Michael Shank Racing 5th and 7th in Sahlen's Qualifying at Watkins Glen Watkins Glen, New York (4 June 2010)-Michael Shank Racing will start Saturday's Sahlen's Six Hours of the Glen from fifth (No. 60 Crown Royal XR Ford-Riley/Ozz Negri+John...
Michael Shank Racing 5th and 7th in Sahlen's Qualifying at Watkins Glen
Watkins Glen, New York (4 June 2010)-Michael Shank Racing will start Saturday's Sahlen's Six Hours of the Glen from fifth (No. 60 Crown Royal XR Ford-Riley/Ozz Negri+John Pew) and seventh (No. 6 CAP & Associates Ford Riley/Michael Valiante+Mark Patterson+Brian Frisselle) as the two team cars look to move up from fourth in the GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Series team championship standings.
The Watkins Glen weekend opened with practice ahead of Friday's qualifying session as the team welcomed Mark Patterson back to the driving squad as he returns to drive the No. 6 CAP & Associates machine with Frisselle and Valiante.
The day has unfolded at a rapid pace as the team has worked efficiently to overcome a pair of disruptions during the day. A small mechanical issue with the No. 60 Crown Royal machine was quickly diagnosed and remedied before the car returned to the track in the morning, while the No. 6 CAP & Associates entry had an off-course excursion that required some quick repairs ahead of the 15-minute qualifying session.
But per Michael Shank Racing usual, both machines were ready to go for the grid-setting afternoon session as the two Ford-Rileys traded the pole position time early in the session before closing out with the team taking fifth and seventh on the provisional grid.
"We always want to be up front, but even though we are not quite there with our qualifying speed, I think we've got two very good cars for the race tomorrow," said team owner Mike Shank. "We've had a couple of small set-backs today, but the guys have just busted thier backs to have the cars ready to go for this session, and I think we are in good shape for tomorrow."
"The car is good--we lost some valuable time in the first session, but the car was good right away today, and again in qualifying," said Negri. "I think maybe we lacked some of the straight line speed that the other cars have, with the downforce settings that we have on the car. That was probably the difference in qualifying today. But this car is still very, very good and I'm optimistic about the race tomorrow."
"To be honest, even though our time was not that close to the pole time, I think we are at a good point with the car to keep improving," said Valiante. "So we just have to improve it a little bit more for the race. But this is the kind of race car that you want to have-- good balance, very consistent through the run. That is going to be very important over the course of the long run through our stints tomorrow."