A.J. ALLMENDINGER of CA isn’t known for being tall, but he makes up for it with confidently fast driving. Saturday morning he turned the top overall race lap in Day Two of the Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series Daytona Tests. AJ’s lap in No.6 Michael Shank Racing with Curb/Agajanian Ford Dallara Daytona Prototype was 1:40.661/127.318 mph – the fastest all weekend, overall and in class. The diminutive driver is dwarfed by his two teasing tall co-drivers, JUSTIN WILSON of England who is 6’7″ and MICHAEL McDOWELL of AZ at 6’2″.
The two tall dudes delight in teasing AJ about the fun it is changing drivers and how AJ deals with it. Allmendinger was fitted Friday with a special seat insert by MATT RAY of BSCI, a NC company specializing in custom driver comfort and safety items. AJ still wishes the gas pedal was closer, leading Wilson to suggest he install a booster seat and wooden blocks on the pedals, a la the types Wilson puts on his young children’s trike pedals.
ANDY LALLY of NY was the fastest GT car in No.67 TRG Porsche GT, turning a 1:50.303/116.189 mph. He is one of five drivers in the car, the others beingSTEVEN BERTHEAU, BRENDAN GAUGHAN, WOLF HENZLER, and SPENCER PUMPELLY. Lally’s time is the second fastest GT time this weekend so far. Height wise, Lally, at 5’9″, is about in the middle of the five. However, driver height isn’t as crucial in a Porsche, because it is production-based and the seats move.
Forty-five of the 46 entered cars were on track. Two cars have effectively withdrawn as they are not on campus. Bullet Racing No.22 Porsche GT listed three drivers, DARRYL O’YOUNG, KEVIN ROUSH, and BRIAN WONG. The other absent car is Magnus Racing/Nadeau Motorsports Porsche GT with no listed drivers. Magnus has another car, No.44 Porsche GT, with MARCO HOLZER, RICHARD LEITZ, JOHN POTTER, and CRAIG STANTON.
Continental Tires will bring seven to eight big rigs loaded with tires for the Rolex 24 Hours of Daytona, along with 42 staff. The tire breakdown for the Rolex Series is 7500 dry and 4500 wets. TRAVIS ROFFLER, Marketing Director of Continental Tires The Americas, said that there will be an additional 1200 tires for the Continental Tire Challenge Series. In addition to being the official/spec (his words) tire for both Grand-Am series, Continental Tires sponsors No.6 Michael Shank Racing with Curb/Agajanian Daytona Prototype team.
The Rolex Series has three more Saturday practice sessions, including dusk and then Night Practice. The Continental Tire Challenge Series has two practice sessions, the last ending mid-afternoon, leaving the track to the endurance cars for the rest of the day.
The weather is warming up to 65 degrees F by noon. The fierce morning wind is slowing down and the day is downright tolerable.