Feature profile--Mike Shank is a man on the move (Columbus, OH)- 18 August 05-- As Michael Shank Racing ramps up to race on their home track with a two-car Daytona Prototype entry in next weekend's EMCO Gears Classic at Mid-Ohio Sports Car ...
Feature profile--Mike Shank is a man on the move
(Columbus, OH)- 18 August 05-- As Michael Shank Racing ramps up to race on their home track with a two-car Daytona Prototype entry in next weekend's EMCO Gears Classic at Mid-Ohio Sports Car course, team owner Mike Shank is a man on the move.
Picking up and testing a brand new race car in Indianapolis, keeping up with Columbus-area promotional efforts in advance of the race, and working on plans for the continued growth of the team are just a few of the items on Mike Shank's to-do list beyond the normal day to day duties of operating a race team in this highly-competitive Rolex Sports Car Series.
After the team got home in the early morning hours last Saturday night following an eighth-place finish in the CompUSA at the Glen, it was home for some well-deserved rest for the crew before returning to the shop Saturday afternoon to unload the Mears Motor Coach Riley in preparation for the Mid-Ohio event.
Even though the Glen race was the shortest event of the season, lasting just over two hours, nearly everything in and on the Mears Motor Coach car is taken off, checked, cleaned, and replaced in preparation for another weekend of battle. The guys were happy that the car crossed the finish line without so much as a scratch, meaning no calls for new bodywork were necessary.
Preparations continued Monday on the Mears Motor Coach car, and on Tuesday, Mike and several members of the team traveled to the Riley Technologies factory in Indianapolis to pick up a brand new chassis, number 019, which was immediately pressed into duty with Oswaldo Negri and Mark Patterson during a test day on Wednesday to shake down the car and solve any 'new-car' bugs that might come up.
"It's exciting for us to get our hands on this car," said Shank. "We have been progressing as a team towards this kind of opportunity since we first joined the Rolex Series, and are really looking forward to being competitive with a two-car effort like we were at Laguna."
Meanwhile, back in Columbus, team members are preparing to load the 6 car as part of a major promotional event in Columbus which will see over three thousand potential race fans get up close and personal with the bright yellow and black Mears Motor Coach machine.
On Thursday, both cars will be back in the shop as the team works to turn them around and be ready for battle. It takes more than just race cars to be successful, and the team is also working on making sure that all the new pit equipment, radios, and support equipment acquired for the two-car effort is working as it should.
Amongst this flurry of activity, Shank will also be overseeing pit stop practice for both crews as hard work and attention to detail define how this team operates. As work continues on the cars through the weekend, Shank will be taking a break from the shop to appear on a sports show, Wall to Wall Sports, on the Columbus-area CBS station on Sunday night, talking about his team and the upcoming Mid-Ohio event.
Monday and Tuesday will see the cars getting their final touches, with the right decals and detail work being finalized, as the cars will be loaded Tuesday night to take off for the track first thing on Wednesday to get to the track as the team 'gets to work' once again, setting up in preparation for Thursday's official test day.
Juggling this kind of load is nothing new for Mike and his team, as they staged successful three-car efforts while contesting in the Toyota Atlantic Championship. Despite the lack of sleep and the frantic pace, you won't hear a word of complaint from Shank.
"No way," smiled Shank. "It's hard work and long days, but this is what me and all the guys live for-we're racers, and this is what we do, so I think we all have some extra adrenaline because this is a special opportunity for us-we first came together as a team a long time ago when I was racing myself at Mid-Ohio, and for our friends and family to see us in action and see how this organization has really grown, it's just fantastic and we can't wait."
While all these things are going on, Shank is also working with his local government on plans for a new team race shop, which will see the team move from an 8,000 square foot location to one that is nearly 20,000 square feet and will be ideal to house a two-car Daytona Prototype operation with room to spare.
As if all this activity weren't enough, Shank is filling any free minute he gets with some of the other crucial activities for his team's future, working on securing new team partners for 2006 and beyond, making final revisions to marketing pieces and sponsor proposals as Mike Shank and his team keep stepping up for each new challenge.
Michael Shank Racing 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 joined the Rolex ranks in 2004, leading the first race it entered and making two podium appearances with drivers Burt Frisselle and Oswaldo Negri, Jr.
Canadian based Investment Banking and Securities firm Graydon Elliott Capital specializes in a wide range of financial advisory services and products. The rapidly expanding company will be utilizing its connection with the Michael Shank Racing team to continue its expansion into the US. Visit www.graydonelliott.com.
Michael Shank Racing benefits from the support of team partners including the Mears Transportation Group (www.mearstransportation.com) and Graydon Elliott Capital (www.graydonelliott.com).
-Matt Cleary, Sunday Group Management