Watkins Glen: Michael Shank Racing qualifying report

Michael Shank Racing wins SunTrust "Improve your position" award (Watkins Glen, NY) 8 June 2007--Mark Patterson and Oswaldo Negri smiled and posed for the photographers on Friday as they picked up the $1,000 check from SunTrust Bank for having...

Michael Shank Racing wins SunTrust "Improve your position" award

(Watkins Glen, NY) 8 June 2007--Mark Patterson and Oswaldo Negri smiled and posed for the photographers on Friday as they picked up the $1,000 check from SunTrust Bank for having improved the most positions in the last Rolex Sports Car Series race at Laguna Seca in May.

The Suntrust award marked the third of three notable achievements for the pair from the Laguna weekend as they also scored podium honors together and Patterson collected the Jim Trueman medal for taking the highest finishing position amongst those competing for the Trueman championship.

But after the award was handed out and drivers meeting adjourned, it was back to business and a fifteen minute qualifying session to set the field for Saturday's Sahlen's six Hours of the Glen.

Oswaldo Negri strapped into the No. 60 Lexus Riley as Ian James took the controls of the No. 6 Lexus-Riley and as the session drew to a close, Negri had claimed ninth on the grid, with James taking a spot on the seventh row for Saturday's six hour race and round six of the 2007 Rolex season.

The qualifying results were not quite what the team had been hoping for, but with six hours of racing to come and a long history of success at the upstate New York track stretching back to the teams very first season in the category in 2004, Michael Shank Racing is ready to race on Saturday.

"We just need to pull back a little bit with our set-up," explained Negri. "We know we can find more grip, and we want to be sure to have a car that's going to be good to drive over the long stints tomorrow, so we'll just focus on that in the morning,"

While the longer races bring more pressure for the team and the drivers, they also seem to bring the best out in Michael Shank Racing. The team scored second, fourth, and first in the endurance events last year, and is looking to keep that kind of record intact once again this season.

"It's a long race," smiled Mike Shank as he reviewed the timing sheets after the session. "We were hoping for a little bit more in qualifying, but that's really not going to matter that much tomorrow. A solid car, good pit stops, and the guys staying out of trouble and keeping a good pace, that's what's going to move us up in the championship and that's what our focus will be until they throw the checkers on this race."

The No. 6 entry of John Pew and Ian James was a handful for the Englishman during qualifying, but the two are still confident of backing up their strong seventh place debut result from Laguna with another good run on Saturday.

"It was as loose as its been all weekend so we were struggling a bit out there," said a frustrated James. "But we'll have a chance to make some adjustments in the morning and improve on what we've got."

The Sahlen's Six Hours of the Glen will air on Speed Channel starting at 11:00 AM ET on Saturday, June 9, with the second segment broadcast starting at 2:30 PM.

-credit: msr

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