Watkins Glen II: Micheal Shank Racing race report

Michael Shank Racing continues to deliver (Watkins Glen, NY) 11 August 06--Michael Shank Racing continued to deliver strong results in Rolex Sports Car Series competition as both team entries finished in the top ten in the Crown Royal 200 at ...

Michael Shank Racing continues to deliver

(Watkins Glen, NY) 11 August 06--Michael Shank Racing continued to deliver strong results in Rolex Sports Car Series competition as both team entries finished in the top ten in the Crown Royal 200 at Watkins Glen on Friday night.

The No. 60 Flight Options Lexus-Riley of Oswaldo Negri and Mark Patterson led the MSR charge with a run to fourth at the finish after starting from sixteenth on the grid, with the No. 6 Playboy Racing/Mears Motor Coach Lexus Riley of Mike Borkowski and Burt Frisselle coming home tenth despite a clutch problem throughout the race.

The result marks the fourth consecutive double-top ten finish for the Columbus, Ohio-based organization and the fifth straight top ten for Patterson and Negri. Patterson was a podium participant after the race to collect a medal as the highest-finishing driver in the Jim Trueman award battle.

The team welcomed a group of Flight Options customers and employees on hand for the race, and the crowd was thrilled to see their car make an impressive charge through the field on race day as Patterson moved up to ninth before turning the car over to Negri, who resumed from eleventh to take fourth at the end of the two-hour race.

"That's as well as I have seen Mark and Oz drive, just outstanding," enthused team owner Mike Shank. "I am really proud of the job they did and of the work that everyone on this team has done. This great run of top-tens is only happening because of the work my guys, Lexus, and the drivers do to be 100% ready every time we go out. Rolex is so competitive, you have to absolutely be on your game to even be in the top ten, and to do that week in and week out is really satisfying for everybody here. Hopefully we can keep it going at Infineon."

The distinctive black Playboy Racing/Mears Motor Coach entry started nineteenth in the field with Frisselle at the wheel, and he was able to move the car up to eleventh before turning it over to Borkowski midway through the race. The race was the first outing for Frisselle with MSR since scoring a podium in this race in 2004 with the team.

"I'm just bummed I wasn't able to do more with the car because it was really good, but the clutch problem meant that I was losing out under braking because it was just taking longer to get the downshifts done," said Frisselle. "But I'm happy to get a top ten here and it's been great to be back with these guys, and I am really looking forward to racing this car again at Miller."

The strong result was particularly pleasing for Negri, who has always excelled at the high-speed upstate New York facility, having scored a podium with Frisselle in 2004 and with current co-driver Patterson in 2005.

"This is awesome," said Negri. "Mark did another fantastic job at the start, and the car was strong enough to make some moves forward, so I'm really pleased with the result. Plus, it's my daughter Nahalia's birthday, so it was already a great day for me even before the race started."

The race is the second event for the new configuration Lexus motor, and the team has worked to quickly adapt to the new specification V-8 powerplant.

"The car was fantastic, and compared to where we were at Barber just starting out with the new Lexus, we have already moved well ahead," said Patterson. "The car just got better as the laps went on, and I was really able to make up ground and fight and defend when I needed to, and Oz just did the rest of the work from there. A real credit to this team I think for the job they do, and it was quite a treat I think for our guests from Flight Options."

The Rolex Series will reconvene in two weeks' time for the Series debut at Infineon Raceway in Sonoma, California.

-credit: michael shank racing

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About this article
Series Grand-Am
Drivers Burt Frisselle , Mike Borkowski , Oswaldo Negri Jr. , Mark Patterson , Michael Shank
Teams Michael Shank Racing