Birmingham: Michael Shank Racing race report

Michael Shank Racing takes third place at Barber (Birmingham, AL)- July 31--Michael Shank Racing continued to show strength as drivers Mike Borkowski and Kenny Wilden took third place in the Porsche 250 presented by Bradly Arant at Barber ...

Michael Shank Racing takes third place at Barber

(Birmingham, AL)- July 31--Michael Shank Racing continued to show strength as drivers Mike Borkowski and Kenny Wilden took third place in the Porsche 250 presented by Bradly Arant at Barber Motorsports Park after starting from fifth on the grid, leading in the middle stages of the race, and then staging a vigorous charge to the front in the closing laps of the race.

"This is a good reflection I think of how strong this team is for us to have fought our way to the front twice," said a beaming team owner Mike Shank. "I really want to thank Paul Mears for having faith in us as a team, and days like this show how strong we are. We're really happy to be on the podium again, and are looking forward to having Paul back here with us again soon."

Borkowski started the race from fifth and moved up into fourth position by lap twenty, when a full course caution appeared and the team brought him into the pits for a round of fresh tires and a full tank of fuel. Much of the field elected to stay out, so Borkowski rejoined the field in twenty-ninth position. The 2003 Rolex Series Championship runner-up made quick work of the field, though, and was quickly back up into the top ten.

It took some bold massing moves to make such quick work of the field, but none was better than the pass Borkowski made for the lead, as he went around the outside of the defending race winner to take the lead on lap 48.

"Michael Shank Racing is the best team unit that I have ever raced with, and the guys do an excellent job," said Borkowski. "Our car has been really fast all weekend, and we just stayed out of trouble and were able to recover from everything the race threw at us. I wish Paul (Mears) could have been here with us this weekend, but we look forward to getting him back with us again soon."

After taking the lead, Borkowski was busy building a gap to the field when a full course caution slowed the field, but a problem with the radio kept him from ducking into the pits before the pace car caught the Mears Motor Coach machine. Borkowski had to do one full slow lap behind the pace car before he could make it into the pits, costing the team precious track position. Borkowski eventually made it back to the pits and turned the car over to Wilden, who rejoined the field behind sixteen other Daytona Prototypes.

"We are going to need some super-hero stuff out there, Kenny" was the call over the radio from Shank.

Wilden, who scored second in the 1999 Toyota Atlantic Championship with the team, responded in a big way, hauling the Pontiac/Riley competition up through the order from sixteenth and staging a huge battle for second place in the closing laps.

"It was good hard racing, and he made it really tough to get by, but I didn't want to take any big risks," said Wilden. "The car was just amazing-I had one of the fastest laps of the race late in my stint, even though it had rained on the track! The guys on this team are really fantastic and I love racing with them, so it felt good to repay their faith in me with a good run to the podium."

The Mears Motor Coach machine will be back in action in two weeks time for the CompUSA 200 at Watkins Glen International August 11-12.

-msr

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About this article
Series Grand-Am
Drivers Mike Borkowski , Michael Shank
Teams Michael Shank Racing