Monterey, Calif. (8 September 2013) - Michael Shank Racing returned to Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca—the site of the team’s first-ever two-car Daytona Prototype entry—and brought home two top-10 finishes in Round 11 of the 2013 GRAND-AM Rolex Series championship on Sunday.
The No. 6 AERO/Tuvacol Ford-Riley of Gustavo Yacaman and Justin Wilson led the team charge with a scrappy run to sixth place, while the No. 60 AERO Ford-Riley of John Pew and Ozz Negri came home a hard fought 10th.
Yacaman opened the race behind the wheel from 11th on the grid and was able to move into the top-10 during the early laps, but couldn’t make more significant upward progress before turning the car over for Wilson to take to the finish.
“The car just wasn’t quick and it wasn’t clear what the problem really was for us this weekend,” said Yacaman. “You know sometimes you get it, and sometimes you don’t. We had a good car in Kansas but really didn’t get where we wanted to this weekend. But that’s racing and we’ll turn the page and look forward to another new track for me when we go to Lime Rock at the end of the month.”
“Everyone just kept plugging away and trying to get everything out of it that we could,” said Wilson. “We had a good middle stint there, it was nice to make up some ground. I was running with the 90 car and the 02. We opted to double stint the tires, and I think it was the right move. But it was just a handful from then on, sliding around all over the place, and I was just hanging on. I’m pleased to get sixth, but we’ll just keep pushing away and see what else we can do.”
Pew was hoping that his strong qualifying performance on Saturday would produce a big result on Sunday, but the track conditions just didn’t match with the team’s chosen set-up come race time.
“I was having a problem with getting the power down and being able to keep the rear underneath us,” said Pew. “It was tough. I was trying to be conservative, but it still became pretty challenging, pretty quickly, so I know it was a handful for Ozz! It wasn’t what we wanted today, but hopefully we can close the year out on a good note at Lime Rock.”
“I moved the bars more this race than you would normally all season long,” said Negri of the in-car adjustments drivers can make to help the car’s handling. “The car just never had grip. It wasn’t really a balance question, just the grip wasn’t there. I had to really make the most of the GT traffic just to even hold my place. It was a lot of work out there today but we were fighting all the way to the end.”
“That was a lot of hard work for that result,” said Shank. “The 6 car guys did a good job and Justin made up a lot of track position through the middle of the race just on pace. But we didn’t get either car really where we needed to. It’s just so incredibly competitive here in GRAND-AM that if you are just a little bit off, you just can’t hope to come home with a result. But we have had some good days at Lime Rock and hopefully that’s how we close out the season later this month.”
Michael Shank Racing