Pataskala, Ohio (15 August 2012) – Michael Shank Racing with Curb/Agajanian returns to the famous Circuit Gilles Villeneuve with drivers Ozz Negri and John Pew for the Montreal 200 as the team travels north to Montreal for Round 11 of the 13-race GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Series Championship.
The Shank squad will arrive to the Formula 1 facility fresh off of a frustrating Continental Tire 200 at Watkins Glen, where the No. 60 showed strong pace all weekend long and looked poised for a podium finish as Pew and Negri combined to lead the field for nearly 30 laps of the 2-hour sprint race.
Unfortunately those efforts were not rewarded with a return to the Rolex Series podium after a tire issue following the final pit stop of Negri’s anchor-leg stint forced Michael Shank Racing to make an unscheduled pit stop to replace the tire after it lost pressure. The exchange, which had only moments before seen Negri headlong in a fraught and typical Rolex Series tight battle for a podium spot, left the team to settle for a disappointing seventh place result.
“I was able to watch the race on SPEED, and man, what a great race for the fans,” said Negri. “Hopefully we can do that again for the Canadian fans, who are so passionate. Obviously we were all frustrated by how our day ended at the Glen, especially after having run in the lead for so much of the race. But this is a strong team and we’ve been quick and consistent so we just have to keep doing the work, and the results will come."
But with the quick turnaround between events, the Shank squad is ready for redemption this weekend as the team returns to the 2.709-mile Canadian road course. Michael Shank Racing has a history at the facility that stretches back to the 1990's, when team owner Shank scored a Formula Atlantic C2 victory at the circuit as a driver on his way to winning the Championship. Both Pew and Negri have also experienced the track from behind the wheel of formula car machinery in addition to their five years of Daytona Prototype racing at the circuit.
“The biggest thing right now for us is the luck,” smiled Pew. “We’ve had all the right boxes checked--good strategy, really quick cars, and overall really good weekends. But, we’ve just not had that racing luck on our side and it’s really hurt us in the points. But we can only control what we can control, and we’ll just look to execute as a team like we have been all year long--but just see if we might catch a break!”
The race is the second consecutive two-hour sprint event on the Rolex calendar, and will put even more pressure on the engineers as it is also the second straight race to not feature a race-day warm-up session, making the six sessions (including Friday’s grid-setting qualifying session) on Thursday and Friday all the more vital to locking in a good race-day set up.
Having already claimed three podiums this year, Michael Shank Racing hopes to turn its luck around on Saturday and add another podium finish to the list.
“I don’t know what we have to do to get this little cloud of bad luck away from us, but that’s the core goal this weekend--get the result that matches how fast our cars have been,” said team owner Mike Shank. “It’s a quick turnaround between the Glen and Montreal, and that’s a good thing for us to be able to just move on to the next race and focus forward. We know we’ve got everything that we need to execute, and hopefully this will be the weekend to bring it all home.”
Source: Michael Shank Racing