Millville: Michael Shank Racing preview

(Millville, NJ) 27 August 08 - Well before the Supercar Life 250 takes the green flag at 1:00 PM ET on Sunday afternoon, there was already another race underway as Michael Shank Racing transporters decamped from a disappointing race outing last ...

(Millville, NJ) 27 August 08 - Well before the Supercar Life 250 takes the green flag at 1:00 PM ET on Sunday afternoon, there was already another race underway as Michael Shank Racing transporters decamped from a disappointing race outing last Saturday at Infineon Raceway and embarked on the 2,900 mile journey across the country to Millville, New Jersey for the Supercar Life 250 as the Rolex Sports Car Series gathers on the opposite coast for the penultimate round of the 2008 season.

Sunday's race, which will enjoy a live broadcast on SPEED, will mark the first mixed-class Rolex race since the Series' visit to Montreal earlier this month. The event is the first major professional race weekend to be held on the newly constructed 2.25-mile natural terrain circuit in southern New Jersey, and the team is looking forward to taking on the challenge that the brand-new track presents.

John Pew will look to post another strong qualifying performance before handing the No. 6 Ford-Riley off to co-driver Ian James, as the sister No. 60 Ford-Riley machine will be shared by Mark Patterson and Oswaldo Negri.

"I'm really excited about getting to learn a new track and seeing how much progress we can make as quickly as possible this weekend," said Pew, who scored seventh on the grid at Infineon last weekend before track debris cut a cooling line on the No. 6 entry. "Every driver is always looking for a new challenge, and it's going to be fun to learn this track and find the fast way around as quickly as possible. The engineers have worked really hard to come up with a good set-up for us to start the weekend off, and hopefully we'll be on the right path from the start."

The debut Rolex weekend will open with a promoter test day on Thursday, with practice on Friday as the grid is set on Saturday in advance of Sunday's 1:00 PM race start.

The last time the Rolex Series visited a new race track, with the Series' inaugural visit to Miller Motorsports Park in 2006, Michael Shank Racing emerged victorious, something the team will once again target this weekend.

"Competing on a new track is always something you look forward to, and hopefully the weather will cooperate with us this weekend so we don't have that extra variable," said Patterson, who will look to close the gap to the leader in the Trueman Award standings. "Infineon didn't go at all as we'd hoped, so we'd like to make some of that championship ground up with a strong run this weekend. I'm really looking forward to the challenge of running on a brand-new track, and we are all confident that our engineers Dave Kanning and Jeff Schaffner will have a good solution right from the start."

The Millville location sets the track within driving distance of several major metropolitan areas from Washington DC to New York City as the Daytona Protoypes and GT machines break in a new venue.

"It's exciting for the Rolex Series to be expanding into new markets and new tracks like New Jersey Motorsports Park," said team owner Mike Shank. "I think it's good for the series and it's going to be a new challenge for everyone just to find their way around on the track and off. But we've done all the homework we can think of, so now it's just a matter of hitting the track and seeing what we need to improve on from there. We had some bad luck out at Infineon and we're looking forward to putting that behind us and coming out of this weekend with some more points."

-credit: msr

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About this article
Series Grand-Am
Drivers Ian James , John Pew , Mark Patterson , Michael Shank
Teams Michael Shank Racing