Ryan Dalziel and Raffa Matos Join Michael Shank Racing MSR looks for another race victory in Miller Finale (Columbus, OH) 5 September 08 - Fresh from a Rolex Sports Car Series race victory in the Supercar Life 250 at New Jersey Motorsports Park...
Ryan Dalziel and Raffa Matos Join Michael Shank Racing
MSR looks for another race victory in Miller Finale
(Columbus, OH) 5 September 08 - Fresh from a Rolex Sports Car Series race victory in the Supercar Life 250 at New Jersey Motorsports Park on Labor Day weekend, Michael Shank Racing will look to return to victory lane once again in the SunRichGourmet.com 1000 at Miller Motorsports Park on September 21 after signing Raffa Matos and Ryan Dalziel to the Columbus, Ohio-based teams two-car Daytona Prototype effort.
The team his high expectations for the Miller race weekend, as Michael Shank Racing won the debut Rolex Series event at Miller Motorsports Park in 2006 when Mark Patterson and Oswaldo Negri showed tremendous speed and stamina to win the nine-hour race as one of only a few teams to employ a two-driver line up. This year will see the Miller season finale run 1000 kilometers, or seven hours.
Both Dalziel and Matos have relationships with the Michael Shank Racing that stretch several years back to well before they made their names in North America.
"We're excited about having Raffa and Ryan race with us at Miller because not only are they fast, but they also understand how to work GT class traffic and how to be patient in the longer distance races," said team owner Mike Shank. "They also both already know almost everyone on the team, so that will also give us a head start in terms of communication and working together. Winning last weekend was obviously a big highlight for everyone on the team, and there's no reason we shouldn't expect to be competitive again out at Miller."
Matos had an impressive start to his 2008 season with a GT Class victory in the Rolex 24 At Daytona. The Brazilian won the 2007 Formula Atlantic Championship and currently holds a three-point advantage in the Firestone Indy Lights championship in the Automatic Fire Sprinklers AGR entry with one round remaining in the season, and is a familiar figure to many within the Michael Shank Racing family.
"I've followed 'Raffa' (Matos) since Divina (Galica) first pointed him out as an unusually talented racer when he moved here to the States with not a penny to his name and all of four words of English to his credit," said Mark Patterson. "Ozz coached him when he first started with Skip Barber, and John (Pew) and I have raced against him, so we're all very excited to have him join us for the Miller event as he is a tremendous talent and a fine young man to boot."
Ryan Dalziel, who made his North American debut with Michael Shank Racing in the Atlantic Series, making the most of what was outdated equipment to score a runner-up finish in his first Atlantics race appearance in 2002. The quick-witted Scotsman is also no stranger to the Rolex Sports Car Series, having stormed to a dramatic race victory at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca in May.
"This is an awesome opportunity and I'm really excited to be driving for Mike Shank again," said Dalziel, who raced in ChampCar in 2007 and has recently been signed to a full season of Superleage Formula competition. "Mike has always run a top-notch organization, and like they showed this weekend, they have cars capable of winning week in and week out, so hopefully we can get them back to the top of the podium again at Miller."
The Daytona Prototype run for Matos will be presaged by a quick test before the team heads West for the endurance run at Miller. The team has traditionally come to the fore in the longer Rolex Series events, and will look to show strength once again to close out the 2008 with the maximum possible points toward the team championship battle.
"I was passed by the Daytona Prototypes all day and all night in the Rolex 24, so now I'm looking forward to being in one with Mike Shank for the race at Miller!" said Matos. "This is going to be a lot of fun, to be with so many friends on this team, and I think that we're going to have a really good opportunity to do well in the race. I'm really focused on winning the Indy Lights championship this weekend in Chicago, but I'm also looking forward to getting the chance to do well in another Rolex race in a few weeks."
The team will announce the final driver line-up in advance of the race kick off.