Day

Valiante fastest driver in three practice sessions Saturday; Sunday's testing starts at 9 a.m.

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (Jan. 3, 2009) - Michael Valiante ran the fastest lap of the day in the No. 6 Michael Shank Racing Ford Riley, leading the opening round of the "Roar Before the Rolex 24" at Daytona International Speedway.

Valiante ran a lap of 1:41.760 (125.943 mph) to lead the first day of the three-day session in preparation for the 47th running of the Rolex 24 At Daytona Jan. 24-25, the opening round of the 2009 Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series presented by Crown Royal Cask No. 16.

The "Road Before the Rolex 24" continues Sunday with practice for the Rolex Series and Grand-Am KONI Sports Car Challenge from 9 a.m. - 5 p.m. The test concludes Monday, with practice from 9 a.m. - 3:30 p.m. Spectator admission is $10 both days, and includes access to the Sprint FANZONE and Grand-Am garage areas.

"The car is working real well, and the team has been phenomenal," said Valiante, who will be running his first race with Michael Shank Racing, co-driving with AJ Allmendinger, John Pew and Ian James. "The team is working well together in the short amount of time I've been here, and they've made it real easy for me to come in and drive the car. We've been working well since the first test here in October."

A total of 49 cars - 20 Daytona Prototypes and 29 GT - participated in the opening day's testing, with 52 teams filing entries for the event.

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