Michael Shank Racing Takes Ninth on Montreal Grid
Montreal, Que. (19 August 2011) – Michael Shank Racing pilot John Pew will start the Montreal 200 (SPEED, 7:00 PM ET) from ninth on the GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Series grid on Saturday after setting a fast lap time of 1:35.370 seconds on the challenging 2.709- mile Circuit Gilles Villenueve on Friday.
Pew will open the two hour sprint race from behind the wheel before turning the controls over to his No. 60 Crown Royal XR Ford-Riley co-driver Ozz Negri to take to the finish. The duo used that strategy to bring home the squad’s fifth top five of the season in the most recent round of GRAND-AM competition, and will look to go even better as the series sets the stage for the penultimate race of the 2011 championship season.
“It was a pretty interesting session because we had all the NASCAR rubber down and that changed the track a lot,” said Pew, who along with Negri participated in the Ford Racing Street Fest on Thursday night. “But we expected that to happen--it’s always just part of trying to figure out Montreal, as the track is different every time out thanks to having all the different series racing this weekend. The session was a lot like qualifying at Watkins Glen--it took a while to come in with all that rubber down. Unfortunately, by the time that happened, we had missed the window on the tires a little bit so we aren’t as close to the front as we had hoped. But we moved up in Watkins Glen and I think this team is capable of doing that again in the race so we’ll just put our heads down and see how things end up tomorrow.”
“John has been our go-to guy in qualifying all year long, but it looks like we were just a little bit off today,” said team owner Mike Shank. “We made some ground up in practice today, but the track kept changing and we just didn’t have the car we needed to be closer to the front. Even though this is a sprint race, there is a lot that can happen in two hours and we just have to focus on sticking to our plan and execute tomorrow.”