Michael Shank loves racing and winning, and as an owner of a Rolex Sports Car Series Daytona Prototype team, he has proven to the racing world that he knows how to succeed. Winning the season-opening Rolex24 at Daytona, Shank was on top of the world and couldn’t wait to expand his ownership into the IZOD IndyCar Series. Forming an IndyCar team, his group bought a car but they had to shelve their plan when they couldn’t land an engine deal.
“That’s the biggest disappointment I have had in racing,” the Ohio native said. “It was a huge letdown after a huge investment on the team’s part. Being told we can’t have a competitive motor is hard to take. We still have the car, and we continue to work on some programs for next year.” While he’s holding out hope, you can sense he’s not overly optimistic.
Shank’s determination for having a car in the Indianapolis 500 went down to the wire. “Even after practice started, we were talking about throwing in a motor and giving it our best shot,” he said. “We had a driver (Jay Howard), sponsors and everything. I want to race, and I don’t want the car to become a trophy. It is tough to take when I have done this my whole life, and it is hard to talk about.”
Shank will race at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway later this month, but it will be with the Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series, which is making its debut at the famed track. Going into the Sahlen’s Six Hours of the Glen, the Michael Shank Racing with Curb/Agajanian Ford Riley team was the point leader for the newly constituted North American Endurance Championship. (NAEC is comprised of three rounds – the Rolex24 at Daytona, the Sahlen’s Six Hours of the Glen and the upcoming Brickyard Grand Prix at Indianapolis.) But a sixth-place effort at Watkins Glen dropped the team to fourth in points with drivers Ozz Negri and John Pew tied for third in the driver standings. (Two on-track incidents and one pit road mishap contributed to the team’s dismal day.)
While Shank will get his opportunity to race at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, it will be on the road course instead of the Indianapolis 500. However, if determination and persistence can be factored into the equation, Shank will return to Indy at a later date to realize his life-long dream of competing in the famed Indianapolis 500.