Michael Shank Racing takes fifth on Rolex grid (Daytona Beach, FL) 26 January 06--Michael Shank Racing's Oswaldo Negri hasn't raced in the Rolex 24 At Daytona for two years, and showed in qualifying Thursday just how happy he was to ...
Michael Shank Racing takes fifth on Rolex grid
(Daytona Beach, FL) 26 January 06--Michael Shank Racing's Oswaldo Negri hasn't raced in the Rolex 24 At Daytona for two years, and showed in qualifying Thursday just how happy he was to be back.
Negri took the No. 60 Flight Options Lexus/Riley to fifth on the grid for the 44th Rolex 24 At Daytona with a fast lap time of 1:44.771 seconds around the 3.56-mile Daytona circuit.
With an all-star line-up of talent from across the motorsports spectrum converging in Florida for the twice around the clock classic, the competition was extremely close in the bourgeoning Daytona Prototype class, which saw the first fourteen positions separated by just one second.
Negri, who will share the driving duties in the Flight Options machine with Mark Patterson, A.J. Allmendinger, and Justin Wilson, put his extensive knowledge of the Lexus-Riley to work, but not without a little bit of help from his teammates and his crew.
"I am pretty happy with that time," said Negri. "I went over the data with Justin (Wilson) before the session, and we predicted that the car had a 44.7 in it, so I'm really happy I was able to do exactly that time. I think we could have gotten maybe a little bit more out of it, but I lost some time when that car spun in front of me on my fast lap. But really, I'm just happy for my guys to put the Flight Options car close to the front for this race because they have put in so much work and the car is really excellent."
The qualifying result marks the best ever for Michael Shank Racing for the Daytona event, and team owner Mike Shank is looking to translate the grid position into a strong start to the 2006 Rolex Sports Car Series season.
"Oz did a really great job for us once again, and its good to be starting up front so we can hopefully avoid any trouble early in the race," said Shank. "Obviously for an event like this, qualifying is not that important, but you always want to have any advantage you can get and starting up front could certainly help. I think it shows how hard we have been working the last three months just to be ready for this race, and hopefully we can keep it up and be there for the finish."
The race is scheduled to get underway beginning at Noon on Saturday, with Speed Channel carrying thirteen hours of live coverage including the start and finish to the event. The team will have two more practice sessions on Friday for final preparations.
Based in Columbus, Ohio, Michael Shank Racing (MSR) was formed in 1989 when Michael Shank first began driving racing cars professionally. Shank retired from the cockpit in 1997 to focus his efforts on running the team, which quickly found success in the Champ Car Toyota Atlantic Championship. With several race wins under his belt, Shank was named as Team Owner of the Year twice in four years. MSR joined the Rolex ranks in 2004. MSR has four Rolex Sports Car Series podiums, with Mike Borkowski, Paul Mears Jr., Kenny Wilden, Oswaldo Negri, Mark Patterson, and Burt Frisselle as drivers.