Michael Shank - Ford interview 2008-09-16

This Week in Ford Racing Michael Shank, owner of the No. 6 and No. 60 Ford- Riley Daytona Prototypes, enters this weekend's Grand-Am Rolex Series season finale at Miller Motorsports Park looking for a second consecutive victory. Shank talks...

This Week in Ford Racing

Michael Shank, owner of the No. 6 and No. 60 Ford- Riley Daytona Prototypes, enters this weekend's Grand-Am Rolex Series season finale at Miller Motorsports Park looking for a second consecutive victory. Shank talks about the season and how there is plenty to race for even though the championship is out of reach.

HOW HAS THIS SEASON GONE FOR YOU AND YOUR TEAMS? "We started out the year really strong. We typically run very strong at Daytona. When we get to run multiple pro drivers instead of our pro-am driver setup we always do real well. We went through the summer and had pretty good results; a lot of top- fives and top-10s, a couple of podiums. We've positioned the No. 60 car between third and sixth place the whole summer. Now it sits in fifth place, six points out of third in the championship, which would be pretty remarkable. A pro-am driver combination, like Mark [Patterson] and Oz [Negri Jr.] has never finished in the top five in our series. Never in the history, since 2003. What we've done is we've hired Ryan Dalziel to drive that car this weekend. He's the same guy that won at Laguna and podiumed at VIR pretty much by himself. Hopefully, he'll be able to contribute to the 60. We also won this race in 2006."

WHAT ARE SOME OF THE ADVANTAGES TO RUNNING A PRO-AM TEAM? "There are a couple. There are a few things that the rule makers have done that help us. They give us an extra set of tires for the weekend, so our allotment is increased by one, they give us an extra half-hour on the track, so the semi- pros get an extra half-hour session by themselves so that they can drive around and get comfortable and then lastly, they put a limit of 45 minutes on the first stint of the car, which is a bit of a complicated story on why that's a good thing. There's two or three solid things that the series has done that do help us."

WAS THERE AN ADJUSTMENT PERIOD AT ALL WHEN SWITCHING MANUFACTURERS FOR THIS SEASON? "Yeah, there were a few things early on; I'm talking about October, November and December of last year as we were approaching the three-day test at Daytona. After we got to run the car for the first time, the car had a completely different power delivery to it. So setup changed on it a bit, meaning how the car puts the power down affected it greatly. From an engineering standpoint, the Ford Racing engineers were so much more integrated into our program than anything that we had before. My engineers here had to find a way to utilize that best. They weren't used to having the Ford motorsports guys on our side and that took a little bit to get used to, actually. They became a resource that was great. During the summer, we'd have a Ford Racing engineer in our shop debriefing with my engineers. That was a big benefit to us, ultimately."

DO YOU BELIEVE IN MOMENTUM IN RACING AND CAN IT CARRY OVER FROM ONE SEASON TO THE NEXT? "Yes. I know it works season to season, absolutely. We won the last race two years ago and it helped us roll right into 2007. It's just a great way to end the season on a lot of different fronts. In this particular case, if we win we'll finish third in the championship and we'll win Mark Patterson the Jim Truman award, which is for gentleman drivers. Also, we'll move Ford up into second in the engine manufacturers championship - they're third right now. If you can manage a win in this last one, I think it absolutely helps me in my sales season from dealing with sponsors also."

-credit: ford racing

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About this article
Series Grand-Am
Drivers Ryan Dalziel , Mark Patterson , Michael Shank