Michael Shank Racing Qualifies Third at Homestead Oswaldo Negri took the ...
Michael Shank Racing Qualifies Third at Homestead
Oswaldo Negri took the #6 Lexus-powered Doran JE4 to third on the grid for Saturday's Rolex Sports Car Series race for the Grand Prix of Miami at Homestead Miami Speedway in Homestead, Florida, with a fast lap time of 1:14.166 (111.641 MPH) seconds around the 2.3-mile road course. The qualifying showed the Daytona Prototype category to be extremely competitive, as positions two through ten on the grid qualified within one second. Negri will be at the wheel for the green flag, and will team with Burt Frisselle in the 250-mile event.
Negri set his fastest time on his fourth flying lap during the fifteen minute qualifying session, and was more than two seconds faster than the previous track record. Award-winning team owner Michael Shank was pleased with the grid position the team earned in qualifying, but knows that it's the race that matters.
"We have been just focusing on our race set up all weekend, because that's really what's going to count the most- to be fast and consistent for the race tomorrow," said Shank. "We could have thrown on some of the softer compound cars (MSR ran the harder compound Goodyear tire option) and put in a faster lap in qualifying, but we just wanted to stay focused on what we need to do to be good in the race and keep improving the car. We have to thank our partners at Lexus as well--four of the top five cars are Lexus, and I think that shows the strength of the engine."
Negri and Frisselle have come up to speed quickly in their first race weekend with MSR, posting times in the top five in each of the weekends first three practice sessions before posting the teams fastest lap of the weekend in qualifying.
"We are feeling confident about tomorrows race, since that is what we have been concentrating on all weekend," said Negri. "We ran the harder compound tire to keep the car consistent for the race, but we were still able to put up a strong qualifying effort. It's really important to do well as we work to deliver results and attract new sponsors to the team. The team has gelled really well for the short time we have been working together and we will continue to work on the car tomorrow morning in practice, and should be competitive come race time."
The Rolex Sports Car Series race is set for Saturday, Feb. 28 from 3 pm to 5:45 pm, on the 2.3-mile Homestead-Miami Speedway infield road course in Homestead, Fla. The race will air on Speed Channel on Sunday, March 7 at 4 pm. all times ET
Based in Columbus, Ohio, MSR 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.