Veteran A.J. Allmendinger will be returning to Meyer Shank Racing as one of the team’s four-driver roster for the 2021 Rolex 24 at Daytona International Speedway scheduled on January 30-31, the season-opening WeatherTech SportsCar Championship event.
Allmendinger, a native from Los Gatos, California, who has competed across a variety of motorsports regions from sports cars to IndyCars and NASCAR, is slated to make his 15th career Rolex 24 at Daytona start next season, all occurring with MSR. He competed with MSR in the 2020 Rolex 24 on January 25-26. Sharing an Acura NSX GT3 Evo with Misha Goikhberg, Trent Hindman and Alvaro Parente, Allmendinger contributed to an eighth-place result in the GTD class, 25th in the overall race.
“More than anything, I am so pumped for [team owner] Mike [Shank] and the team to become a factory Acura DPi team,” Allmendinger said. “No one deserves this more than Mike Shank. His hard work and dedication is paying off and I am happy to be a small part of that.”
Finishing in second place in his Rolex 24 debut in 2006 while contributing to the first podium result for MSR at Daytona, Allmendinger co-drove the No. 60 MSR Riley Mk. XXVI Ford to the 2012 Rolex 24 victory overall along with Oswaldo Negri, John Pew and the late open-wheel competitor Justin Wilson.
“That was probably one of the biggest moments in my career,” Allmendinger noted. “Mike and MSR worked so hard to get that win, and to be a part of such a monumental victory in the team’s career is something that I will always cherish.”
Since his runner-up result in 2006 and his breakthrough victory in 2012, Allmendinger has contributed to a third-place result in 2013 and a second-place result overall in 2018 for MSR during the Rolex 24.
From 2006 to 2013, Allmendinger competed in the Rolex 24 with MSR under the DP class. From 2014 to 2016, he competed under the Prototype class. While he did not participate in the 2017 Rolex 24, he returned in 2018 and competed under the GTD class through this season. By then, he retired as a full-time NASCAR competitor. For 2021, he will be co-driving the No. 60 Acura ARX-05 DPi entry for MSR, which will compete in the DPi class.
Along with competing in this year’s Rolex 24, Allmendinger is a part-time competitor for Kaulig Racing in the NASCAR Xfinity Series, a role he has been in since 2019. He has competed in 14 Xfinity races with Kaulig from 2019-20 and has won two races, the Charlotte Motor Speedway Road Course in September 2019 and at Atlanta Motor Speedway in June 2020. He is also an analyst for IMSA and NASCAR America on NBC.
“I always feel so fortunate and lucky to have the opportunity to drive for my close friend Mike Shank and everyone at the Meyer Shank Racing team for my 15th attempt at the Rolex 24,” Allmendinger added. “I can’t wait to get back to Prototype racing. The DPi machines are very quick and look so fun to drive. I am sure it will take me a few laps to get used to the speed and downforce, but I’ll be surrounded by a great team and I know that I will get up to speed fairly quick. I can’t thank Mike, MSR and Honda HPD for allowed me to drive for them. Time to get another Rolex!”
The team’s full driver lineup for next season will be announced at a later date.