Michael Shank Racing 2nd and 10th fastest on Friday at Laguna Seca (Monterey, CA) April 27 --Both Michael Shank Racing entries finished the day at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca in the top ten in practice for Sunday's Road & Track 250, with the ...
Michael Shank Racing 2nd and 10th fastest on Friday at Laguna Seca
(Monterey, CA) April 27 --Both Michael Shank Racing entries finished the day at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca in the top ten in practice for Sunday's Road & Track 250, with the #60 MatlinPatterson Asset Management Lexus-Riley of Oswaldo Negri and Mark Patterson scoring the second fastest time of the day, and the #6 Mears Motor Coach Pontiac-Riley of Mike Borkowski and Kenny Wilden tenth in the order. Wilden is standing in for full-season driver Paul Mears Jr., who was unable to make the race weekend due to conflicting business commitments.
"It was a pretty good day for us overall," said team owner Mike Shank. "We wish Paul Mears were out here this weekend with us, but Kenny has done a good job in the car and is working well with Mike (Borkowski). Mark (Patterson) also did a good job today, and has continued to improve every time he gets in the car, so we are encouraged about the #60 car. Of course, its great to have Oswaldo racing with us this weekend, and I think he reminded everyone in this paddock of just how quick he is, running the second fastest lap of the day with traffic and some older tires."
The tight and twisty Laguna Seca circuit has created a lot of traffic issues for the ultra-quick Daytona Prototypes, as the field boasts the highest number of entries for the Rolex Sports Car Series in a sprint race. The tight confines of the narrow pit lane also have Shank concerned.
"I hope that they do something to make sure that we have enough room on the pit lane-the cars are pretty much stacked up on each other in their pit boxes, and that could become an issue during the race," said Shank.
The #60 Lexus-Riley, which the team has leased for the race weekend, was seventh quickest in the morning practice before turning up the heat in the second session, jumping up the order with a fast lap time of 1:25.683 seconds.
"The car was unbelievable, even though there was a ton of traffic and the tires weren't great, we still got a decent lap time in at the end of the session, so I'm really excited to be back," said Negri with a smile. "Working with Mike (Shank) and his guys always boosts my confidence, and Mark has got up to speed right away. Dave Kanning has also just done a fantastic job engineering the car, so hopefully we can just keep improving for the race on Sunday."
For his part, Patterson was pleased with the job he did in the car, but even more so with the effort that Negri put in.
"That guy is simply tremendous!" said Patterson. "This car is just great with the Lexus-Riley combination and the Mike Shank guys have really done a good job to add a second car for us this weekend without a single hiccup. Traffic is certainly going to be an issue during the race and probably even during qualifying, but as long as our car continues to perform like it has, we shouldn't have anything to worry about."
The #6 car of Borkowski and Wilden also improved during the second session as Wilden got familiar with the car in his first Daytona Prototype start, and Borkowski got familiar with the track.
"I haven't had many laps here, so I am just trying to get as comfortable as I can on the track," said Borkowski. "The traffic is going to be a big issue during the race, but for now, we are just concentrating on improving the balance with the car and trying to get as much grip as possible. I think we have been moving in the right direction so far, and Kenny has done a good job to just jump in the car and be quick like he has, so tomorrow should be better for us."
The U.S. Sports Car Invitational at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca will be shown live May 1st on Speed Channel at 3:00 PM EST.