Michael Shank Racing Returns to Watkins Glen For Friday Night Sprint (Columbus, OH) 4 August- Michael Shank Racing returns to Rolex Sports Car Series race action this Friday night as the team makes an encore visit to Watkins Glen International...
Michael Shank Racing Returns to Watkins Glen For Friday Night Sprint
(Columbus, OH) 4 August- Michael Shank Racing returns to Rolex Sports Car Series race action this Friday night as the team makes an encore visit to Watkins Glen International to contest the Crown Royal 200. The race marks the second visit of the season to the upstate New York facility for the Rolex Sports Car Series, with Michael Shank Racing taking a double top-five team finish in the 6 Hour event at the track in June.
Watkins Glen has long been a favorite of the team in both the long and short 2.45-mile configurations, with the latter being utilized this weekend. With two Daytona Prototypes that have shown great speed all season long, the team will target a double-podium appearance in Friday night's two-hour shootout as part of the Crown Royal weekend.
"The Glen has always been a strong track for us, and we were a little unlucky not to make the podium there earlier this season so hopefully we can make up for that this Friday night," said team owner Mike Shank. "Mark and John were outstanding there in June. The points fight is only getting tighter so we want to make up even more ground with both cars this weekend. The race is very fast--both as far as the pace we set on the short course, but also with the two-hour time limit for the finish. So we have to hope for a little luck on the timing of our stop, but we're confident about our cars and our drivers so hopefully we can be back up on the podium there on Friday night."
The No. 6 Michael Shank Racing Ford-Riley of John Pew and Michael Valiante enter the Watkins Glen weekend fresh from a podium appearance at Barber Motorsports Park and will look to keep that momentum going this Friday night. The podium performance, the duo's second of the season, saw the No. 6 move up to fourth in the team championship standings ahead of the No. 12 entry as the Pew/Valiante combination has shown both speed and consistency. The two enter the weekend looking to lock up an eighth straight top-ten result.
"It was great to have everything adding up to a podium for us at Barber--Michael really had everyone on the edge of their seats watching the race at the end, and hopefully we can have another race with that kind of result this weekend," said Pew, who led five laps in the Rolex Series' June visit to the track and has seen the track from behind the wheel of scores of different kinds of race machinery. "The Glen is fast, and fun, and we know we're going to have competitive cars, so hopefully we can keep moving up in the points again this weekend."
For the sister No. 60 Ford-Riley of Mark Patterson and Oswaldo Negri, the Glen sprint event is one that has long favored the duo, who combined to take a remarkable 3rd place finish in their debut at the track in just their third Rolex Series race start together in 2005. Between the Barber Motorsports Park and Watkins Glen rounds of Rolex competition, Patterson recently grew his impressive racing resume in a Ferrari 430 with a P21 race finish at the famed 24 Hours of Spa.
"Watkins Glen in this short configuration is a very fast track, and the race itself is also over in the blink of an eye compared to the race I ran last weekend!" said Patterson, who has shown speed on both the long and short track layouts. "With the two-hour time limit, the timing on any yellow flags and our driver change pit stop becomes even more critical. John led me and everybody else here in June and I never got the chance to pass him for that lead, so hopefully we'll be in a similar position again this weekend but with the roles reversed!"
The event sees the Rolex Series as part of what looks to be a dry weatther weekend racing card that includes the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series. As is often the case with the NASCAR weekends, the schedule is an intense one, with Thursday opening with practice, setting the grid with qualifying, and then one final night practice session before Friday, which will see the field only take to the track for the 6:30 PM race.