Tight GRAND-AM field as Michael Shank Racing ready for Monterey

John Pew led the Michael Shank Racing effort on Saturday with a fast lap time of 1:22.651-seconds at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca.

Monterey, Calif. (7 September 2013) – John Pew delivered another strong GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Series qualifying performance as he led the Michael Shank Racing effort on Saturday with a fast lap time of 1:22.651-seconds at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca. Lining up alongside Pew in the sixth row will be Gustavo Yacaman in the No. 6 Tuvacol/AERO Ford-Riley after the Colombian made strides in his first day of running at the legendary track.

Pew, who made his Michael Shank Racing debut in Daytona Prototype competition at the track in 2007, showed the incredible progress the Rolex 24 Champion has made as his time was just over a second off the pole-winning time. Pew and co-driver Ozz Negri enter the weekend with a healthy stride of momentum, having scored three top-fives including a podium in the last three races. Negri led the charts earlier in the compactly scheduled day before Pew took over the controls for the 15-minute qualifying session.

#60 Michael Shank Racing Ford / Riley: John Pew, Oswaldo Negri Jr
#60 Michael Shank Racing Ford / Riley: John Pew, Oswaldo Negri Jr

Photo by: Jeff Davidson

“We had a good car all the way through practice and in qualifying it was a good car,” said Pew. “The temperatures dropped quite a bit, so the balance changed and I was adjusting to that. Overall I’m really happy, we were pretty close in lap times to the people in front of us, so I think we have a really good car for the race. The guys did an awesome job. It’s been right near the top so far all day. I think we have a chance to podium again. It will be interesting with the championship going on, so obviously we don’t want to mess with the championship, but we want to win, so we’ll do our best to do that.”

While Pew was happy with his progress on the day, young Yacaman was less than happy with how his first day of running on the track played out as he looks to make a move forward in the race. With the youngster having started the last race from the front row and leading nearly 50 laps, he is anxious to deliver the same kind of performance as he prepares to co-drive with IndyCar racer Justin Wilson once again.

“John (Pew) did a really good lap," said Yacaman. "It’s one of those places where John really does well and it just clicks for him. The No. 6 car is not terrible, there’s just no speed out of it. There’s no major issue. There’s not oversteer or understeer, it’s just not quick period. But we’ll fix it and hopefully move forward.”

While the Kansas race didn’t play out as hoped, Yacaman and Wilson will look to carry that positive momentum from their performance into the race at Laguna Seca on Sunday. Similarly, Negri and Pew will look to repeat a strong result this weekend after their podium finish of third at Kansas.

“It’ll be a long race tomorrow,” said team owner Mike Shank. “I think we’ll be fine. We’ll move forward for sure. John did a great job. It’s one of the fastest he’s been here ever. I feel okay actually, I think we’ll be okay, we just need to work on it a little bit.”

The race will be the only on-track action of the day for the team on Sunday as Michael Shank Racing returns to the track where Negri scored the pole in 2005 and Pew made his GRAND-AM debut with the team in 2007.

Michael Shank Racing

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About this article
Series GRANDAM
Article type Qualifying reports
Tags daytona prototype, ford, john pew, laguna seca, mazda raceway, michael shank racing, monterey, ozz negri