Michael Shank Racing Looking for Redemption at Daytona (Columbus, OH) 1 July 2009- After starting the 2008 Rolex Sports Car Series season off from pole in the Rolex 24 At Daytona and then finishing with race victories in the last two events of...
Michael Shank Racing Looking for Redemption at Daytona
(Columbus, OH) 1 July 2009- After starting the 2008 Rolex Sports Car Series season off from pole in the Rolex 24 At Daytona and then finishing with race victories in the last two events of the season, Michael Shank Racing had good reason to look forward to the 2009 Rolex 24 At Daytona. But in the opening round of the championship season, motor-related issues knocked one Michael Shank Racing entry from the lead and out of the event, with the second Daytona Prototype suffering the same mechanical fate before the race reached the midway point.
So as the team prepares for the Rolex Sports Car Series return to the "World Center of Racing" for Saturday afternoon's Brumos Porsche 250, Michael Shank Racing will seek not only continued momentum in the championship battle, but also a little bit of redemption on a track where the team has demonstrated strength in both the long-distance events and the traditional July sprint outings.
Since rebounding from the Daytona disappointment, one constant for the team through the 2009 Rolex season so far has been speed-Michael Shank Racing machines have been first or second in over 75% of the practice sessions run so far this season. On Saturday, the team will look to harness that speed into a run to the podium at Daytona.
"It's good to be heading back to Daytona-we know our cars were quick there in January, and we should be strong right off the truck again this weekend," said team owner Mike Shank. "This weekend is the first race of the second half of the season, and we think we've got everything we need to move up in the points with both our cars. We're excited not only to have Sean John Fragrances and Lab Series for Men with us on the car, but also to be getting the opportunity to race on Saturday. Hopefully we'll be able to open some more eyes and make some new fans with the show we put on in the Rolex Series."
The No. 60 Sean John Fragrances/Lab Series For Men Ford-Riley will be co-driven by Mark Patterson and Oswaldo Negri as the two look to bounce back from a disappointing home race outing at Mid-Ohio, which saw Patterson punted off-track and into the gravel trap on the very first lap, ending the team's chances at a podium.
"With practice, qualifying, and the race all packed into the space of a few hours, the July Daytona event is quite unique," said Patterson, who won't have to look far when reviewing patterns in his qualifying, as he's scored 8th on the Daytona grid the last three July visits. "So it's vital that we start the day off with a good set-up, and this team has shown time and time again that it can do exactly that. I'm always looking forward to the race weekends, but this one should be all the more fun with us carrying the Sean John Fragrances and Lab Series for Men colors on the car. Hopefully we can be spraying champagne, as well as Unforgivable (one of Sean John's signature fragrances) on the podium!"
The sister Daytona Prototype No. 6 Ford-Riley of John Pew and Michael Valiante will look to extend it's run of top-ten finishes to six consecutive races, with an average finish of 5.4 in the last five events. The duo were on the podium at VIR in April, and will look to do that once again this Saturday.
All four Michael Shank Racing drivers are looking forward to the Daytona return, but possibly none more so than Pew, who was suited up with his helmet on, waiting to take control of the 6 machine as it led the 24 before the motor problem reared its head and ended the day, robbing him of the chance to even run in the 2009 kick-off.
"That was not a good moment!" said Pew, who led during the Sahlen's 6 Hours of the Glen in early June. "But that's just racing sometimes and now we are focused ahead on this weekend. It'd be great if we can make up for that with a strong run this weekend. The team is working really well, with the engineers and drivers on both cars really pushing the entire team, and our results have shown that ever since VIR. This race day at Daytona is quickest of the season, so you have to be 100% ready to go from the very first lap, and I really feel like we are as prepared as we can be to do that."
Team points championship update:
The No. 6 have held station in 6th position, with 144 points as the No. 60 is 10th entering the Daytona event with 125 points.
Trueman Award Update:
Mid-Ohio's disappointing run for the 60 saw Patterson hold onto fourth, but slip in the points as he now holds 1402 markers to JC France's 1635.