Birmingham: Michael Shank Racing race report

Michael Shank Racing knocked from strong run at Barber Motorsports Park The little team that can knocked off-track by lapped car for second consecutive race, ending potential run to podium (10 October 04)-- Michael Shank Racing finished 14th...

Michael Shank Racing knocked from strong run at Barber Motorsports Park

The little team that can knocked off-track by lapped car for second consecutive race, ending potential run to podium

(10 October 04)-- Michael Shank Racing finished 14th in class in the Porsche 250 after the lapped 02 Ganassi entry punted the number 6 MSR Lexus-Doran off-track from its fifth position midway through the race, causing significant damage to the rear suspension and derailing a probable podium finish. The incident is the second time in as many weeks that a lapped car has taken the MSR team out of contention. The team had fought all week to get the car repaired in time for the eleventh round of the Rolex Sports Car Championship.

"I'm really upset about the race," said driver Oswaldo Negri. "It's just incredible-I was in the lead pack, just biding my time to see what was going to happen with the weather, and I go to turn in, and bang! I'm off and into the barriers--that's how hard he hit me--it sent me all the way off track and into the wall!"

Negri started the race from eighth, and was up to fourth by just the second lap. Negri stayed in the car during the teams first pit stop, and rejoined the field from tenth position before moving back up the order, passing every car that finished the race on the podium including the race winning 4 car, before the incident with the 02 car put paid to any podium hopes for the small team.

"It's just so disappointing for the team because we were the leading Lexus at the time, and the guys worked so hard all we to get the car fixed and ready to race again here at Barber," said Negri.

Team owner Mike Shank had been hoping for more after all the effort his team put in to get the car ready, and after seeing how fast the car was come race time.

"It's a huge disappointment," said Shank. "After putting in the effort we did all week to get back on track, and then to run so strong in the race--Oz had a great stint before he got crashed out, and then to have a car that's a lap behind us take us out, its just hard to describe how frustrating that is. We are going to have a word with the Grand-Am officials, because this kind of driving can't be tolerated."

The team will pack up and return to the shop in Columbus, Ohio for some much-deserved rest before preparing for the season finale Lexus Grand American Champions weekend at Fontana at the end of the month.

Michael Shank Racing was formed in 1989 when Michael Shank first began driving racing cars professionally, taking the award as SCCA-Ohio Valley Region's Novice Driver of the Year. Shank retired from the cockpit in 1997 after moving up the motorsports ladder to focus his efforts on running the team, which quickly found success in the CART Toyota Atlantic Championship, with several race wins leading Shank to be named as Team Owner of the Year twice in four years. MSR has campaigned drivers including Johnny Rutherford Jr., Kenny Wilden, and 2001 and 2002 Indy Racing League champion Sam Hornish, Jr.

MSR is making the transition to the Rolex Series from open-wheel competition for the 2004 season in the Rolex Sports Car Series, campaigning a Lexus-powered Doran JE4.

-msr-

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About this article
Series Grand-Am
Drivers Michael Shank , Johnny Rutherford , Sam Hornis
Teams Michael Shank Racing