Birmingham: Michael Shank Racing preview

Michael Shank Racing working late nights The little team that can fights through major setback to get their Doran repaired and ready to race (6 October 04)-- Don't be surprised if the Michael Shank Racing crew looks a little tired this weekend...

Michael Shank Racing working late nights

The little team that can fights through major setback to get their Doran repaired and ready to race

(6 October 04)-- Don't be surprised if the Michael Shank Racing crew looks a little tired this weekend at Barber Motorsports Park-they are.

After a serious accident during last weekend's VIR 400 caused significant damage to their Lexus-powered Doran, the team has had little time for sleep in an all-out effort to repair the car and prepare for this weekends race.

The car was packed into the transporter and left Virginia International Raceway last Sunday immediately after the race, and the team drove through the night to the Doran factory in Cincinnati, Ohio, arriving at six in the morning on Monday. No rest for the weary, the team immediately began to make repairs to the car, tearing the Doran JE-4 to its bare chassis to remove damaged sections as replacement parts were being fabricated in the Doran shop. By late Wednesday afternoon, the car had been completely repaired and reassembled, ready to be packed back into the transporter for the trip down to Alabama.

"We never slept once we got to Dorans shop, and worked until midnight on Monday, and then worked until midnight again on Tuesday, and will be driving until midnight Wednesday to get down to Barber," said Mike Shank. "We got massive help from Kevin (Doran) and his guys, and all the guys on my team have been here at the shop helping to make this happen as well."

While the accident was a setback for the small team, the experience has left Shank with little doubt that he is racing in the right series.

"I got calls from suppliers, rivals, and people from all over, offering help and support, and its been just amazing," said Shank. "I have never experienced anything like this at all. I think it shows the strength of the Rolex series, and it's been very much appreciated by me and my guys. This paddock is extremely competitive, but its been overwhelming how much support everyone showed us."

The team is hoping for a return to the podium this weekend in a car that Shank describes as being as good as new, although there wasn't enough time for everything.

"We didn't have time to get her repainted, but that's the last thing we were worried about for this weekend..."

Michael Shank Racing was formed in 1989 when Michael Shank first began driving racing cars professionally, taking the award as SCCA-Ohio Valley Region's Novice Driver of the Year. Shank retired from the cockpit in 1997 after moving up the motorsports ladder to focus his efforts on running the team, which quickly found success in the CART Toyota Atlantic Championship, with several race wins leading Shank to be named as Team Owner of the Year twice in four years. MSR has campaigned drivers including Johnny Rutherford Jr., Kenny Wilden, and 2001 and 2002 Indy Racing League champion Sam Hornish, Jr.

MSR is making the transition to the Rolex Series from open-wheel competition for the 2004 season in the Rolex Sports Car Series, campaigning a Lexus-powered Doran JE4.

-msr-

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About this article
Series Grand-Am
Drivers Michael Shank , Johnny Rutherford , Sam Hornis
Teams Michael Shank Racing