Michael Shank Racing will be back in GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Series action this weekend as the team heads West to scenic Monterey, California for the Continental Tire Sports Car Festival powered by Mazda. Since first racing at the track in formula car competition, Michael Shank Racing has several highlights through the years at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca, having first campaigned as a two-car team at the facility in 2005 as Ozz Negri took pole position in the GRAND-AM debut event.
Michael Shank Racing will return to a two-car Daytona Prototype entry as young drivers Matt Bell (California) and James Davison (Australia) have joined the team for the event to share the No. 23 Ford-Riley combination. Bell hails from nearby Los Altos and has multiple Daytona Prototype starts to his credit as Davison readies for his second-ever DP start as he diversifies on his highly successful single-seater career.
The sister No. 60 Crown Royal Ford-Riley of Ozz Negri and John Pew will look to once again utilize Pew’s pace in qualifying (last three races have netted 7th, 6th, and 5th on grid) as a foundation for a strong race finish. The duo are currently sixth in the Team Championship standings.
Saturday’s 2.75-hour race also marks the return for John Pew to the track where he made his first start with Michael Shank Racing (2007). The event was just his second-ever Daytona Prototype start as he and co-driver Ian James scored seventh at the finish. That same race weekend saw Negri score third with co-driver Mark Patterson.
GRAND-AM has not raced at the track since 2009, making this weekend the first time for the Rolex Series drivers and teams to be running on the 2.2-mile track with the new Continental Tires.
“We are looking forward to getting back to Monterey and to racing at Laguna with a strong two-car effort,” said team owner Mike Shank. “We’ve been working on our test plan to make sure we cover as much ground as we can in the practice sessions to see what the cars need to get the most out of the Continental Tires. It’s exciting for us to have two cars to move that process forward as quickly as possible, and hopefully it will pay off with some championship points and a strong run with both our cars.”
By: michael shank racing