Utah: Michael Shank Racing qualifying report

Ian James Eighth on Miller Grid for Michael Shank Racing; Negri's practice session nets 12th on SunRichGourmet.com Grid for Rolex finale (Tooele, UT) 19 September 2008-Ian James will start the No. 6 Michael Shank Racing Ford Riley from eighth on...

Ian James Eighth on Miller Grid for Michael Shank Racing; Negri's practice session nets 12th on SunRichGourmet.com Grid for Rolex finale

(Tooele, UT) 19 September 2008-Ian James will start the No. 6 Michael Shank Racing Ford Riley from eighth on the grid for Saturday's Rolex Sports Car Series season-finale after setting a fast lap time of 2:37.726 seconds during the fifteen-minute qualifying on Friday at Miller Motorsports Park. James will take the green flag for the seven-hour race before turning the machine over to co-drivers John Pew and Raffa Matos.

Both team entries enter the race weekend with a healthy dose of confidence, with Patterson and Negri having scored a race victory in the most recent round of Rolex competition as Pew and James also had a strong race outing after a challenging race start.

"The car was much better in the high-speed sections of the track, but we were still fighting the understeer in the low and medium-speed corners, so we'll want to improve the car there for tomorrow," said James. "I did the best I could with it, but unfortunately I had to wait too long to get back to power in a few places and that cost us. But it's a very long race, and it's been great having Raffa join John and me this weekend. We're starting in the top ten, and hopefully we can just move up from there once the race gets started tomorrow."

Further boosting hopes for the race are some good Miller memories from Negri and Patterson taking a win together in the first Rolex race at the track in 2006, as their co-driver Ryan Dalziel took second in this race in 2007. But after not getting as quick a start to the race weekend as anticipated, the sister No. 60 of Oswaldo Negri changed focus to use the qualifying session as a tryout for some new set-up options. But the feedback wasn't what was hoped for, and the team will look to develop a new approach for the car set-up in tomorrow's warm-up session after Negri posted the 12th fastest time during qualifying.

"We knew going into the session that it was just another chance to try some new things out with the car," said Negri. "We had some pretty radical changes, but it just didn't make the results we were looking for. Being fast over one lap isn't what is most important tomorrow. We need a car that all three of us can get the most out of on the long runs, so we're going to use tomorrows warm up to lock in on something that will give us the best shot at a good result tomorrow."

"We were hoping to be a lot closer to the front today, but we just haven't unloaded as quick as we were hoping," said team owner Mike Shank. "The guys have done a great job and we're just going to keep our heads down and see what we can come up with. We know these cars have a lot of potential that we just need to unlock. Fortunately, we get one more chance in the warm-up tomorrow before the race, so hopefully we'll find something and be where we need to be right from the start."

-credit: msr

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