Michael Shank Racing takes eighth on grid at Barber Motorsports Park The little team that can returns to action with repaired car BIRMINGHAM, AL (9 October 04)-- Oswaldo Negri qualified the Michael Shank Racing Lexus-powered Doran eighth on the...
Michael Shank Racing takes eighth on grid at Barber Motorsports Park
The little team that can returns to action with repaired car
BIRMINGHAM, AL (9 October 04)-- Oswaldo Negri qualified the Michael Shank Racing Lexus-powered Doran eighth on the grid with a fast lap time of 1:22.665 seconds at Barber Motorsports Park for Sunday's Porsche 250. The team, which was fifth-quickest in the wet/dry morning practice session, is fighting to secure forth in the Rolex Sports Car Series team championship and has had to pull several all-nighters to repair the damage from an accident in the last round race at Virginia International Raceway. Negri will start the race and turn over the driving duties to teammate Burt Frisselle during the teams first pitstop on Sunday.
Negri waited in the pit lane at the start of the fifteen-minute session to try and find a clear lap of traffic, and bolted to second on the charts with just his second flying lap early in the session. Despite the strategy employed at the beginning of the session, Negri caught traffic on his two fastest laps, keeping the team from continuing its' streak of top-five starts.
"The car just didn't have enough grip this afternoon," said Negri. "I just feel lucky to be racing this weekend. The guys have put in one of the toughest weeks ever to get this car repaired and competitive, so we are just going to try and make the most of the race tomorrow. We had a good car in the difficult conditions this morning, so we will see what tomorrow brings us as far as weather."
Team owner Mike Shank had also been hoping for more in the session, but knows how much fight his small team has in them.
"It's obviously not where we wanted to be on the grid, but given everything this team has gone through this week to even get here, we'll take it and concentrate on the race tomorrow. It's the teams first time at the track, and the first time Burt and Oz have run here, so we have been just playing catch up this weekend. We were fast in the wet this morning, so we'll just have to see what the weather looks like tomorrow."
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.