Michael Shank - Ford interview

This Week in Ford Racing - April 6, 2011

Michael Shank, 2008
Michael Shank, 2008

Photo by: Eric Gilbert

This weekend the GRAND-AM Rolex Series heads to Barber Motorsports Park, a track that Michael Shank Racing is always happy to re-visit. Team owner, Michael Shank talks about the team going into this weekend’s race and his new partnership with United Autosports.

MICHAEL SHANK – Team Owner Michael Shank Racing – CAN YOU GIVE A STATE OF THE UNION ON MICHAEL SHANK RACING? “We’ve had some pretty good runs actually. At Daytona this year all three of our cars never went to the garage the whole time. The No. 23 car was in a position to win or finish on the podium but just couldn’t quite pull it off. We were super proud of those guys. They drove that car and have been driving for a really long time. They came out of semi-retirement and did just a heck of a job for us. The other two cars were plenty quick, and could have done really well also but just had little tiny problems that set us back in the morning hours. They all finished well and did a good job. The next race in Homestead we ran the No. 23 car and the No. 60 car and we were both one and two with about an hour to go. The No. 23 car led with about fifteen minutes to go and we just missed a tire cycle and fell off at the end. Both of them have proved competitive. We just haven’t had the results we think we deserve yet. We’re anxious to get to Barber this week. We’re only going to run one car though. We’re going to run the No. 60 Crown Royal Car.”

CAN YOU TALK ABOUT YOUR OVERALL TEAM PERFORMANCE AND HOW IT’S BEEN IN THE PAST AT BARBER ? “We have had four or five podiums there but we’ve never won. We’ve always done pretty well there. There’s only been maybe one race or one year where we didn’t get a podium. It’s been a pretty good track for us but I don’t want to put the hex on us because we only have one horse in the race this year. It’s been very good to us in the past.”

We just haven’t had the results we think we deserve yet.

Michael Shank

CAN YOU TALK ABOUT YOUR PARTNERSHIP WITH UNITED AUTOSPORTS AND RUNNING THE NO. 23 CAR THIS YEAR? “It’s been really good actually. Zak Brown owns United Autosports in the UK and he also owns Just Marketing here in the US. They’re probably the largest administrator of race car sponsorships in the world. They handle the account for NASCAR and our Series that would be the Crown Royal brands and Johnnie Walker in Formula 1. Zak came to me and wanted to run with himself and a group of guys, ex-Formula 1, Indy Cars guys who have run very well in the past and that was about it. We had a car available so we put the two efforts together. As the car sits as we go into Barber, it’s only three points out of P2 in the Championship. It’s just very unfortunate that we can’t run it there because it’s doing so well. We hope to continue this collaboration for a couple more years at least for the Daytona 24 Hour race. It just worked really well between both parties.”

HOW DO YOU FEEL ABOUT OZZI NEGRI AND JOHN PEW’S PERFORMANCE AT BARBER GOING INTO THIS WEEKEND’S RACE? “It’s been very good. I feel very good about it. We tested there. We ended our season there and literally a week later we tested at Barber on these new Continental Tires. We’ve had them there already. We’re anxious to get back. We think the car is going to roll off the trailer pretty well, and that will be key. Tire strategy is going to play a lot this year. I think Oz really understands about saving tires and John has been doing a great job. He had one of his best stints at Homestead and we’re looking forward to getting back into it.”

-souce: ford racing

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About this article
Series Grand-Am
Drivers Eric Gilbert , Michael Shank , Zak Brown
Teams Michael Shank Racing
Tags ford, prototype, rolex, shank racing