Mid-Ohio: Michael Shank Racing qualifying report

Michael Shank Racing ready for Saturday night (Lexington, OH) 26 August 05-- Michael Shank Racing's home event continued to go well on Friday as the team prepared for Saturday night's Emco Gears Classic at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course for ...

Michael Shank Racing ready for Saturday night

(Lexington, OH) 26 August 05-- Michael Shank Racing's home event continued to go well on Friday as the team prepared for Saturday night's Emco Gears Classic at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course for round ten of the Rolex Sports Car Series.

The morning practice session saw the team continue their strong performance from Thursday's promoter test day, with the two entries both firmly ensconced in the top ten as they worked on race set-ups. The forward team momentum continued in the afternoon session, as the #60 Flight Options Lexus-Riley of Mark Patterson and Oswaldo Negri scored the second-fastest time of the session with a flying 1:20.808-second lap of the 2.258-mile Mid-Ohio circuit.

Not to be outdone by the upstart sister car, the #6 Mears Motor Coach Pontiac-Riley of Paul Mears Jr. and Mike Borkowski were showing good pace as well, scoring the fourth fastest time of the session.

"Things have been going more or less as we have been planning this weekend," said team owner Mike Shank. "We had a small problem with the 60 car and that cost them a little bit of running time this morning, but we got everything sorted and were fast this afternoon with all of our drivers improving every time they got in the car, so I couldn't be happier."

The sprint-racing format of the Rolex races, usually lasting two and three-quarter hours requires a little bit of strategy to go with the speed needed to finish well. The team elected to have Mears and Patterson qualify the cars in order to give Borkowski and Negri a shot at being fresh when they take over the cars midway through the race to power to a strong finish, as this strategy proved useful in the Mears Motor Coach machine's run to the podium earlier this season in California with Mears and Borkowski.

The fifteen-minute qualifying session was halted with just eight minutes elapsed, which prevented both Patterson and Mears from getting the laps they were hoping for, as the cars qualified 13th and 17th respectively.

Despite not scoring plumb spots on the starting grid, there isn't a single member of the Michael Shank Racing squad who doesn't think that both cars have a great shot at a good finish, as the team has been working well, the drivers have been fast, and the cars have been flawless.

"I am so proud of how well Mark has been driving and just to be part of this team is just fantastic," said Negri. "Obviously the session didn't end the way we wanted it to, but we know we will be competitive tomorrow."

2003 Rolex Sports Car Series Championship runner-up Borkowski shared Negri's enthusiasm for race day.

"Everybody has been doing a great job and the team hasn't missed a step going to two cars, so we should be solid for the race tomorrow and Paul has done a great job this weekend," said Borkowski. "He's a very competitive guy and wasn't happy with having the session end early, so he should be raring to go in the race tomorrow, and hopefully I can bring it home for a good finish."

Saturday's race is scheduled to get underway at 5:30 PM EST. The race will be shown on a tape delayed basis on Speed Channel, 12:00 pm ET, Sunday, August 28th.

-msr-

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About this article
Series Grand-Am
Drivers Mike Borkowski , Paul Mears Jr. , Oswaldo Negri Jr. , Mark Patterson , Michael Shank
Teams Michael Shank Racing