Birmingham: Michael Shank Racing qualifying report

Michael Shank Racing Fastest on Friday and Strong on Saturday (Birmingham, AL) 18 July 2009-Michael Shank Racing got the Porsche 250 presented by Legacy Credit Union off to a quick start on Friday as Michael Valiante topped the timesheets with...

Michael Shank Racing Fastest on Friday and Strong on Saturday

(Birmingham, AL) 18 July 2009-Michael Shank Racing got the Porsche 250 presented by Legacy Credit Union off to a quick start on Friday as Michael Valiante topped the timesheets with his fastest lap of the day in the No. 6 Michael Shank Racing Ford-Riley. The Canadians quickest time, a 1:20.692-seconds flyer, gave Michael Shank Racing a fast start to the weekend at Barber Motorsports Park.

On Saturday, the team continued to show strength as Valiante was once again atop the sheets in the morning practice session, with the sister No. 60 Ford-Riley of Mark Patterson and Oswaldo Negri seventh fastest. Patterson followed that up by setting the quickest time in the Trueman practice session.

After a break for lunch, it was time to set the grid as the track temperature reached nearly 140 degrees. The 15-minute qualifying session saw Patterson suffer a quick spin early on, but he was able to make it back to the pits for a quick nose change before he charged back on track.

As Patterson recovered to set the tenth-fastest time of the session, Pew made his way by the start finish line very late in the session as engineer Erik Peterson let him know that it was his final lap, and urged him to make the most of it.

Pew did exactly that as he piped Patterson for the tenth spot with his quick lap time of 1:22.227-seconds.

"I'm glad I was able to get at least fast one lap in without any traffic," said Pew, who was greatly frustrated after getting held up by the Penske machine on one of his early-session fast laps. "It's fine if cars are looking to slow down and give themselves a gap in traffic, but to do it on the racing line on the last two corners is just not sporting at all. I had no where to go around him, so it ruined what would have been a great lap. Then, I knew I had to go for it on that last lap and I was braking as deep as I have all weekend, and it paid off!"

Despite Patterson's session going off-plan early, he recovered well to score a spot on the sixth row for Sunday's feature race.

"There are some places where it is really hard to get the power down, but it's the same for everybody," said Patterson. "This is a very nice car to drive, and even though I think we can work on a few little things here and there, we should have a very strong car for the race tomorrow."

Michael Shank Racing added to the team's podium tally at the Birmingham-area track in 2008 with the team cars finishing 3rd and 4th, something that will once again be the focus on Sunday.

"We had to come back a little bit from that setback early in the session, but the guys got him right back on his way, and Mark stayed focused and set some good times," said team owner Mike Shank. "John did a great job as well. It was too bad what happened with the traffic slowing him down earlier in the session, but it's a long race and both these cars have been fast again this weekend. We're just keeping our fingers crossed for some luck with the timing if there is a yellow and hopefully we can keep the momentum going in the points."

Sunday's Porsche 250 presented by Legacy Credit Union will take the green flag at 3:00 PM ET, with Speed bringing live coverage.

-credit: msr

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About this article
Series Grand-Am
Drivers Michael Valiante , Oswaldo Negri Jr. , Mark Patterson , Michael Shank
Teams Michael Shank Racing