Home at Homestead for Negri and Pew as Michael Shank Racing Targets Podium Return
Homestead, Fla. (24 April 2012) – Michael Shank Racing with Curb/Agajanian returns to GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Series competition this weekend for Round 3 of the 2012 championship at Homestead-Miami Speedway – the home track of South Florida residents Ozz Negri and John Pew, drivers of the No. 60 Liveon.com Ford-Riley.
The duo routinely frequent Homestead-Miami Speedway’s karting facility as a part of their intense training programs. In addition to their time spent training, Negri and Pew have been extra busy during the past few weeks taking part in several media and promotional appearances throughout the South Florida market including the Calle Ocho Street Festival – the world’s largest street festival – and the Xtreme Race Fest in Fort Lauderdale as the community ramps up for this weekend’s race festivities.
It has been no less busy at the Michael Shank Racing team headquarters, where the organization recently held an open house for a select group of sponsors, fans, friends, and vendors. The team also announced on Monday its entry in the 2012 Indianapolis 500.
...hopefully luck is on our side this time and we bring home a good result.
As the drivers prepare for their home track race, Michael Shank Racing looks to rebound from the Barber Motorsports Park race weekend, which was bursting with optimism through the opening stages of the race with Pew behind the wheel. Unfortunately, some very questionable decision-making by a competitor saw that effort end in disappointment for the No. 60 squad.
After matching his best qualifying effort of fifth on the Barber grid, Pew had moved up to fourth but was forced off tracking during the beginning stages of the 2.75-hour Barber race and the No. 60 machine fell several laps down before being rescued to return to the track – leaving the team to fight back for an eighth place result.
The team currently sits second in the championship standings and the Michael Shank Racing squad hopes to build momentum with a strong showing at Homestead – a track in which the team has already seen success with podiums in both 2008 & 2009.
Negri, who has scored podium finishes at the track in both the Rolex and Continental Tire series, would like nothing more than to stand atop the podium at his home track.
“We’ve had both good and bad days here at Homestead, but hopefully luck is on our side this time and we bring home a good result,” said Negri. “With all of my family here, it’s extra special and hopefully we’ll have something good to celebrate at the end of the race. We are going to be doing some karting with the guys ahead of the weekend, the perfect way to warm up!”
“I always enjoy coming back to Homestead and having so many family and friends come cheer us on,” echoed Pew, a dedicated family man away from the track. “It is great to have so many familiar faces around supporting us, but our goal this weekend is no different than any other race this year-- we want to qualify well, and keep improving through the weekend and be in a position to fight for a podium at the end. This is a track where you have to be smart with your tires, and we were right on track with that at Barber so hopefully we can have another car that is easy on tires, but still quick.”
GRAND-AM’s last visit to a speedway road course saw Michael Shank Racing double podium with the No. 60 Daytona Prototype crossing the finish line first in the grueling 24-hour Rolex 24 at Daytona endurance classic earlier this year. The group looks for a similar result this weekend in the 2.75-hour sprint race.
“John and Ozz know this place like the back of their hands,” offered team owner Mike Shank. “The Barber race started well, but did not end how we had hoped at all. The good news from the weekend was just how good our car was over the long run, and that is going to be absolutely key again this Sunday. We lost ground in Barber with the points, but we come in this weekend still second in the championship so it’s all the more important for us to unload a fast car, work hard all weekend, and hopefully have a good result to show for it.”