Pataskala, Ohio (30 October 2012) – The 2012 GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Series season may have only just ended, but defending Rolex 24 Champions Michael Shank Racing is already full-speed ahead for 2013.

# 60 Michael Shank Racing With Curb-Agajanian Ford Riley: Oswaldo Negri and young drivers
# 60 Michael Shank Racing With Curb-Agajanian Ford Riley: Oswaldo Negri and young drivers

Photo by: Jackie Buys

The Ohio-based team was back in action over the weekend with driver Ozz Negri as the group took part in pre-season testing at Kansas Speedway.

GRAND-AM will travel to three new venues in 2013 and will debut on the 2.37-mile Kansas Speedway “roval” in August. The road course/oval layout features a six-turn design, which takes cars down the front straight before turning left into the infield before a hairpin turn brings them back to Turn 2, where they merge back on the speedway portion and head down the backstretch toward Turns 3 and 4.

Negri topped the speed charts in the No. 60 Ford-Riley in five of the six practice sessions held over the two-day test as cool weather welcomed the team to the Kansas City circuit.

“The test was a pretty good indication of how it’s going to be when we race there,” said Negri of the new road course. “We weren’t treating it like it was a test, we were going for it. This is definitely the quickest oval section of a course I've experienced in GRAND-AM – even quicker than Daytona. It's also probably the toughest braking zones we've seen. It's all going to make for some very interesting racing. But Kansas Speedway is a fantastic facility. It has good grip, it’s smooth, and the oval section is great fun. The Continental Tires were absolutely fantastic – consistent and great to drive on!”

The Kansas test also saw two young up-and-coming racers take some laps in the No. 60 Ford-Riley. Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge driver Shelby Blackstock as well as SCCA Runoffs Sports 2000 Championship winner Corey Fergus each took turns in the Daytona Prototype machine.

“I just wanted to give a couple young guys a chance and they both did great,” said team owner Mike Shank. “Shelby did a really good job and Corey got his first laps in a Daytona Prototype and also did a very good job. I was happy to get some young guys in our car, and hopefully we’re able to do more in the future.”

Michael Shank Racing will now head back to their Pataskala, Ohio-based shop and review what the team learned at Kansas as well as prepare for the next GRAND-AM test coming up November 12-14 at Daytona International Speedway.

Source: Michael Shank Racing