Montreal: Michael Shank Racing race report

(Montreal, Que) 1 August 2008 -John Pew and Ian James backed up their run to a debut podium at Barber Motorsports Park with another top ten Rolex Sports Car Series result on Friday, scoring seventh in the Montreal 200 at the Circuit Gilles ...

(Montreal, Que) 1 August 2008 -John Pew and Ian James backed up their run to a debut podium at Barber Motorsports Park with another top ten Rolex Sports Car Series result on Friday, scoring seventh in the Montreal 200 at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve in the No. 6 Michael Shank Racing Ford/Riley combination.

Pew had a strong opening stint, moving up to eighth in the cut and thrust of the opening laps after qualifying 12th earlier in the day. Pew kept his top-ten form throughout the stint before turning the car over to James, who made up ground quickly despite having to turn off all of his driver cooling systems to preserve power after an alternator issue. The two hour race had two caution periods, setting the stage for an exciting dual which ultimately saw fuel economy play strongly into the final results.

"Dale (Wise) and Erik (Peterson) definitely did their sums right today because we finished the race with exactly as much fuel as we needed to cross the line," said James, who emerged from the car in fine shape despite not having his cooling systems in place. "The car was pretty strong in the closing laps and I had a chance to get one more position, but it was too close to take that chance and you have to be mindful not only of what you are racing for, but also who you are racing against. So we just brought the car home in good shape. Another yellow late in the race would have been perfect, but this is another good points result for us."

"That was an exciting race!" said Pew. "There was a lot going on during my stint all around me. The car didn't have perfect balance, but I was able to make up some ground early and that was fun, and Ian did a great job at the end. Now I'm really looking forward to the Glen because we had a great test there earlier this season, and it's just a track that I love racing on."

The sister No. 60 of Mark Patterson and Oswaldo Negri was unable to finish the two-hour event after a fire in the back of the car forced Negri to retire the machine. Negri calmly pulled the Riley to a safety point on the circuit as he deployed the fire extinguishing system on the car, which fortunately resolved the situation on the spot. After entering the race weekend 4th in the standings, the incident was a serious blow to the No. 60 machine's championship position.

"We had a solid weekend going and a good race with both cars, but obviously what happened with the fire is going to hurt the 60 car in the championship and that is really frustrating," said team owner Mike Shank. "We haven't got the car back yet to see what caused the problem, but fortunately Ozz got out of there safely and hopefully there isn't too much damage. John had a really good stint, he just went right at it and did a great job. Now we are just focused on the Glen. We've been on the podium there before, so hopefully we can do that again next week. The test we had after the 6 Hour went well, so we're confident about our chances again and hopefully we can make up some ground in the championship."

Qualifying recap:

Michael Shank Racing Ready To Sprint in Montreal

Michael Shank Racing will start the Montreal 200 from the sixth and eighth rows of the combined Daytona Prototype and GT class grid in Montreal on Friday for round ten of the 2008 Rolex Sports Car Series championship. The afternoon qualifying session will be followed in short order by the green flag for the two hour event, the shortest race of the Rolex Sports Car Series season.

John Pew will lead the Michael Shank Racing charge with his lap of 1:36.232 seconds, which was within one second of the the previous track record on the 2.7-mile facility as he struggled with an understeering Ford-Riley combination.

"From turn-in to apex, the car has a pretty big push, so hopefully thats something we can make some progress on before the race starts," said Pew. "But overall, the car is good; I kept trying to leave some room for a gap, and every time I'd catch someone up so that didn't help my fast lap time. But that's encouraging for our pace in the race this afternoon."

The No. 60 Ford-Riley of Mark Patterson and Oswaldo Negri will take the green flag from 15th on the grid after Patterson set a fast lap time of 1:36.875 seconds during the 15-minute qualifying session.

"We still have some work to do with this car because we just aren't getting everything we want out of our braking set-up, and it is a tough car to drive right now," said Patterson after he made a quick check to confirm that he had only come very close to hitting the wall, but not having actually done so. "We will have to see what this track feels like after the NASCAR cars run and put another layer of rubber down."

Michael Shank Racing will travel directly to Watkins Glen for round 11 of Rolex Series competition for a Daytona Protoype only race on August 8 as part of the NASCAR Sprint Cup event weekend.

-credit: msr

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About this article
Series Grand-Am
Drivers Ian James , Gilles Villeneuve , Oswaldo Negri Jr. , John Pew , Mark Patterson , Michael Shank
Teams Michael Shank Racing