Michael Shank Racing with Curb/Agajanian Looking to be Dealt a Better Hand From Lady Luck
Millville, N.J. (8 May 2012) – Looking to create some upward momentum in the championship, Michael Shank Racing with Curb/Agajanian returns to GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Series race action for the Global Barter 250 presented by Susan G. Komen for the Cure and Round 4 of the championship with drivers Ozz Negri and John Pew as the team heads east to New Jersey Motorsports Park.
The remotely-located track could be a good spot for a rebound, as the team already has one victory at the south Jersey facility to its credit.
After opening the 2012 championship with the historic Rolex 24 At Daytona win, the team has been some bad racing luck in rounds two and three. The No. 60 Ford-Riley was knocked out of contention early in the race at Barber Motorsports Park, and the abrupt curtailing of the wet race at Homestead-Miami Speedway didn’t allow the team’s advantageous pit strategy play out. Michael Shank Racing hopes to turn their luck around as the team targets a return to the New Jersey podium on Sunday.
Michael Shank Racing scored a thrilling victory in the inaugural New Jersey event in 2008 when Negri and co-drive Mark Patterson drove the No.60 Ford-Riley to a .459-second win. Negri and Pew look for another strong run at the 2.25-mile road course with a clear goal of returning to the Garden State podium.
“We had one of the best cars – if not the best car- at Homestead and I really think we could have fought for a podium finish if the race had been restarted,” said Negri. “But that is in the past, and we are all working really well together as a team and we know the results will come. John and I have been working very well with Dale (Wise, No. 60 Technical Director) and the car has been outstanding and we just have to keep fighting to have the results that show that. We had a great win here in 2008 and you always have special memories when you return to a track where you have won so I’m looking forward to the weekend.”
Pew, who has delivered great qualifying runs this year including matching his career-best with a fifth place start at Barber, will again look for the quick way around the challenging 14-turn circuit to open the 2.75-hour event before turning the car over to Negri.
“New Jersey can be a busy place for the drivers!” said Pew of the 14-turn track. “This is a place where Michael Shank has traditionally been pretty strong so hopefully we can start the weekend off on the right foot. This isn’t the easiest place to get around GT traffic so that’s going to be another big factor for us, as well as making sure that we’ve got a car that makes the most of the Continental Tires through the full stint. Homestead didn’t turn out the way we were hoping, so at least we didn’t have to wait to long to get another shot at going out and bringing home a good result this weekend.”
Currently fourth in the team championship standings, Michael Shank Racing hopes to gain ground in the championship hunt as the team sits just five points out of the top spot.
“We’ve had podium cars every time out this year, and even though we’ve had decent speed, we’ve just had one or two little things here and there that keep us from getting back on the podium,” said team owner Mike Shank. “But as long as we keep improving the car over the weekend and executing with good pit stops and strategy, the results will come. After getting such a strong start to the year, we are really hungry to make a move here to gain momentum in the championship. Being back at a track where we’ve won before could be a the perfect way to do that.”
Having suffered through extreme heat throughout the prior New Jersey events which had previously been held in July, the team and drivers alike welcome a much more mild forecast of mid-70 degree temperatures predicted for the weekend.