Austin, Texas - Michael Shank Racing made its return to a two-car effort this weekend at Circuit of the Americas (COTA) and will start from the third and sixth rows of the grid at the GRAND-AM of the Americas Presented by GAINSCO and Total event after the starting grid was set in a quick 15-minute qualifying session on Friday.
Yacaman will start the No. 6 Michael Shank Racing entry from sixth on grid after setting a fast time of 2:01:624 seconds in the Ford-Riley that he will share with Pizzonia. Though Yacaman has two Rolex Series starts already under his belt, and one Rolex podium finish to his credit, the COTA event marks Pizzonia’s first GRAND-AM sprint start as the pair targets a strong run on Saturday.
“I was hoping for a little bit more today, but we have made a lot of progress and I think we still have some ideas about things we can try tomorrow,” said the former Indy Lights ace.
“I had a small problem with the brakes and that cost me on one lap, but overall this has been a good start to the weekend. Working with Antonio has been good, and now we just want to concentrate on being strong in the race. The traffic will be very key, so we just want to manage that as best we can.”
John Pew delivered yet another solid performance in the No. 60 Ford-Riley as he set the 11th fastest time of the field with a 2:03.339-second lap of the 3.4-mile road course.
“The car kept getting quicker and quicker--I feel like we could have extended that qualifying session a little bit more!” smiled Pew. “That is a good thing about these Continental Tires that the window is bigger with them and they last longer.
We made some improvements with the set-up, and I think we’ve got a few more final things to try before the race. It will be interesting in Turn 1 at the start, but I think being on the outside will be an advantage once we get to Turn 2.”
Pew and co-driver Ozz Negri finished third in the previous round at Daytona International Speedway and will look to carry that podium momentum into Saturday’s 2.75-hour race.
“It is great to be back with two cars here for a GRAND-AM sprint race,” enthused team owner Mike Shank. “We made a lot of progress yesterday but haven’t 100% zeroed in on where we need the cars to be just yet.
But we know that this race is going to depend a lot on traffic and being able to make the most of any clean laps we get.”
Michael Shank Racing will participate in a final 20 minute practice session tomorrow morning. The GRAND-AM of the Americas Presented by GAINSCO and Total event will go green at 4:00 PM (ET).
Michael Shank Racing