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Both Ganassi teams will be looking to rebound from disappointing races at Daytona. The cars finished fourth and sixth after dealing with mechanical issues in 2012.

Allmendinger took the checkered flag a year ago for Michael Shank Racing. He qualified sixth Thursday, two spots ahead of teammate Michael Valiante.

“It’s all good,” Shank said. “The cars are ready, we’re good for the race and I’m pretty happy so far. … We have a good start to the weekend. It’s where we qualified last year when we won the race, so we’re good.”

Grand-Am officials made a few tweaks in hopes of leveling the field. Those included a little more horsepower for the BMW engines, which help Pruett get that record-tying trip to Victory Lane.

But he knows it won’t be easy _ not against such a competitive and talented field.

“Short of contact, we can run these cars hard,” Pruett said. “We’ve shown over the last three years, when they drop the green flag, we can run a very aggressive, sprint pace. The only thing we need to be careful of is not getting caught up in traffic of somebody else’s mistake, and we do. Over the years, the car’s been developed enough with the gear box, the brakes, the engines and so on, where they’re meant to go thousands of miles.

“I think it’s going to be an epic race. Coming down to the checkered flag, it’s truly going to be epic.”