Home Sweet Homestead as Negri and Pew Gear up for Grand Prix of Miami
Homestead, FL (2 March 2011)- It has long been said that there is no place like home, but for Michael Shank Racing drivers John Pew and Ozz Negri, there is no place like Homestead-Miami Speedway.
After opening the 2011 season with a run to 10th in the Rolex 24 At Daytona with the No. 60 Crown Royal XR Ford-Riley in January, the duo will look to build championship momentum in their second full season as co-drivers for Michael Shank Racing this Saturday as the GRAND-AM Rolex Sport Car Series presented by Crown Royal Cask No. 16 stages the first sprint (2.75 hours) race of the year.
The duo is frequently to be found at the karting facility on the grounds of Homestead-Miami Speedway. The build-up to the race has seen Negri and Pew both participating in a range of media and community appearances as the South Florida market prepares for the second race of the GRAND-AM season.
"In terms of goals for the weekend, racing at Homestead is no different for me than any other track this year---we want to qualify well, keep improving through the weekend, and be in a position to fight for a podium every round this year," said Pew, who earned the honor as top Pro-Am driver in 2010. So in terms of our goals for the weekend, Homestead isn't different. But of course, we'll both have so many familiar faces with friends and family this weekend that it does drive you just that little bit more!"
Since taking his first Rolex Sports Car Series podium at the oval-based road course with Michael Shank Racing in 2004, the track has always had a special place in Negri's heart. With podiums in both Rolex Sport Car Series and Continental Sports Car Challenge to his credit at the track, Negri is still looking to see what the view from the top step of the podium is like at his home track.
"We've had some very good days there and after not getting everything that we were hoping for points-wise out of Daytona, it'd be great to make some ground up this weekend," said Negri. "It will be interesting to see how the weekend plays out--It is a very compressed event so getting a good start to the weekend will be key because there is so little time to catch up so hopefully we are quick right off the truck. Of course, for me it is great to know that 'll have all my family with me for the race and even though it means a busy weekend, I wouldn't trade it for anything. Hopefully we have something good to celebrate after the race!"
The sprint race marks the start of three rounds of Rolex competition featuring 2.75-hour races as the championship contenders vie for points to open up the year. The Homestead visit follows a successful test at the track in December for Michael Shank Racing, and the team hopes to use that data to get a quick start to the event.
"We were encouraged with how things went in our test at Homestead in December, and we know how important it is going to be to unload with a fast car this weekend," said team owner Mike Shank.
"Obviously John and Ozz know this place like the back of their hands, and it seems like every time I talk to them they are coming back from doing some karting there at Homestead! It was good to make it to the finish in the 24 with the Crown Royal, but we've still got a lot of ground to make up in the points so this is a big weekend for us."