Mexico City: Oswaldo Negri preview

Negri looking forward to Mexico City return Returning South of the Border brings back Championship memories for Negri (Miami, FL) 28 February 07--With a shelf full of trophies and fond championship memories from his days of racing in Mexico, ...

Negri looking forward to Mexico City return
Returning South of the Border brings back Championship memories for Negri

(Miami, FL) 28 February 07--With a shelf full of trophies and fond championship memories from his days of racing in Mexico, Oswaldo Negri is looking forward to the second round of the 2007 Rolex Sports Car Series season. Negri will team with Mark Patterson in the Michael Shank Racing Lexus-Riley at the 2.5-mile Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez in Mexico City, Mexico, this weekend on a track that Negri has proven lightning quick on.

Beyond a fondness for the country and the people, there is a good reason Negri enjoyed racing in Mexico-he was remarkably successful in his three seasons of racing South of the Border. Negri raced in the Pan-American Indy Lights Championship between 1998 and 2000, taking the championship in 1998 and backing that up with 2nd and 3rd in the championship standings with seven wins and ten podiums.

"It's like coming back home for me to be racing in Mexico," said Negri. "After racing F3 in Europe for several seasons, I raced for Juan Ferrara and Eugenio Derbez in Mexico and it was a great time in my career because we had so much success. Now when we go to Mexico City with Rolex, it is a little bit like coming home for me with all the familiar faces."

Since joining the Rolex Series in 2004, Negri has once again found his competitive stride, taking ten top-ten finishes in 2006 and closing the season out with a dramatic breakthrough win in the 9-Hour Miller Motorsports event. The Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez course is one that Negri feels right at home on, and he showed that last year, even though the race weekend brought mixed fortunes for Negri.

After setting the pace with ease in the opening two practice sessions, Negri ran into problems in the third practice session as a pit lane track marker was knocked by another car into Negri's path in the middle of the circuit's fastest corner, and lodged itself under the nose of the Lexus/Riley, robbing Negri of any ability to steer and sending him into the wall at a high rate of speed.

The accident sent the car back to the shop for repairs and Negri to the medical center, but Negri's excellent fitness and the safety measures designed into the Daytona Prototypes meant that 'Oz' was able to return to action to race the next day. Michael Shank Racing made a quick switch to borrow a competitors car to qualify and race with, but the race didn't bring the results that the early practice sessions promised.

"It was disappointing that the weekend played out the way it did, but we have a new chance this weekend to get a good result," said Negri. "Mark was quite quick here last year and I think we are even stronger as a team than we were last year, so I am really optimistic about the weekend."

Negri opened up the 2007 season with a ninth-place finish in the grueling Rolex 24 At Daytona, and the No. 60 Michael Shank Racing entry is seventh in the points among cars entered for the Mexico City round, something that Negri is well awareof.

"We lost some momentum here last year in the points championship, so that is a big focus for us this weekend," said Negri. "We know we have to make the most of any advantage we can get all season, and this weekend we are looking for a home field advantage!"

-credit: www.negrijr.com

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