Michael Shank Racing targets encore podium at Road America

Former Indy Lights racer Gustavo Yacaman will team with IZOD IndyCar driver Justin Wilson in Michael Shank Racing’s No. 6 Ford-Riley Tuvacol/AERO DP.

Pataskala, Ohio - Michael Shank Racing pilots Ozz Negri and John Pew scored a third place finish in last year’s Road America race, and the team will be targeting a return to the Road America podium in this weekend’s VISITFLORIDA.com Sports Car 250. With a strong sister entry, Michael Shank Racing has two chances for success this weekend.

Justin Wilson, John Pew and Oswaldo Negri
Justin Wilson, John Pew and Oswaldo Negri

Photo by: Eric Gilbert

Michael Shank Racing also brings two new faces to the fabled road course for the VISITFLORIDA.com Sports Car 250, as former Indy Lights racer Gustavo Yacaman will team with IZOD IndyCar driver Justin Wilson in Michael Shank Racing’s No. 6 Ford-Riley Tuvacol/AERO Daytona Prototype.

The 2013 Road America event marks the first time that Michael Shank Racing has fielded a two-car effort at the track since GRAND-AM returned to Road America in 2011. The team has been strong at the historic facility the past two years with the No. 60 finishing fifth in 2011 and then placing third in last year’s event.

The team will have double the data to work from this year and that, combined with the driver expertise and the team’s previous knowledge of the challenging road course, sees Michael Shank Racing aiming to capitalize with a double podium finish in Saturday’s race.

Negri and Pew both had prior experience at Road America having run the course in their early open-wheel careers in Barber Dodge and Star Mazda, but Gustavo Yacaman who is running his first full season of GRAND-AM this year will take his first laps around the legendary circuit this weekend.

Yacaman has proven to be a quick study on new circuits since moving to Daytona Prototype competition, and will have a strong partner to lean on with Wilson already having three Road America starts under his belt. Wilson climbed the European open wheel ladder on his way to race in Formula 1 before moving Stateside to join the Champ Car ranks in 2004. He competed at Road America while racing in Champ Car in 2004, 2006 & 2007.

“To have this kind of talent available to race for the team is really incredible,” said team owner Mike Shank. “I appreciate what Justin brings to this program and I am looking forward to the second half of the season for the No. 6 car. Gus (Yacaman) has continued to adapt to racing in GRAND-AM and we are excited to have him teamed up with Justin. They both come from that open-wheel background so we hope this will be a very productive pairing.”

Michael Shank Racing press conference: Gustavo Yacaman
Michael Shank Racing press conference: Gustavo Yacaman

Photo by: Eric Gilbert

Wilson has made seven Rolex Series starts with Michael Shank Racing – including five Rolex 24 events. He first raced for the team in 2006 when he combined with Negri, AJ Allmendinger and Mark Patterson for a runner-up result in the Rolex 24 At Daytona. In 2012, he once again joined Negri and Allmendinger as well as John Pew in the No. 60 Ford-Riley for the 50th running of the Rolex 24. The foursome drove to victory and scored a breakthrough win for Michael Shank Racing in the grueling 24-hour endurance race. The same group returned to the Rolex 24 podium this year with a third place finish.

The Road America event will mark Wilson and Yacaman’s second Rolex Series start together this year having teamed up for the Sahlen’s 6 Hours of the Glen in June. The duo finished sixth when a long green flag run upended the team’s fuel strategy as Wilson was forced to pit for a splash of fuel in the waning laps of the race – thwarting the team’s run to a podium finish.

Wilson, who currently drives full time for Dale Coyne Racing in the IZOD IndyCar Series, has finished among the top-10 in each of his Road America Champ Car starts with a best finish of fifth in 2006. He will maintain a busy race schedule for the remainder of the 2013 season as he recently signed with Michael Shank Racing to run the final four Rolex Series events in addition to his IndyCar Series efforts.

“It has been a long time since I had the chance to race at Road America so I’m really excited about the weekend,” said Wilson. “It will be a new challenge for me and Gustavo to take on but the Shank guys really do their homework, so hopefully we can be competitive right from the get-go.”

Michael Shank Racing

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Series GRANDAM
Article type Previews
Tags ford-riley, grandam, michael shank racing, road america, wilson, yacaman