Homestead: Michael Shank Racing Thursday report

Michael Shank Racing second quickest in practice at Homestead (Homestead, FL) 23 March 06--Michael Shank Racing got off to a quick start to the Linder Industrials Grand Prix weekend, setting the second fastest lap of the day in the Flight...

Michael Shank Racing second quickest in practice at Homestead

(Homestead, FL) 23 March 06--Michael Shank Racing got off to a quick start to the Linder Industrials Grand Prix weekend, setting the second fastest lap of the day in the Flight Options Lexus-Riley with a quick time of 1:14.933-seconds on the 2.3-mile infield road course at Homestead Miami Speedway on Thursday.

The result is even more impressive given that the team is working with a new piece of machinery, one that hadn't turned a wheel prior to Thursday's practice sessions as Mark Patterson and Oswaldo Negri look to continue their impressive streak of speed and results this weekend.

"The car is beautiful to drive, simply amazing," said Patterson. "We aren't quite as good as we were in Mexico City yet, but of course we'll be working towards that. This track has very little grip in the heat of the day, but we still have found a pretty good balance with the car. I can't wait for tomorrow."

The lap time was less than two-tenths behind the Ganassi entry, which also boasts the Lexus-Riley combination that Negri believes will be key to a good result this weekend. The Rolex Series once again demonstrated itself to be one of the closest-matched categories in all of motorsports, as the top eleven cars were within one second of the fastest car.

"There are a lot of very fast cars here, but we really have a great package and feel like we have a good shot once again," said Negri. "Michael Shank Racing is always very good at this track, and I feel like we got a solid start to the weekend today. We are glad to be so close to the front, but we of course are here to be in front, so we will keep working at it and improve tomorrow to be in the best position for the race we can be."

The strong laps were a healthy boost of confidence to the Flight Options crew, as the team has worked some long hours to be ready for this race after a practice accident in the Mexico City round forced the team to re-equip for the Homestead event.

"It's just a credit to the guys on the team that we can show up with a car that we haven't even tested with and run the laps that we did today," said team owner Mike Shank. "Mark and Oz are doing a great job, and of course (engineer) Dave Kanning never stops looking for more out of the car, and it showed today. Hopefully we can keep making progress and get another good finish with this car this weekend."

The Linder Industrials Grand Prix of Miami is slated to start at 6:30 PM local time on Saturday, with Speed Channel broadcasting the race starting at 8:00PM.

-msr-

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About this article
Series Grand-Am
Drivers Oswaldo Negri Jr. , Mark Patterson , Michael Shank
Teams Michael Shank Racing