Birmingham: Michale Shank Racing preview

Michael Shank Racing Looks for Championship Traction at Barber (Birmingham, AL) 15 July 08 - After posting yet another strong race performance in the most recent round of Rolex Sports Car Series competition, Michael Shank Racing will look to ...

Michael Shank Racing Looks for Championship Traction at Barber

(Birmingham, AL) 15 July 08 - After posting yet another strong race performance in the most recent round of Rolex Sports Car Series competition, Michael Shank Racing will look to rebound from the disappointing Daytona race outcome with a strong run in the Porsche 250 presented by Bradly Arant for round nine of the Rolex Sports Car Series this weekend at Barber Motorsports Park in Birmingham, Alabama.

The team once again has good reason for optimism ahead of the anticipated high-temperature Alabama event, having posted strong results in the 2007 Barber race with Mark Patterson and Oswaldo Negri teaming up for sixth, as the sister entry of John Pew and Ian James scored seventh.

The team has made excellent use of the conversion for 2008 to Roush-Yates Ford power teamed with the newest-spec Riley chassis, and is looking to push the combination to the maximum once again this weekend.

"We have already moved past what happened at Daytona and are looking to have the luck swing the other direction for us this weekend at Barber," said Team Owner Mike Shank. "We've always been quick at Barber and hopefully we can be even stronger this year. We had some great pit work last year during this race and that can be key with how competitive the Rolex Series is. We've shown some great speed so far this season and just need to have that be matched by some good luck and we can hopefully have both this weekend to get some momentum back in this championship."

The 2.2-mile natural terrain road course offers some of the best spectating of any track in the country, with a nearby motorcycle and auto museum part of the must-see list for race goers. With no significant winters to battle, the pavement is also remarkably smooth.

"Baber has a supremely technical track layout that keeps the driver busy nearly the entire lap," said Patterson, who staged a great duel with Hurly Heywood in the 2007 race and has been busy since Daytona with trips to London and Abu Dhabi. "There is just no place to let up and catch your breath. There are, however, plenty of places to pass under braking so that will be a big consideration for Ozz and me in terms of set-up. It also looks like we could be dealing with some rain in the afternoons, so we will have to keep that in mind as well, but hopefully we can have consistent conditions through the weekend."

The Daytona race weekend moved the No. 6 down to tenth in the championship standings, but the entry is right in the thick of the standings, with a good chance to move up in the second half of the season.

"We had a great race going here early last year before the run-in with the green car, but hopefully we can avoid anything like that this weekend and get a clean run," said Pew. "We've just had some set-backs early in our races the last couple of rounds with people spinning off in front of us or whatever bit of bad luck, but you just have to fight back the next chance you get. Ian drove a great race at Barber last year, and hopefully I can just avoid any kind of problems and stay away from others' mistakes in my stint and make his job easier at the finish."

-credit: msr

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About this article
Series Grand-Am
Drivers Ian James , Oswaldo Negri Jr. , John Pew , Mark Patterson , Michael Shank
Teams Michael Shank Racing