Double Top-Ten for Michael Shank Racing at Miller Motorsports Park Patterson picks up Trueman hardware (Columbus, OH) 19 September- Michael Shank Racing finished the Utah 250 at Miller Motorsports Park 6th (No. 60 Ford-Riley driven by ...
Double Top-Ten for Michael Shank Racing at Miller Motorsports Park
Patterson picks up Trueman hardware
(Columbus, OH) 19 September- Michael Shank Racing finished the Utah 250 at Miller Motorsports Park 6th (No. 60 Ford-Riley driven by Mark Patterson and Oswaldo Negri) and 10th (No. 6 Ford-Riley shared by John Pew and Michael Valiante) in round 11 of the 2009 Rolex Sports Car Series Championship.
The team had been looking to add to the organizations' win tally on the 4.4-mile circuit outside of Salt Lake City, but the sprint format race saw a different set of results play out.
The Patterson-Negri combination, which won the race in 2006, started the race from eighth on the grid as Patterson got a good start and had the machine up to 5th before turning it over to Negri. The Brazilian moved back up through the order and fought to a sixth place finish at the checkered flag.
"For us, this was a smooth weekend all around," said Patterson. "We had a great set-up right from the start, and it just kept getting better as we made small adjustments. This was the kind of result that we should have had through the year---P4 to P8, with maybe some podium runs thrown in there. But it just hasn't worked out like that, so it was good to have that kind of weekend here at Miller and of course the Trueman medal was a nice bonus!"
"The result is ok-we worked hard to get the car right and it was good, but just not perfect," said Negri. "I was driving really hard and I thought I had something for Burt, but I got on the marbles because of the slow GT traffic, and it takes three laps to get that off your tires here! But 6th is pretty much what we had today, so it's ok to finish there. The guys worked so hard all weekend and we were hoping for a little bit more, but we'll take this and look for a stronger race to finish at Homestead. I am there all the time working with young karters, so I am looking forward to the race being right in my backyard and to having all my family out for the weekend."
The sister No. 6 entry, which took a breakthrough win in the 2008 race at Miller Park, saw Pew take the green flag from the sixth row, and even though he was able to move up to the top ten, he wasn't fully happy with the handle on the machine. After Valiante took over, he also fought with a challenging car in a deep thicket of Daytona Prototypes, but held on to come home in 10th.
"This team has been great all year, but this weekend we just didn't roll off the truck where we needed to with the car, and we had to play catch up from the very first session," said Valiante. "It was just one thing after another in the race, and a tough weekend overall. But hopefully we'll be back to strong form again at Homestead."
"The car was a little bit better today, but we still had a very loose car and that was tough on some of these really fast, longer duration corners," said Pew. "It was a handful and it just kept me from having the kind of pace I'd have liked to set in the early stages of the race. Michael did a great job to be fighting like he was given how tough the car was. Hopefully we can have a little bit better luck racing close to home at Homestead."
The team won the final two races of the 2008 Rolex Sports Car Series season, and will look to close out the 2009 season on a strong note in three weeks' time.
"It is great to get both cars in the top ten but it was a pretty tough weekend overall," said team owner Mike Shank. "Mark and Ozz had a great car but the 6 car just struggled a bit but I think that we should be really strong at Homestead. We had a good test there earlier this year, and we'd like nothing more than to go down there and finish the year with a win."