Michael Shank Racing Battles to Sixth and Seventh in Crown Royal 200 WATKINS GLEN (7 August 2010)- Michael Shank Racing finished Saturday's Crown Royal 200 in sixth position with the No. 6 Ford-Dallara driven by Brian Frisselle and Michael ...
Michael Shank Racing Battles to Sixth and Seventh in Crown Royal 200
WATKINS GLEN (7 August 2010)- Michael Shank Racing finished Saturday's Crown Royal 200 in sixth position with the No. 6 Ford-Dallara driven by Brian Frisselle and Michael Valiante and came home in seventh place with the No. 60 Crown Royal Ford-Riley shared by John Pew and Ozz Negri in round ten of the 2010 GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Series championship at Watkins Glen International.
The race set a new record for the fastest Daytona Prototype race in GRAND-AM history as the two Michael Shank Racing entries showed strength but were not able to score a return to the Rolex podium in the two-hour event.
Michael Valiante started the race from fifth on the grid and raced as high as second in the order before turning the machine over to Frisselle, who fought a lack of grip to bring the Dallara home in sixth as the former winner of the race focused on bringing the distinctive blue-liveried machine to the checkered flag for solid points.
The race's flat-out pace ultimately didn't play into the Crown Royal machines hand as Pew opened the race from seventh on the grid with the Ford-Riley before turning the car over to Negri, who fought back from a lap down only to suffer when the first full course caution came too late for the ultimate pit strategy to play out.
"It was a tough day--we struggled to get the pace we needed out of the 6 car this weekend," said Shank. "We are still learning with the Dallara and we just didn't pick up the speed on race day like we have been. Brian and Michael did a great job to hang on and bring it home like they did. All we needed with the Crown Royal car was to catch a yellow-- and we did, but just not when we needed it so there was nothing we could do at that point. But we'll take the points and and just start getting ready for Montreal."
"We lacked grip overall this weekend and just didn't have the speed we needed today," said Brian Frisselle as he signed autographs for fans after the race. "Not every weekend is going to be a great one, and that was the case here at the Glen. It was a good result considering what we had. But I think it's important to make the most of what you have with the car and we did that this weekend so even though we were hoping for better than sixth, we will take it and look forward to racing in Montreal at the end of the month."
Despite finishing the race in close quarters, the two team entries utilized different pit strategies to try to find the maximum in track position during the shortest race of the year to date.
"My tires didn't come in as quickly as I was hoping but once they did the car was pretty good," said Pew, who on Friday extended his run of strong qualifying performances in the Crown Royal machine. "Ozz did a great job again but with the yellow coming out when it did, we were just a little bit unlucky today."
The run to seventh marked the ninth top-ten for the Crown Royal car so far in 2010 as the team is now fourth in the provisional points standings.
"The Crown Royal car was good today but we were just not quick enough to take it to the front," said Negri. "It was a handful on full tanks but at least over the long run was pretty consistent. I had traffic in all the wrong places it seemed, all day long! But I'm sure that was what everyone felt on a track that has such quick laps like here at the Glen. We were hoping to be stronger, but at the end of the day we will be happy with seventh. It's not our goal to be seventh, but you have to keep the points in mind and bringing the car home with the most you can get out of it is a good day and we will take it and move on."
Despite the double-top ten finish, the team had been hoping for more out of the sprint weekend although with two cars emerging from the frantic race without any damage and some solid championship points in the bank, Michael Shank Racing will look to return to the Rolex Series podium once again at the end of the month in Montreal.