Fast Again At Watkins Glen (Watkins Glen, NY) 6 August 09- Michael Shank Racing was quick once again on Thursday as the team paced two of the three practice sessions in the run up to qualifying for Friday night's Crown Royal 200 for round nine...
Fast Again At Watkins Glen
(Watkins Glen, NY) 6 August 09- Michael Shank Racing was quick once again on Thursday as the team paced two of the three practice sessions in the run up to qualifying for Friday night's Crown Royal 200 for round nine of the 2009 Rolex Sports Car Series season. Oswaldo Negri's 1:05.338-second lap time in the No. 60 Ford-Riley he shares with Mark Paterson was the quickest of the day ahead of the qualifying session, and less than one tenth of a second away from the track record.
"This was a good start for us and we're just picking up where we left off from the test day in June," said team owner Mike Shank. "This is a very short race and with us running with the GT class for the first time in a few years, we could see more yellows than we have in the past. We just need to get a clean start with both cars and put ourselves in position to fight at the end. The points are crucial and hopefully we can score well with both cars."
Negri's co-driver Patterson was also quick in the Trueman Award practice session, leading the charts during the afternoon practice session before he returned to the track to set the 10th fastest time in qualifying to take a spot on the fifth row.
"The wind was moving in the opposite direction from what we experienced here on the test day and it had a huge effect on what you needed to do in the car," said Patterson, who will hosting friends and family for the race this weekend. "You have to approach things differently going up through the esses and into the bus stop. It's great to have the wind at your back going up through there-the car is really very quick. I was happy to get back down to the times we were setting in the practice session after a few quaifying laps. I think if we'd just had a few more minutes, we could have gone a little bit quicker yet because the car just kept getting faster."
The sister No. 6 of John Pew and Michael Valiante had an up and down day, as the two posted the fifth, third, and second-quickest times in the opening three practice sessions, but were frustrated to only score 15th on the grid in qualifying.
"We started the day off well, but we were a little off with the car in qualifying and it was loose all over," said Pew, who will look to return to the podium after scoring third at Barber Motorsports Park with Valiante in round eight. "And with the Rolex Series being as close and competitive as it is, you only have to be just a little bit off, and you are going to be starting from way in the back like we are. But hopefully we can come up with some good changes with the car and just stay out of trouble at the start. It's going to be interesting with all the GT cars, and such a short race distance. Hopefully we can put that to our advantage tomorrow night."