Michael Shank Racing lead Lexus at Daytona (Daytona Beach, FL) 5 July 2007-- Michael Shank Racing was the highest-finishing Lexus-powered Daytona Prototype on Thursday night in the Brumos 250 at Daytona International Speedway as Ian James and...
Michael Shank Racing lead Lexus at Daytona
(Daytona Beach, FL) 5 July 2007-- Michael Shank Racing was the highest-finishing Lexus-powered Daytona Prototype on Thursday night in the Brumos 250 at Daytona International Speedway as Ian James and John Pew co-drove to a fourth place finish in the Playboy-liveried No. 6.
"I think it was a great team effort," said James. "Our pit stops and our in and out laps were quick, and the car just got much better after the changes Dale (Wise, MSR Technical Director) made to the car. I had a great battle with the 58 car, and was able to just track him down and then get comfortable distance behind me to the finish."
The result launched Pew to the Daytona podium post-race to collect the Jim Trueman medal for the round as he smiled and posed for photographers with his new hardware after a long day at Daytona.
"This was a fantastic race--the team gave me a great car, and Ian did a great job tonight," said Pew. "This team is great to work with and I'm really enjoying this. I haven't had the best experiences here at Daytona before, but I love this track and I can't wait to come back here for the 24 hours."
The sister Michael Shank Racing Lexus-Riley entry of Mark Patterson and Oswaldo Negri finished seventh after a wheel failed and dislodged itself at speed, forcing Negri into the pits at slow speed and disrupting his path to a top-five finish.
"I didn't know what happened, I could just feel it wasn't right," said Negri. "We lost some time on that but were able to fight back to the finish. We haven't had the break we deserve yet, but we are fighters and will just keep trying. The team is doing a great job, and so long as we are competitive like we were this weekend, good things will happen."
Negri had been well-placed for a strong result after Patterson carded the best qualifying result of his Rolex career with eighth on the grid, and got off to a flying start to the race, running in seventh in the opening laps and more than holding his own irrespective of who the challengers were.
"It was great to be ahead of a pro driver like Rojas, who drives for a team like Ganassi, and to be holding him off like that," said Patterson "It's a shame what happened to Oz with the wheel-you just can't win on three wheels!"
The Daytona event is a tough challenge for the team, not just for the intense one-day schedule, but when set against a five races-in-six-weekend stretch, poses some significant logistical challenges. But the Columbus-based squad was more than up to the task, scoring yet another double top-ten finish and strengthening positions in the Rolex team championship.
"Its too bad what happened with the 60 car because otherwise I think we'd have had two cars in the top five tonight," said Shank. "Ian put in another outstanding performance-he's a real game day player and this result will move us up in the points with the 6 car. But it was a good day overall for us performance-wise and with the points, so we'll just pack up and start getting ready for Iowa."