Mexico City: Michael Shank Racing Thursday notes

Patterson sets fastest time in Trueman session Solid first day of practice for Michael Shank Racing in Mexico City (Mexico City, MX) 17 April 08 -- Michael Shank Racing driver Mark Patterson set the fastest time of Thursday's final Rolex Sports...

Patterson sets fastest time in Trueman session
Solid first day of practice for Michael Shank Racing in Mexico City

(Mexico City, MX) 17 April 08 -- Michael Shank Racing driver Mark Patterson set the fastest time of Thursday's final Rolex Sports Car Series practice session in Mexico City, topping the Trueman Award participants session with a 1:22.411-second lap of the 2.5-mile Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez in the No. 60 Ford-powered Riley.

Both Michael Shank Racing team entries were up to speed quickly in the full Rolex practice sessions, with the Patterson/Oswaldo Negri machine setting the fourth fastest time of the day as the sister machine of John Pew and Ian James scored seventh on the charts to close out the opening day of practice for Saturday's Mexico City 250.

"This track was unbelievably dirty the first two sessions, as if no one had cleaned it up at all," said Patterson. "But our car just got better all day no matter what the conditions. I'm naturally pleased to lead the Trueman practice session, but what we are really focused on is the race. The car is working really well--it seems to require very little effort to go quickly, you don't have to fight it, and that's going to be really important once the race gets going. Oz is once again doing a fantastic job--he loves it here in Mexico City and he really knows this track. You can tell that just by watching the time sheets, and also by seeing the other drivers talking to him, trying to get some pointers on the place!"

The team, which scored a podium at the high-altitude facility in 2006 and enters the race weekend fresh from a strong run to third at Homestead, is looking to generate as much championship momentum possible while South of the Border before returning stateside for next weekend's Bosch 250 at Virginia International Raceway.

The race weekend marks the Mexico City debut for John Pew, who also posted fast times in the Trueman-award practice session, shading Patterson by less than two seconds on a track that rewards familiarity. Pew got a head start on the weekend utilizing computer simulation to get a feel for the track, and spent Wednesday walking the full course to get a close up look. But after Thursday, he knows that there is no substitute for the real thing.

"It's a lot different to be driving in an actual car rather than on a computer!" joked Pew. "But it was good to do the homework that I did before getting here so I was able to get going quickly that much faster. I know there are some places where I am leaving a little bit of time on the table, but today was just about getting as comfortable as possible before qualifying tomorrow and of course Saturday's race. This was a good start to the weekend, and hopefully we can just keep making progress with the car."

-credit: msr

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About this article
Series Grand-Am
Drivers Ian James , Oswaldo Negri Jr. , John Pew , Michael Shank
Teams Michael Shank Racing