Michael Shank Racing Set for Front Row Start at Homestead

#60 Michael Shank Racing with Curb-Agajanian Ford Riley: Oswaldo Negri, John Pew
#60 Michael Shank Racing with Curb-Agajanian Ford Riley: Oswaldo Negri, John Pew

Photo by: Eric Gilbert

Homestead, Fla. (28 April 2012) – Michael Shank Racing with Curb/Agajanian will start Sunday’s Grand Prix of Miami from the outside of the front row with the No. 60 Liveon.com Ford-Riley as the hometown duo of John Pew and Ozz Negri look for a podium in their home race. The qualifying grid for Sunday’s race (1:00 PM ET, SPEED), was set by championship points order after heavy rains came ahead of the scheduled qualifying session.

The position gives Pew his best GRAND-AM start as he opens the event in front of his hometown crowd.

“Starting on the front row is a big advantage for us-- if it is going to be wet, it will be very important from a visibility point of view,” said Pew. “I’m up for the challenge, but if it’s dry, it’s going to be about tire management - you’ve got to not over drive and not go crazy but still push really hard. You’ve got to use your head here and hopefully we are able to be not just quicker, but also have some smart strategy when it comes to how we make the most of the tires tomorrow.”

GRAND-AM held an optional practice session in lieu of qualifying and with similar weather conditions predicted for Sunday, the team opted to run additional laps as the track was doused in rain.

“It was interesting going out in the wet. It’s just a learning curve out there to find out where the puddles are and where the grip is,” added Pew. “It was constantly changing because the rain was adding more and more water to it but fortunately I’ve been doing a lot of karting in the wet so I just kept thinking in my mind – this is just like a shifter kart in the wet. It’s not much difference – just add a little weight to it!”

The team was atop the charts in both sessions on Saturday as the Homestead track was visited by rain with varying intensity through the day after having had two consecutive days of all-dry running.

“We wanted to get John and Ozz out in the rain today to see what we might be up against tomorrow,” said Shank. “It looks very much like we’ll have these kinds of conditions tomorrow so we just wanted to be as prepared as possible. We had a lot of confidence about the progress we had made with the car in the dry, and hopefully that should translate well at race time no matter what the conditions turn out to be. It’s great to be in this kind of position in the points and we want to take full advantage of the track position we’ve got at the start, have some solid stops and have the car and tires in place to fight for it at the finish tomorrow.”