(Monterey, CA) 17 May 08 -- Michael Shank Racing added another top ten to the team's tally for the 2008 Rolex Sports Car Series season as John Pew and Ian James combined for a run to tenth place in the Rumbum.com 250 at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca...
(Monterey, CA) 17 May 08 -- Michael Shank Racing added another top ten to the team's tally for the 2008 Rolex Sports Car Series season as John Pew and Ian James combined for a run to tenth place in the Rumbum.com 250 at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca on Saturday in the No. 6 Michael Shank Racing Ford-Riley.
The sister No. 60 Ford-Riley entry of Mark Patterson and Oswaldo Negri enjoyed a strong start to the two-hour and forty-five minute event as Patterson moved up into fourth position before turning the car over to Negri. Unfortunately the race effort suffered a setback when an apparent suspension problem forced the Michael Shank Racing crew to rally for repairs to the machine to take the finish, closing out the day 16th in the Daytona Prototype order.
"We just didn't have the level of performance that we've shown that this team is capable of operating at, so today was disappointing," said team owner Mike Shank. "But we fought back with the 60 car, and John and Ian keep working their way up in the points with top tens like they had today, so we'll put this one in the rear view mirror and get ready for the Glen."
Pew started the race from eleventh on the grid, but soon had his work cut out for him after a turn-one coagulation didn't play out the way he hoped.
"We all went in there and everyone in my line just came to a complete stop," said Pew. "So the whole outside line was gone, right by us, just like that! But at least we didn't make any contact there and I was able to get back into some battles after that. The track was pretty dirty and just kept getting messier all day long, so Ian did a great job to bring home another top ten today."
"The car was very good but our only weakness was the restarts, and unfortunately, we had a lot of them!" said James. "It was good to run up in the top three like we did for a while, but our strategy just didn't play out to keep us up there. But it was another solid day and now we'll look forward to the Glen weekend in June."
"I hate letting these other cars by because we have a great race car here," said Patterson after he rejoined the field, but kept his sportsmanship credentials intact by allowing the lead lap cars to race through after the car rejoined the battle. "The car was great on full tanks and we had a good start going but unfortunately we had that problem, but that's racing."
The team has good reason for optimism ahead of the Watkins Glen Sahlen's Six Hour event, having regularly scored strong finishes at the track and established a remarkable record of long-distance success including fourth in the 2007 Glen 6 as well as the team's 9-Hour triumph at Miller Motorsports Park in 2006.