Birmingham: Michael Shank Racing preview

Michael Shank Racing Looks to Extend Podium Streak at Barber Motorsports Park COLUMBUS, OH (7 April March 2010)-Michael Shank Racing will return to Rolex Sports Car Series presented by Crown Royal race action this Saturday afternoon as the...

Michael Shank Racing Looks to Extend Podium Streak at Barber Motorsports Park

COLUMBUS, OH (7 April March 2010)-Michael Shank Racing will return to Rolex Sports Car Series presented by Crown Royal race action this Saturday afternoon as the Series stages round three of the 2010 championship at Barber Motorsports Park outside of Birmingham, Alabama.

Despite showing excellent pace once again with both team entries, round two at Homestead Miami Speedway proved to be a frustrating race outing for the team. But with a strong record of results at Barber Motorsports Park and a roster full of drivers with experience at the sharp end of the field at the track, there is good reason for optimism for Michael Shank Racing ahead of Saturday's Porsche 250 (SPEED, 1:30 PM ET).

John Pew and Oswaldo Negri will team in the No. 60 Crown Royal XR Ford-Riley combination, with the No. 6 The Pit Stop at Norris Lake Ford-Riley once again being co-driven by Michael Valiante and Brian Frisselle.

With cars placed 6th (No. 60 Crown Royal XR) and 8th (No. 6 The Pit Stop at Norris Lake) in the team championship standings, the team is hoping to pick up some momentum in the championship standings, as the current rankings don't reflect the pace the Ford-Riley machines have shown through the opening two races of the year.

"We've historically rolled off the trucks with fast cars at Barber, and hopefully we can do that again this weekend," said team owner Mike Shank. "It's going to be a little bit different for us set-up wise because the conditions should be very different from what we've experienced there the last few years. But we are confident about how competitive we can be with both cars this weekend. With two races-- Barber and VIR--this month, we have two good opportunities to bank some points and make up some ground in the championship. We just have to focus on converting our speed into results, and hopefully we'll avoid any of the bad racing luck that hit us at Homestead and Daytona."

The race weekend is part of the IZOD IndyCar event, and as the Rolex Sports Car Series moves from the traditional July timeframe for the Barber event, many are looking forward to a more temperate weekend.

"I enjoy warm weather, but racing there in July is just brutal!" said Pew, who scored a top ten in qualifying at Barber last year despite getting balked early in the session by a slower car. "So this weekend looks like it will be much more comfortable than last year. Maybe because it is so technical, or just because the Michael Shank cars are always so strong here, but I've really enjoyed racing at Barber. Getting my first Rolex podium there was a highlight for me and it was great to come back and do that again last year. Hopefully I can go three for three this weekend with the Crown Royal XR car!"

Pew isn't the only pilot with some stout previous performances at the track. Brian Frisselle qualified third on the grid last year, and qualifying will once again likely prove to be a significant factor this weekend, as the 17-turn course can make overtaking a challenge, as witnessed by the closing laps in the 2009 event, which saw Valiante part of a thrilling three-way battle for the win.

-source: msr

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About this article
Series Grand-Am
Drivers Michael Valiante , Oswaldo Negri Jr. , John Pew , Brian Frisselle , Michael Shank
Teams Michael Shank Racing