Negri Fast at Mid-Ohio in Rolex return (Lexington, OH) 29 August 05-- Oswaldo Negri was feeling at home again this weekend as he rejoined Michael Shank Racing at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course for the Emco Gears Classic. Negri has teamed with ...
Negri Fast at Mid-Ohio in Rolex return
(Lexington, OH) 29 August 05-- Oswaldo Negri was feeling at home again this weekend as he rejoined Michael Shank Racing at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course for the Emco Gears Classic. Negri has teamed with Mark Patterson to race four of the five final Rolex Sports Car Series races to close out the 2005 season after having made a big debut in April, taking a record-setting pole in qualifying for the Laguna Seca round.
"Racing with this team is just a pleasure," said Negri. "Everybody works so hard, and pays close attention to the details that matter. I feel like I am spending time with an old friend again, and I just can't describe how much I am enjoying this."
The race weekend started with a promoter test day, which ended with Negri and Patterson near the top of the charts. The first two practice sessions also brought promise as the bright colors of the Flight Options machine were taken to the top of the timing sheets during both sessions, ending just an eyeblink behind the fastest time of the day.
"It feels good to not have raced in so long, and still be able to just show up and take the car right to the top of the timing sheets," smiled Negri. "The other guys have tested here and have been racing all season, so they are right on their game, so to be out of the car for so long but still be able to be fast right away, really makes me feel good."
Negri's teammate Patterson qualified the car 13th, which was a disappointment for the South African after he'd posted times firmly in the top-ten during the practice sessions, but the qualifying session was cut short early and kept him from getting the lap he'd already shown he was capable of.
"I am really proud of Mark this weekend," said Negri. "He's really taking the car and getting the most out of it, and it was a shame that qualifying ended early because he was on a lap that would have definitely put him into the top ten."
Having Negri back at work again with the team was something that a lot of Rolex fans had been looking forward to seeing, and the Brazilian hotshoe showed again why he was selected as the RaceSite.com's "Rising Star" of 2004.
"Oz was unbelievable--it was just an awesome display of talent for him to be putting in those laps like he did," said team owner Mike Shank. "It was like he was just in another zone from all the other drivers. I think his drive today was even better than anything he did last season, just incredible."
Negri and Patterson will race again at Watkins Glen International on September 24.