Watkins Glen II: Michael Shank Racing qualifying report

Patterson and Pew Strong in Watkins Glen Qualifying (Watkins Glen, NY) 6 August 08 -Mark Patterson posted his career-best Rolex Sports Car Series qualifying result to date with a strong sixth on the grid for Friday night's Crown Royal 200 in...

Patterson and Pew Strong in Watkins Glen Qualifying

(Watkins Glen, NY) 6 August 08 -Mark Patterson posted his career-best Rolex Sports Car Series qualifying result to date with a strong sixth on the grid for Friday night's Crown Royal 200 in the Hospital For Special Surgery Ford-Riley. His lap time of 1:06.358 was over half a second faster than the previous track record, as the Daytona Prototype-only field set a tight grid with the top fifteen racers covered by just two seconds.

Michael Shank Racing got things off to a quick start to the Crown Royal 200 event, as the No. 60 posted the fastest times of the day with Oswaldo Negri behind the wheel, as Ian James put the sister Shank Ford Riley fourth on the timing sheets before the final qualifying session. The expectations were further raised immediately before qualifying after Patterson and Pew finished the Trueman practice session in first and second.

"This is the best set-up we've had all year," said Patterson, who was once again quicker than star Bill Auberlin in qualifying. "The car was just fantastic on the new Pirellis and you could get back to throttle several car-lengths earlier with no problem. We really made some good decisions as far as the suspension and I'm just looking forward to racing this Hospital For Special Surgery car because this feels fantastic."

John Pew was well on his way to a similarly strong result as Patterson before encountering traffic in the final corners of his fastest lap, forcing him to back out of the Ford power in the No. 6 Riley he will share with Ian James in the 82-lap Friday night feature. Despite that disappointment, Pew had already posted a strong enough time to take tenth on the grid as he will line up directly behind former Formula 1 racer Christian Fittipaldi.

"I'm have to be happy with how good the car is and I feel like I got nearly everything out of it, but I am a bit disappointed for the team because I know we could have done even better without that traffic," said Pew. "But the good thing is that this car is great. We were just getting a touch of understeer at the end of that run, but the car was still really fast and I'm looking forward to moving up again at the start tomorrow."

"Wow," said team owner Mike Shank as he watched the telemetry numbers come back throughout Patterson's fastest lap. "Mark has always done an excellent job on this track and we had pretty high expectations but this was really fantastic. He did a great job, and John was just a couple tenths away from being right there with him. But even though the traffic didn't help John out that last lap, we are really confident about the speed we have with both our cars and are really looking forward to tomorrow night's race. Hopefully we'll put on good show for the fans and get them excited about these Rolex races."

Practice recap:

Fast start at Watkins Glen For Michael Shank Racing

Thursday's opening practice sessions for the Crown Royal 200 at Watkins Glen got off to a fast start for Michael Shank Racing.

Oswaldo Negri set the fastest lap of the opening practice session with a 1:06.368-second flier in the first session only to go even quicker in the second with a 1:05.904-second tour of the 2.45-mile "short course" Glen layout in the No. 60 Hospital For Special Surgery Ford-Riley. The Daytona Prototype qualifying track record is 1:07.020 seconds on the circuit.

The sister Ford-Riley of John Pew and Ian James was also stout in the opening sessions of the weekend, setting a fast lap time of 1:06.149 to place fourth in the second session. Pew showed his enthusiasm for the set-up with a second session run that featured multiple laps of 1:07.1 seconds before he shaved that down to post multiple laps in the 6.9 range to close out the second session.

-credit: msr

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