The little team that can continues to fight Mont-Tremblant, Que-(May 21 04)--Michael Shank Racing (MSR) qualified eighth for Sunday's '6 Hours of Mont-Tremblant' with a fast lap time of 1:30.963-seconds on the 2.65-mile road circuit north of ...
The little team that can continues to fight
Mont-Tremblant, Que-(May 21 04)--Michael Shank Racing (MSR) qualified eighth for Sunday's '6 Hours of Mont-Tremblant' with a fast lap time of 1:30.963-seconds on the 2.65-mile road circuit north of Montreal. The result was a disappointment for the team, as the Lexus-Doran combination has been competitive in testing and in Fridays practice session, where the team was third fastest overall.
Shank, who is campaigning his first season as a Daytona Prototype team owner after years of success in the Toyota Atlantic ranks, is proud of his small team for what they have been able to accomplish thus far against teams with more experience and more money, and knows his team is ready to race on Sunday.
"We are disappointed, but not worried," said Mike Shank. "We just have to go back and figure out where we are losing time compared to everyone, and get ready for the race tomorrow. We know based on what we have been doing the last two days that we have a good car, so we just have to focus on being consistent in the race."
Oswaldo Negri, who was at the helm during the session, was also bewildered by the lack of pace during the brief 15-minute session, but also knows that whats going to matter is the 6 hour event tomorrow.
"We aren't sure why we didn't have the speed that the other guys were able to bring out for qualifying, but the car is still very balanced, and its going to be crucial to be consistent as well as quick tomorrow, so we should be looking good come race time. The team has been fantastic this weekend, and we are going to be depending on them to be strong in the pits, as it will be a very competitive event tomorrow."
The team, which led Lexus' first lead lap in Daytona Prototype competition at the Rolex 24 in Daytona, is also aggressively pursuing team partners in order to secure the funding required to race the full season and has worked hard to make the most of assets the team has to compete with the bigger budget teams.
Based in Columbus, Ohio, MSR was formed in 1989 when Michael Shank first began driving racing cars professionally, taking the award as SCCA-Ohio Valley Region's Novice Driver of the Year. Shank retired from the cockpit in 1997 after moving up the motorsports ladder to focus his efforts on running the team, which quickly found success in the CART Toyota Atlantic Championship, with several race wins leading Shank to be named as Team Owner of the Year twice in four years. MSR has campaigned drivers including Johnny Rutherford Jr., Kenny Wilden, and 2001 and 2002 Indy Racing League champion Sam Hornish, Jr. MSR is making the transition to the Rolex Series from open-wheel competition for the 2004 season in the Rolex Sports Car Series, campaigning a Lexus-powered Doran JE4.