Michael Shank Racing Returns to Daytona Podium as Negri and Pew Score Third With Crown Royal XR Ford-Riley DAYTONA BEACH, FL (3 July 2010)- After taking a strong runner-up finish at the home track, Michael Shank Racing was looking to keep up ...
Michael Shank Racing Returns to Daytona Podium as Negri and Pew Score Third With Crown Royal XR Ford-Riley
DAYTONA BEACH, FL (3 July 2010)- After taking a strong runner-up finish at the home track, Michael Shank Racing was looking to keep up the podium momentum as the GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Series returned to Daytona International Speedway for the 100th Daytona Prototype race and Saturday's Brumos 250.
That mission was accomplished as John Pew and Ozz Negri backed up the Mid-Ohio second place result with a run to third in the No. 60 Crown Royal XR Ford-Riley. The result strengthens the teams championship situation as the No. 60 is just now two points shy of second in the championship standings.
As enjoyable as the back to back podium finish was for the No. 60 Crown Royal XR side of the team, the day looked as though it could have ended up even better as the sister No. 6 Ford-Dallara of Brian Frisselle and Michael Valiante led 12 laps and ran very well before a halfshaft issue halted the teams progress and prevented another probable double top-five finish.
Pew opened the race from the fifth row after scoring yet another top-ten spot on the grid, moving up early in the running and then advancing to the front of the field as an early caution period set various pit strategies into motion. No. 60 lead engineer Dave Kanning and Jeff Shaffner were also working on their own set of decisions and fuel strategy and called Pew in for a pit stop.
Negri took over and as he returned to the action, was 11th in the order but just put his head down on a track where he once held the track record. Negri, who was part of the celebrations surrounding the 100th Daytona Prototype race having raced in the very first DP event, put that experience to work as he used the solid speed of the Crown Royal XR machine as well as some canny strategy from the Michael Shank Racing pit wall to finish third at the checkered flag.
"Three podiums this year and two in a row now, these Crown Royal XR guys are just pushing it out," said team owner Mike Shank. "On a day where a lot of teams had trouble, we didn't, and they just kept it consistent. I'm super proud of them today. I'm also very happy with the performance with the six car--Brian did nothing but great things with the car. We obviously had some bad luck, again, with the six, but that car will get its day, soon."
The rain that plagued Friday's running didn't effect the race on Saturday, but the conditions were not easy as the heat and humidity were significant on the July afternoon in Daytona.
"We were fighting on every lap out there, and I had a problem with the cool suit and helmet blower not working so I was very warm in the car," said Negri. "This podium is all from team work. My engineers David and Jeff come up with strategy and it worked so well. I just had to hit my marks and make sure I was consistent. Barry Waddell was on the radio with me as the spotter and I couldn't ask for anyone better to have with me on the radio so I'm very happy to have him with me, another important part of the team effort. The rain didn't help us this weekend--I didn't have much time in the car before the race, but the car was still good enough for third and I'm extremely happy."
"The first stint was a bit rough for me because the track was pretty greasy, especially coming out of turn six," said Pew. "I didn't have any problem with the heat--I'm used to it living down here as long as I have. But I just wanted to give Ozz the car to take to the finish and take care of it as much as I could. I knew he'd do what needed to be done and it's great to be back up on the podium. Hopefully we can keep having these kinds of finishes and keep moving in the championship."
Even though it was just second time out with the machine for the team, the Daytona visit once again showed promise for the Dallara, which set the fourth fastest time in qualifying before starting the race from deep in the pack following a measurement issue in tech. But the setback saw the team utilize an alternative pit strategy to use.
But it wasn't just strategy that moved the blue six to the point, as it was also a healthy dose of speed and fast driving that had the car up front as Frisselle led 12 laps on his first set of tires, growing his lead despite being chased down by cars with newer rubber. But the run up front ended as the No. 6 machine finally ran out of grip, forcing Frisselle into the pits to turn the machine over to Valiante.
"I just lost it under braking, I had GT traffic and Rojas had a bit of a run and I just pushed the limit of the braking zone too far," said Frisselle. "It got loose and I gathered it, gathered it, but then lost it. The tires had fallen so far off at that point. We had been pretty strong on those old tires even against guys with new tires and I was able to build the gap back up. It's unfortunate because it had been a great stint up to that point."
The day ended early for the No. 6 when a half shaft failure on the No. 6 put paid to the strong run.
Michael Shank Racing will return to Rolex Series action in two weeks' time at New Jersey Motorsports Park.
-source: michael shank racing