Mark Patterson Returns to Michael Shank Racing at Watkins Glen A familiar face returns to target Watkins Glen podium COLUMBUS, OH (13 May 2010)- Michael Shank Racing is pleased to announce that Mark Patterson will be back in Daytona Prototype...
Mark Patterson Returns to Michael Shank Racing at Watkins Glen
A familiar face returns to target Watkins Glen podium
COLUMBUS, OH (13 May 2010)- Michael Shank Racing is pleased to announce that Mark Patterson will be back in Daytona Prototype action on June 6th for the Sahlen's Six Hours of the Glen for round six of the 2010 GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Series championship. Patterson, who closed the 2009 season out with a run to the podium at Homestead Miami Speedway with co-driver Oswaldo Negri, will share the driving duties with Brian Frisselle and Michael Valiante in the No. 6 The Pit Stop at Norris Lake Ford-Riley entry.
The South African-born racer, who has an unprecedented two Jim Trueman Awards to his racing credit, also has a long record of success at the famed facility. In just his third career Rolex Sports Car Series race start, Patterson took a breakthrough podium finish on the short course in 2005. While the 2.45-mile Watkins Glen configuration has seen Patterson score strong qualifying results (personal best--6th, 2008) in addition to his race finishes, the 3.4-mile circuit that is traditionally utilized for the Glen 6 Hour event has frustrated Patterson's podium pursuit as he has twice scored fourth at the finish in the event (2006, 2008).
Patterson last raced with the team in the 2010 Rolex 24 At Daytona, but he has been far from idle since, twice making the trip across the pond for duty in the FIA GT3 series, where he shares the United Autosports Audi R8 with Michael Guasch.
"I'm very excited to be racing with Mike Shank once again next month and of all the tracks in the world, Watkins Glen has always been one of my favorites," said Patterson, who will add to his list of tracks when he races at Brno in the Czech Republic at the end of the month.
"Michael and Brian are two very fast young drivers, and we were well on our way to a strong result in the 24 before fate intervened, so hopefully we can make up for that with a podium next month. I know it will take a little bit of adjustment to come back from the GT3 car into the Daytona Prototype, but I'm sure it will feel just like being at home after a few laps."
Both Michael Shank Racing entries finished in the top five in the 2009 Glen 6 event, and the team would like to retain that kind of form as the organization fights for every position possible in the team championship standings.
"Mark has always been very fast at the Glen, so to have him join us for the 6 is a welcome boost for us," said team owner Mike Shank. "I know he's really hungry to be back up on the podium at Watkins Glen, especially for the Six Hour. We've had some very good cars there, and as the Rolex 24 showed, the driver line up was very strong with Michael, Brian, and Mark working really well together. It's going to be great to have him back."
While the VIR race weekend didn't bring the results that Michael Shank Racing had been hoping for, the weekend did at least produce a bright spot as Patterson made a surprise visit to the team ahead of the race, and received a rousing welcome from the crew as he joined the rooting section and reconnected with some familiar faces.
"It was great to visit the team and be back in the pits for the race--to smell the fumes and share the racing experience with my friends in the Michael Shank team," said Patterson. "But as much as I enjoyed that, I can't wait to upgrade from being a fan to being a driver again at Watkins Glen!"
The Sahlen's Six Hour will mark the second race in just six days for Michael Shank Racing, as Monday's Lime Rock Park Memorial day sprint race precedes the enduro format at Watkins Glen International.