Michael Shank Racing finishes 7th in Fontana Finale Fontana, California (31 October 04)--The Michael Shank Racing Lexus-powered Doran finished seventh in the season-ending Lexus Grand American Champions Weekend at California Speedway after ...
Michael Shank Racing finishes 7th in Fontana Finale
Fontana, California (31 October 04)--The Michael Shank Racing Lexus-powered Doran finished seventh in the season-ending Lexus Grand American Champions Weekend at California Speedway after running as high as third in the early stages of the eighty-nine lap event. Oswaldo Negri took the green flag from seventh on the grid, but was shuffled down the order after going off-track to avoid a spinning car on the first lap, falling to twelfth in the ensuing yellow flag period.
On the restart, Negri put his head down and made a charge towards the front, passing car after car on his way up to third before handing the car over to Burt Frisselle, who rejoined the field in eighth after the pit stop. Frisselle made some moves of his own, moving up to take fifth place before holding off former Formula One driver Jan Magnussen for several laps before finally ceding the position.
"I held him off as long as I could, but a GT car chopped down on me in the banking, and I had a big loose moment but was able to catch the car and keep it off the wall but Jan was able to get by me," said Frisselle.
Frisselle held on to sixth as he turned the car back over to Negri, who rejoined in eighth in the closing stages of the race. Negri fought back again, but the car just didn't have the pace in the closing laps, preventing him from moving up beyond the seventh position.
"We did pretty well in the early stages, but we had a vibration develop in the car, and in the end, I was just hanging on to it," said Negri. "It's a shame because we were hungry to get Mike further up in the championship, but at least we were able to get to the finish today."
"This has been a great season for me and this team-we have had some huge highs, and some tough races, but the team never lost focus and I think we showed how strong this little group is all season," continued Negri. "I hope that we are able to work together in the future, because this has been one of the best experiences I have had in my career."
Team owner Mike Shank was also disappointed with the result, but was happy that the car made it to the finish without suffering from contact with any other cars.
"It's a disappointing result given how fast we were early in the race," said team owner Mike Shank. "But it's a finish, and after the last two races we've had, its pretty good to get to the finish and still be fighting for it at the end."
Shank still considered the season a success, and is looking forward to the future with his team.
"It's really been a banner year for Michael Shank Racing, and I want to thank our drivers Burt and Oswaldo, and everyone who supported us this season, especially Kevin Doran, the Frisselles, TRD and Lexus, and of course my guys, who really made this happen all season."
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.