Montreal: Michael Shank Racing preview

Michael Shank Racing Rides Hot Streak North to Montreal (Montreal) 29 July 08 - After scoring the best combined results of the 2008 season in the teams most recent outing, Michael Shank Racing will look to strike while the iron is hot and ...

Michael Shank Racing Rides Hot Streak North to Montreal

(Montreal) 29 July 08 - After scoring the best combined results of the 2008 season in the teams most recent outing, Michael Shank Racing will look to strike while the iron is hot and continue to strengthen its position in the Rolex Sports Car Series Championship standings this Friday in round ten of the 2008 season at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve in Montreal.

John Pew and Ian James broke through for a strong third place finish at Barber Motorsports Park, marking their first Rolex Series podium appearance together. Michael Shank Racing was further boosted by a strong performance from the sister Daytona Prototype of Mark Patterson and Oswaldo Negri, who came home hard on their heels in fourth place.

All four Michael Shank Racing drivers have experience on the 2.79-mile Circuit Gilles Villeneuve in a variety of racing machines. As the Series' makes its sophomore visit to the temporary-use facility, the team is looking forward to keeping the momentum up in the second half of the Rolex Series season on the only track the Series shares with Formula 1.

"We had a tough qualifying stint to start the weekend at Barber, but everyone stuck with it and we came out with a great team result, so we just want to keep this momentum up again this week in Montreal," said team owner Mike Shank, who also campaigned in Atlantics competition on the island-based circuit before joining the Rolex Sports Car Series. "The guys know this track, and we are pretty confident about how we'll have our Ford-Rileys set up at the start of the weekend, so hopefully it will just be a matter of fine tuning them to be in good shape at the end of the race."

For Pew, the wait to get back to action has been a frustrating one as he's eager to get back into the throttle, but he's glad that it's time to suit back up and go racing this Friday afternoon.

"Being on the podium at Barber was really satisfying, especially knowing how hard Mike Shank's guys have been working all this time to get Ian and me up there," said Pew. "But now we're focused on doing well again this weekend in Montreal and while not all my memories of the track are fond ones, I've always managed to be quick there. It's a great combination of mid-speed corners, long straights, and of course the slow hairpin, so as a driver it's really a challenge that you enjoy lap after lap."

The Barber round witnessed multiple inter-squad on-track battles, with both Pew and Patterson going at it hammer and tongs before James and Negri later ran nose to tail, with clean, hard racing being the common theme.

"John (Pew) and I had a great fight going at Barber and it was fantastic to see them up on the podium, but who knows, maybe this weekend we can join them up there," said Patterson. "Montreal is a completely different track than Barber, with some very high-speed, high commitment corners making for a few daunting spots. But like Barber, Montreal has very little grip on offer. (Engineers) Dave Kanning and Jeff Schaffner came up with something great in Alabama set-up wise despite the lack of grip, and hopefully they do so again in Montreal. Barber was a thrilling race, but more so it was really good for us in the points and hopefully we can keep that form up again this weekend."

The race weekend is part of the NASCAR Nationwide Series visit to Montreal, with the first practice session slated for a 12:30 PM start on Thursday, with the grid being set at 1:15 PM on Friday before a 4:15 PM ET race start, which will be broadcast starting at 8:00 PM on Friday.

-credit: msr

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About this article
Series Grand-Am
Drivers Ian James , Gilles Villeneuve , Oswaldo Negri Jr. , John Pew , Mark Patterson , Michael Shank
Teams Michael Shank Racing