Laguna Seca: Michael Shank Racing qualifying report

Michael Shank Racing starting on front row for U.S. Sportscar Invitational Mears Motor Coach machine to line up on fifth row (Columbus, OH) 6 May 06-- The Flight Options Lexus-powered Riley of Oswaldo Negri and Mark Patterson will start on the...

Michael Shank Racing starting on front row for U.S. Sportscar Invitational

Mears Motor Coach machine to line up on fifth row

(Columbus, OH) 6 May 06-- The Flight Options Lexus-powered Riley of Oswaldo Negri and Mark Patterson will start on the front row for Sunday's U.S. Sportscar Invitational after Negri finished second in the half-hour qualifying race at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca on Saturday. The race pays full championship points, and the second runner-up finish for the team this season has moved the Flight Options machine up to fifth in the overall championship.

The result marks the second time that the Negri/Patterson combination has started on the front row at Laguna Seca after Negri set the track record in Daytona Prototype qualifying last season to win pole position. Negri started the qualifying race from second position, and shadowed the race winner throughout, but was pleased to take second at the finish.

"The start was good, everyone was very aggressive but clean," said Negri. "Dalziel and I went two wide into the corkscrew on the first lap, but it was no problem, everyone was really heads up out there. After that, I was just trying to pressure the Porsche into making a mistake, but unfortunately he did a really good job and never made one. It's a good finish and I'm really happy to get the points for Michael Shank Racing. Mark (Patterson) is even faster than he was here last year, and I know he's going to do a fantastic job for us tomorrow."

The sister Mears Motor Coach Lexus/Riley of Antoine Bessette and Mike Borkowski will start from tenth on the grid for Sunday's two hour and forty-five minute race after Borkowski brought the car home in tenth despite a difficult race start.

"I had a good run at the start, but one of the guys went off ahead of me and then came right back onto the track, so I had to check up and I just got freight trained," said Borkowski. "So I had to work just to get back up to tenth, and we just ran out of laps to make up any more ground. But the car is good, and I know Antoine will be able to make the most of a top-ten start tomorrow."

The double top-ten result for the team was welcomed by team owner Mike Shank, who is looking to add to the Ohio-based squad's Rolex podium count this weekend.

"This is right where we want to be for tomorrow," said team owner Mike Shank. "Oz gave everything he had, but that 23 car just had everyone covered today. But having both cars in the top ten is a good way for us to start the race tomorrow-its going to be a long one, so hopefully we can just stay out of trouble and get more points because we have another good chance to move up in the championship with both cars."

Sunday's U.S. Sportscar Invitational is slated to start at 3:00 PM ET, with Speed Channel carrying a live broadcast.

-msr-

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About this article
Series Grand-Am
Drivers Oswaldo Negri Jr. , Antoine Bessette , Mark Patterson , Michael Shank
Teams Michael Shank Racing