Negri relishes return to Homestead podium (Miami, FL) 2 April 2008-- "It's good to be home," was Oswaldo Negri's succinct conclusion after the Miami-based racer took a third place finish co-driving with Mark Patterson in the Rolex Sports Car ...
Negri relishes return to Homestead podium
(Miami, FL) 2 April 2008-- "It's good to be home," was Oswaldo Negri's succinct conclusion after the Miami-based racer took a third place finish co-driving with Mark Patterson in the Rolex Sports Car Series GAINSCO Grand Prix this weekend at Homestead Miami Speedway for Michael Shank Racing.
The podium sparked memories of Negri's first Rolex race appearance for Mike Shank some four short years ago, which saw the Brazilian-born racer score a podium with Burt Frisselle in the closing laps of the race.
The 2008 Rolex Sports Car Series season has got off to a strong start for Negri and Patterson, as the No. 60 Ford-Riley first took pole for the Rolex 24 with Negri at the wheel and then finished the race in sixth position. That result, teamed with third at Homestead this weekend, now sets the duo third in the Rolex championship points standings.
"We knew we had a fast car but that only counts for so much if you aren't smart and don't make it to the finish," said Negri. "Dave Kanning and Michael Shank Racing have changed our focus for the next few races to make the most out of the shorter distances, and it paid off already today."
Negri emerged from a tough late race battle for the final position podium position with Marc Goossens, his former teammate, as the two went side-by-side on several occasions but Negri never lost his verve and kept the position.
"He joked that he'd have done the same to me!" said Negri after the race.
If Negri seems anxious to get back in the car and racing again, it can largely be explained by his appreciation for the next track the series will visit-the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez-a track where he earned championship laurels in formula car competition before setting some blazing fast times in the Michael Shank Racing Daytona Prototype when the Rolex Series first visited the facility in 2006.
"I love it there (Mexico City)," said Negri. "I have been living in Miami for a long time and my family is here so Homestead is the closest track for me, but when we go down for the Mexico City race, it really is like coming home because of all the good memories I have there. The track is also quite challenging, but we've been quite fast there with the Michael Shank car, so I am really looking ahead to that race already. We have to get as much as possible out of these sprint races and just avoid any mistakes or problems so we can get into a good rhythm and keep collecting points in the championship."
The team will look to continue the positive momentum in Mexico City in three weeks' time for round three of the 2008 Rolex Sports Car Series season.