Michael Shank Racing Targets Homestead Podium Looking for third consecutive podium at South Florida facility COLUMBUS, OH (2 March 2010)-After a double-top ten finish in the Rolex 24 At Daytona, Michael Shank Racing will aim for a return to ...
Michael Shank Racing Targets Homestead Podium
Looking for third consecutive podium at South Florida facility
COLUMBUS, OH (2 March 2010)-After a double-top ten finish in the Rolex 24 At Daytona, Michael Shank Racing will aim for a return to the Homestead Miami Speedway podium on Saturday afternoon in the Grand Prix of Miami as the championship moves to the sprint format with a two hour, forty-five minute race at the South Florida facility.
The team has a record of podium performances at the track stretching back to 2004, when Oswaldo Negri and Burt Frisselle scored third in the teams second Rolex Sports Car Series presented by Crown Royal Cask No. 16 start.
Michael Shank Racing once again comes prepared for the Grand Prix of Miami with a strong driver line up on both sides of the two-car Daytona Prototype effort.
"We've always been quick at Homestead, and if we can get some good racing luck we should be a threat to win with both our cars," said team owner Mike Shank. "We have four sprint races ahead of us, and this is where the championship really starts to play out so we just want to build on what we started at Daytona, stay out of trouble, make the most of the speed we have and come out of here with as many points as possible-- hopefully with some hardware to show for it!"
Two drivers who will be relishing the short trip to the race weekend are fellow Florida residents John Pew (North Palm Beach) and Oswaldo Negri (Miami), who will once again team in the No. 60 Crown Royal XR Ford-Riley.
Coming from much colder climates will be the co-drivers of the sister No. 6 The Pit Stop on Norris Lake Ford Riley, which will be shared by Vancouver's Michael Valiante and Aspen resident Brian Frisselle. The 2009 Grand-Am season finale was held at Homestead, with Negri scoring third to close out the year with co-driver Mark Patterson. Negri has long shown a propensity for podiums at the track, including also taking third with a Ford Mustang in his GRAND-AM Continental Tires debut at the track last March.
Negri and Pew are both frequent visitors to Homestead's karting facility, and are looking forward to getting back into the Crown Royal XR Daytona Prototype this weekend.
"It is fantastic for me to be racing at Homestead and I just can't wait to get the weekend started," said Negri, who has called Miami home ever since moving from his native Brazil and is active in his community. "Even though it is just 28 days, February is always a very long month because you got so focused on the 24 in January, and when that race is over, all you want to do is get back in the car the next weekend!
"So for me I am very eager for this weekend to start," continued Negri. "I don't know what it is about the track exactly, but I have had a lot of success at Homestead, and Michael Shank Racing always has a good set up. John and I worked very well together at Daytona and I think it's going to be a good weekend for us to race at home and hopefully get some good points for the championship with a podium. It was very special for me to have my family with me here for the podium last year, and it would be fantastic to do that again this weekend!"
Negri isn't the only one who has been counting down the days to the home race weekend.
"Karting is of course a great way to keep sharp and be ready for the next weekend, but there is still just no substitute for getting into a Daytona Prototype. So I can't wait for this weekend to get started," said Pew. "The laps at Homestead are quick, especially compared to Daytona, and you have to have a car that is balanced on the oval but also good on the infield. Dale (Kanning, Engineer, No. 60 Crown Royal XR) always comes up with something good for the set-up, and hopefully we can get a good start to the second half of the season with a good run on Saturday night."
The sister No. 6 of Brian Frisselle and Valiante was in podium position late in the Rolex 24 at Daytona before the effort was halted after 707 laps of running. After showing that kind of pace for over 22 hours, the duo are focused on putting everything out there this weekend to make up some lost ground in the championship.
The duo should be drivers to watch, as Valiante was a regular visitor to the top of the time sheets in 2009, and Brian Frisselle qualified on the front row for the 2009 running of the Miami Grand Prix.
"We had a very fast car at Homestead last October, but the race didn't go our way (contact from another car)," said Valiante. "So I'm optimistic about this weekend and I think we'll have a good set-up to start from and hopefully we can just get faster as the weekend goes on. It was a disappointing finish for us at the 24, so I'd like to make up for that a little bit with a good run this weekend and I think we'll have the car to do that."
"I'm excited about getting into the rhythm of the sprint races here at Homestead, Barber, and VIR," said Frisselle. "The 24 is it's own kind of race, and now everything goes up one level as far as these weekends, particularly as the schedule is pretty intense with practice and qualifying on Friday and then just one morning warm up before we race in the afternoon. I'm looking forward to having Michael as my co-driver, and just can't wait to get down there and get to work."
The race weekend marks the first Rolex Sports Car Series event that Mark Patterson has not driven for Michael Shank Racing since the two-time Trueman Award winner first made a partial season campaign in 2005. Patterson will return to Rolex Sports Car Series action in June at Watkins Glen.
-source: michael shank racing