8th and 10th places on the gird for Michael Shank Racing
Detroit, Mich. (31 May 2013) – Looking to bring the Blue Oval some glory in the home race, Michael Shank Racing will start the GRAND-AM 200 at Belle Isle Park from eighth and 10th on the grid for Saturday’s 2-hour sprint event.
The race marks Round 5 of the 2013 GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Series championship as GRAND-AM returns to the temporary street circuit, which is located just outside downtown on a normally quiet park setting on an island in the Detroit River.
Gustavo Yacaman, who won the 2012 Detroit GP in Indy Lights competition, led the Michael Shank Racing charge with a fast lap time of 1:28.572-seconds around the 2.35-mile course in the No. 6 Ford-Riley that he will share with Antonio Pizzonia.
John Pew qualified the No. 60 Daytona Prototype on the fifth row with a fast lap time of 1:28.774-seconds - just 1.099-seconds off the pole time with the top-10 Daytona Prototypes separated by about one second. Pew will be joined in the No. 60 Ford-Riley machine, which is sporting a new green livery this weekend, by Michael Valiante who has subbed for full-season MSR driver Ozz Negri in the last two events.
“I feel really good about qualifying because we made real progress with the car,” said Pew. “We’re very close to the people in front of us – lap time wise – so the car is really good. I was a little frustrated with some of the slower traffic out there. I had to back off a couple of times and then caught back up with them so I lost probably three good laps. But besides that, I’m really happy with it. The MSR guys did a good job.”
With limited track time on the newly repaved and slightly reconfigured circuit, the Shank squad worked hard throughout the day to prepare both cars for tomorrow’s event which could potentially run under wet conditions if the current forecast holds true.
“I would feel even better if it rains tomorrow for the race. If it rains, I hope it rains hard,” said Yacaman with a smile.
“The times are really close and it’s going to be a totally different game tomorrow,” said team owner Mike Shank. “John (Pew) did a great job again today-just about a second off the pole on a really tough and bumpy track. He made so much progress at this track compared to last year and he made another good improvement for us. We struggled in qualifying with the No. 6 car, and we’re just not sure why yet. So we’ll go back and look at it and come back ready for tomorrow. It could be a whole new game if it gets as wet as predicted.”
Michael Shank Racing