Michael Shank Racing moves to within four points of championship lead in Rolex Sports Car Series standings The little team that can continues to fight Michael Shank Racing (MSR) emerged from round three of the Rolex Sports Car Series just four...
Michael Shank Racing moves to within four points of championship lead in Rolex Sports Car Series standings
The little team that can continues to fight
Michael Shank Racing (MSR) emerged from round three of the Rolex Sports Car Series just four points out of the lead in the team championship battle after scoring a hard-fought sixth place finish at Phoenix International Raceway. MSR was third in the championship battle heading to Phoenix, and managed to retain the position while moving ever closer to the championship lead. The Rolex Series has proven to be fiercely competitive this season, with three different winners thus far in three events.
The team, which led Lexus' first lead lap in Daytona Prototype competition at the Rolex 24 in Daytona, is also aggressively pursuing team partners in order to secure the funding required to race the full season and has worked hard to make the most of assets the team has to compete with the bigger budget teams.
This was evident during the qualifying session in Phoenix, as a team approach was used to time the qualifying run to perfection, helping to secure third on the grid after scoring a nearly traffic-free run, thanks to communication from the spotter to the team. The spotter had a vested interest in the team qualifying well, as it was MSR driver Burt Frisselle's father Brad overlooking the session. The team knows that it will have to use every tool at hand to be competitive and consistent over the season.
"We want to be in the top five every single session this season," said award winning team owner Mike Shank. "We know that's the way to compete for the championship-to be fast, but also consistently finishing well, and we have the right package with the Doran and Lexus, as well as two very talented drivers, to do that."
Shank, who is campaigning his first season as a Daytona Prototype team owner after years of success in the Toyota Atlantic ranks, is proud of his small team for what they have been able to accomplish thus far against teams with more experience and more money.
"The competition is very close here in Grand-Am, and my guys have really stepped up quickly and adjusted to what it takes to be competitive," said Shank. "We are learning a lot, and keep improving our approach to every race weekend."
Based in Columbus, Ohio, MSR was formed in 1989 when Michael Shank first began driving racing cars professionally, taking the award as SCCA-Ohio Valley Region's Novice Driver of the Year. Shank retired from the cockpit in 1997 after moving up the motorsports ladder to focus his efforts on running the team, which quickly found success in the CART Toyota Atlantic Championship, with several race wins leading Shank to be named as Team Owner of the Year twice in four years. MSR has campaigned drivers including Johnny Rutherford Jr., Kenny Wilden, and 2001 and 2002 Indy Racing League champion Sam Hornish, Jr. MSR is making the transition to the Rolex Series from open-wheel competition for the 2004 season in the Rolex Sports Car Series, campaigning a Lexus-powered Doran JE4.