Michael Shank Racing Takes Fifth and Seventh on Crown Royal Grid Tune In: SPEED, Saturday 6:00 PM ET WATKINS GLEN (6 August 2010)- Even though the qualifying session for the Crown Royal 200 was cut short for an accident, Michael Shank ...
Michael Shank Racing Takes Fifth and Seventh on Crown Royal Grid
Tune In: SPEED, Saturday 6:00 PM ET
WATKINS GLEN (6 August 2010)- Even though the qualifying session for the Crown Royal 200 was cut short for an accident, Michael Shank Racing drivers Michael Valiante and John Pew still made the most of the time they had on track to score the 5th (Valiante) and 7th (Pew) positions on the grid for Saturday's 2-hour GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Series Crown Royal 200 event at Watkins Glen International.
Driving the No. 6 Ford-Dallara, Valiante led the Michael Shank Racing charge with his fast lap time of 1:06.693 seconds around the 2.45-mile circuit for a blazing average of 132.248-mph. While a top-five spot will be useful track position to start the race, the team is still looking to unlock more speed from the Ford-Dallara combination that has led the last three Rolex Sport Car Series races. Valiante will open the sprint race from behind the wheel before turning the controls over to 2008 Crown Royal winner Frisselle.
"The car was excellent through the carrousel, but we still have a lot of work to do in terms of rear grip," offered Valiante after the session. "If we can get the rear end more planted and more predictable, I think we should be very good in the race. Hopefully we can make some progress here in the practice session tonight."
The seventh place qualifying spot for the Crown Royal machine marked yet another stout performance from Pew, who was keeping an eye out on times for former teammate Mark Patterson through the session.
"We hadn't really done enough laps to have the tires fully come up to temperature, but it was still pretty balanced so I was comfortable right away," said Pew, who will share the driving duties with Ozz Negri as the duo look to close the championship gap. "The team had just radioed me the times when I came up to the Bus Stop and there was a big cloud of dust and Mark had gone off--I wanted to beat Mark today, but not like that! We've still got some things to try tonight but we're getting off to a good start again this weekend."
"We didn't get off to a fast start today with the No. 6, but fifth is very solid and hopefully it will come alive on race day like it has the last few weekends," said team owner Mike Shank. "John made the most of the laps that he has--he's been closing the sessions faster and faster right up to the checkered flag so it was great to see him get some good times in early with the session ending so quickly. All in all, we're not in bad shape but we are hoping to make the most of the practice session tonight and learn what we can about the track once it has all the NASCAR rubber down because that's what the conditions will be like for the race tomorrow."