Sears Point: Michael Shank Racing race report

(Sonoma, CA) 23 August 08 - Michael Shank Racing will look for better fortune next Sunday when the Rolex Sports Car Series travels east to the New Jersey Motorsports Park after getting off to a strong start, but then experiencing a disappointing...

(Sonoma, CA) 23 August 08 - Michael Shank Racing will look for better fortune next Sunday when the Rolex Sports Car Series travels east to the New Jersey Motorsports Park after getting off to a strong start, but then experiencing a disappointing Armed Forces 250 at Infineon Raceway on Saturday.

John Pew started the race from seventh on the grid in the No. 6 Michael Shank Racing Ford-Riley and moved up to sixth after ten laps of racing on the track once known as "Sears Point." The day got even better as Pew moved up to 5th before pitting to turn the machine over to co-driver Ian James. The affable Englishman was looking to convert Pew's strong early pace into a return trip to the podium for the duo, but a piece of track debris put that plan to rest as it cut a cooling line and forced James to the pits for repairs. After the setback, James and Pew swapped places once again for Pew to run the final segments of the race and bring the blue and black machine home in 14th.

"I had no trouble on the first lap, and then just got into a good rhythm," said Pew. "The car was really good in the opening stint and I could keep up with the guys ahead of me no problem. It was too bad about what happened with the overheating because we should have been in the top five, or maybe even better with how strong the car was. But that was just a little bit of bad racing luck so now we'll just move on to New Jersey."

The sister No. 60 of Mark Patterson and Oswaldo Negri also had an encouraging race start after overcoming setbacks during Thursday's practice sessions as Patterson started from ninth and was also fleet at the start before turning the machine over to Negri. However, Negri and Patterson were then required to switch spots once again to insure that Patterson reached the time threshold required to earn championship points for the race outing. Fortunately, the team was able to accomplish the driver change during the races' solitary yellow flag period before Negri then resumed the controls to bring the car home in 12th despite a lack of grip and not being able to fight for positions late in the race thanks to a recalcitrant competitor who was on a different lap and not giving Negri room to make progress.

"That's not a bad salvation after a very hard start to the weekend," said Patterson. "A tough day on Thursday and then an extra forced driver change due to a misunderstanding about the 30 minute rule and then the 77 wouldn't let Ozz by to be able to fight for 11th , not very sporting. But after everything we went through this weekend, we'll take 12th all day long."

"That was John's best stint of the year so it's disappointing not to have those guys finish where they were running, because he did a great job and had no problem keeping a pace with that lead pack at the start," said team owner Mike Shank. "So with the problem we had with the cooling line getting cut and then a tough weekend overall for the 60 car, we're just going to pack up and get out of here and get to work on next weekend. We know we're capable of better results, and that will be our focus next Sunday in New Jersey."

-credit: msr

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