Michael Shank Racing Montreal-Bound For Penultimate Rolex Round
Montreal, Que. (17 August 2011) – Just one week after racing to its sixth top-five finish of the season at Watkins Glen, Michael Shank Racing returns to GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Series competition this weekend at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve for the Montreal 200 and the penultimate round of the 2011 GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Series championship.
As was the case at Road America and Watkins Glen, GRAND-AM will once again share the stage with the NASCAR Nationwide Series this weekend at the famed Montreal circuit. The event marks the series’ fifth visit to the 2.709-mile facility with Michael Shank Racing holding a deep history at the track, having also competed on the 15-turn road course in formula car competition throughout the 1990s.
With the back to back race weekends keeping the team in the eastern region, Michael Shank Racing will look to make the most of the sprint (two hour) race format. With John Pew running a long and strong opening stint in the record-setting Watkins Glen round, co-driver Ozz Negri kept turning up the wick as he moved up to finish fifth at the flag. Both drivers have extensive experience in both formula cars and Daytona Prototypes on the Circuit Gilles Villenueve, which is a track that rewards strong braking from the cars, as well as courage from the drivers in the high speed, wall-lined corners.
The team looks to capitalize on the positive finish with another strong showing for the No. 60 Crown Royal XR Ford-Riley in the Montreal 200 with just two rounds of racing left to make a move in the championship standings as Michael Shank Racing sits just 15 points out of the top-three.
Pew and Negri last stood on the podium at Lime Rock Park when the duo scored second at the Memorial Day Classic event. Thirsty for another podium finish, the team hopes to score their first Montreal podium this weekend.
“We are all looking forward to Montreal--it is a great racing city and to be part of such an event is something that is very good for the Rolex Series. It’s getting tighter in the championship and like we saw at Watkins Glen, anything can happen so we’ll just keep our head down and try to make the most of this weekend,” said team owner Mike Shank. “It was great that we were able to rely on John to run the stint that he did at the Glen to give us more options strategy-wise for the race. This is a much longer lap in Montreal, and that could factor into everyones strategy here with the two hour race. A lot can happen at this track and if we can’t get back up on the podium, hopefully we can at least make the most of the weekend points-wise and put ourselves in a position to fight for something at Mid-Ohio.”