Michael Shank Racing begins 2005 preparations
(6 December 04)-- Michael Shank Racing got their 2005 season started a little early last week, as the team participated in the Grand American Hoosier Tire Introduction Test at Homestead Miami Speedway with new drivers Paul Mears, Jr. and Mike Borkowski at the wheel. The team is working on getting up to speed with their new equipment, the Mears Motor Coach sponsored Pontiac-powered Riley, and the test helped the team learn a lot about the new Hoosier tires, as well as the new car.
"It's really good," said team owner Mike Shank. "We just started with the car. It's a new car, engine, drivers, everything, and at least the beginnings of those times are a 'feeling out' time. It's a totally different package. It's going really well. We were pretty quick out there. It's quite a bit different from the Doran, it does things differently, so we're just trying to learn about those kinds of changes and what it likes and doesn't like. The same for the Pontiac motor versus the Lexus."
The team did well in their rookie Rolex Sports Car Series season, scoring two podium finishes in 2004 with drivers Oswaldo Negri Jr. and Burt Frisselle, and is excited about the 2005 season. Shank announced at the season finale event that he was contesting the 2005 season with Borkowski and Mears, and is working hard to grow the teams race program next season.
"I'm hoping very shortly that I can come out with something for at least Daytona, but hopefully the whole season," Shank said. "Os (Negri) is here a lot, and we'd like to try to utilize him if we can. He did a really good job for us. There's a couple of other guys out there that I would like to try to get in our cars. It's just trying to package the whole thing up so we can get it paid for."
The team has returned to the shop in Columbus, Ohio, and will be working to prepare for the next test at the Test Days at Daytona on January 7-9 next year.
Michael Shank Racing was formed in 1989 when Michael Shank first began driving racing cars professionally, taking the award as SCCA-Ohio Valley Region's Novice Driver of the Year. Shank retired from the cockpit in 1997 after moving up the motorsports ladder to focus his efforts on running the team, which quickly found success in the CART Toyota Atlantic Championship, with several race wins leading Shank to be named as Team Owner of the Year twice in four years. MSR has campaigned drivers including Johnny Rutherford Jr., Kenny Wilden, and 2001 and 2002 Indy Racing League champion Sam Hornish, Jr.