Michael Shank Racing press release
PEW AND NEGRI SET FOR 2012 GRAND-AM CAMPAIGN FOR MICHAEL SHANK RACING
Columbus, Ohio (13 December 2011) – Michael Shank Racing is pleased to announce that Ozz Negri and John Pew will co-drive the No. 60 Michael Shank Racing Ford-Riley for the full 2012 GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Series season, which will open on January 28 with the 50th Anniversary Rolex 24 At Daytona.
The duo mark their third consecutive season together sharing the No. 60 Ford-Riley Daytona Prototype, and have proven to be a stout driver pairing, scoring four podium finishes and nine top-five finishes in two seasons. Pew further distinguished himself by earning top honors in the Pro-Am championship to claim the Jim Trueman Award in both 2010 and 2011 while co-driving with Negri.
“I’m very happy to have John and Ozz back for 2012,” said team owner Mike Shank. “With the new third-generation Daytona Prototype debuting at Daytona, there will be a lot of new information for everyone to take on. To have this kind of consistency with our drivers and engineering staff in place is going to be a tremendous help. Between mountain biking, karting, and constantly studying data, I don’t think that there are two harder working drivers out there. We are all excited about the opportunity we have this season and naturally everyone is focused on starting off on the right foot at Daytona next month.”
The 2011 season was highlighted with a podium finish at Lime Rock Park when Negri and Pew contested for the win in the Memorial Day Classic event, finishing second as Negri extended his streak of taking at least one Rolex Series podium finish every season, stretching back to 2004.
The duo went on to claim five top-five results en route to completing the season sixth in the championship. Michael Shank Racing looks to improve on that effort in 2012 as the GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Series debuts the new third-generation Daytona Prototype.
Michael Shank Racing recently completed a successful test at Daytona International Speedway with both Negri and Pew running through a comprehensive test that focused on developing mechanical grip on the 3.56-mile oval-based road circuit. Pew, who continues to impress with his performance in the Daytona Prototype, posted his quickest lap times ever at the prestigious track.
“I’m really happy to be back with Michael Shank and of course we are all very focused and motivated for the 24,” said Pew, who first joined the team in 2007. “There is a great environment in this team, and working with Ozz is something that makes me a better racer every time out. We are both pushing really hard. Hopefully we can open the year with a big result at Daytona and go on to have a strong run in the championship.”
Negri and Pew, who both reside in South Florida, have spent the off-season continuing their intense training of karting and cycling in preparation for the 2012 championship which kicks off January 26-29 with the 50th running of the Rolex 24 At Daytona.
“This is a very exciting year for GRAND-AM with the new generation Daytona Prototypes, the Triple Crown Endurance championship and of course the first time for us to race at Indianapolis,” said Negri, who competed in the very first GRAND-AM race that featured the Daytona Prototypes in 2003. “I love racing for Mike (Shank), he has a great group in place and everyone is very focused and motivated. John is our secret weapon I think. He had some outstanding qualifying results last season and he’s only gotten faster, as we saw at the last test. We want to be a consistent strong finisher this year and be a stronger factor in the championship. We are all looking forward to getting the new Riley and getting to Daytona!”
Michael Shank Racing will announce the full driver line-up for the team’s ninth outing in the twice around the clock classic during the Roar Before the 24 Test Days.