Phoenix: Michael Shank Racing preview

Michael Shank Racing looking for redemption in Phoenix (Phoenix, AZ) 10 May 06--After a disappointing conclusion to what was a promising outing at Laguna Seca last weekend, Michael Shank Racing will be looking for redemption this Saturday night...

Michael Shank Racing looking for redemption in Phoenix

(Phoenix, AZ) 10 May 06--After a disappointing conclusion to what was a promising outing at Laguna Seca last weekend, Michael Shank Racing will be looking for redemption this Saturday night in the Gainsco Grand Prix at Phoenix International Raceway for round seven of the 2006 Rolex Sports Car Series.

The team, which was forced from the lead to the back of the pack late in the race by a judgment call from the Rolex officials last weekend, suffered a similar fate at Phoenix last year, as Mike Borkowski and Oswaldo Negri were officiated out of a likely win after leading twenty-nine laps in the 2005 event in the Mears Motor Coach machine.

Michael Shank Racing will sport a two-car entry for the Gainsco Grand Prix, with Negri sharing the Flight Options Lexus-Riley with last weekend's front row starter Mark Patterson, as Borkowski will split the driving duties with Rolex rookie Antoine Bessette, who put in an impressive performance in his first run in Rolex competition last weekend.

"This is a race that we feel like we should have won last year," said team owner Mike Shank. "And to be coming here after what happened last week only makes us more motivated to do well. We have been quick everywhere we've gone this season, and we know we have a good set up for Phoenix, so we should be fast this weekend as well. We are focused on picking up as many points as possible in both races this weekend to keep moving up in the championship with both cars."

The No. 60 Flight Options entry, which moved to fifth in the team championship standings in advance of the Laguna Seca feature race, led late in the race at last weekend, and will be looking to do it at the checker this weekend.

"We have had some very good starts to weekends after being on the podium at Daytona," said Negri. referring to the team being fastest in Mexico City practice, Patterson out-qualifying last years' champions at Homestead, and most recently starting on the front row and leading the race at Laguna. "But we just need the last part of our race weekends to go like they start! We had a great car for Phoenix last year and I just know we are going to be strong again this weekend."

Borkowski, who until recently was a Phoenix resident, echoed Negri's optimism about the pace the team will bring to the night race event.

"This was one that got away from us last year," said Borkowski. "But that was last year, so we just have to go into this weekend looking to make the most of the opportunity we have this weekend with two races to get points, and I am sure we will have a fast car."

Another reason for optimism within the squad was the performance of newly signed Bessette, who like Michael Shank Racing, proved himself as a winner in a variety of formula car series including Toyota Atlantics, before moving up to race in Rolex. His run at Laguna showed he had no problem stepping up to the high-horsepower Lexus powerplant, and kept his cool in the highly competitive category.

"We were already impressed with Antoine in testing, but once the race started, he just got better and better," said Shank. "His times were good, and so was his judgment. He did a great job in traffic, timing his passes and making good decisions, and at the end of the day, turned the car over to Mike (Borkowski) without a scratch, and in a good position, so we are looking forward to having him run with us again this weekend in Phoenix."

-msr

Be part of something big

Write a comment
Show comments
About this article
Series Grand-Am
Drivers Mike Borkowski , Oswaldo Negri Jr. , Antoine Bessette , Mark Patterson , Michael Shank
Teams Michael Shank Racing