Phoenix: Michael Shank Racing preview

Michael Shank Racing focused on Phoenix (Reynoldsburg, OH) 9 September 05-- Michael Shank Racing will venture out West this weekend, visiting Phoenix International Raceway for round eleven of the 2005 Rolex Sports Car Series season. The Phoenix...

Michael Shank Racing focused on Phoenix

(Reynoldsburg, OH) 9 September 05-- Michael Shank Racing will venture out West this weekend, visiting Phoenix International Raceway for round eleven of the 2005 Rolex Sports Car Series season. The Phoenix 250 race weekend will be the debut event for a Daytona Prototype-only race, as the 1.51-mile oval infield road course is too tight to hold the growing fields of the combined GT and Daytona Prototype classes.

After running its second two-car event of the season in the last round at Mid-Ohio, Michael Shank Racing will return to a one-car entry for the Phoenix round, with Mike Borkowski and Oswaldo Negri partnering in the Mears Motor Coach Riley/Pontiac machine.

The short track will likely set the stage for ultra-quick lap times well under a minute as the field carves through the center of the oval before returning to the modest banking that comprises the oval section. Negri qualified third in this race last season with Michael Shank Racing, and while team owner Mike Shank knows that his squad is ready to go this weekend, he also knows that the quick lap times will make for a close battle.

"It's going to be interesting on this tight track," said Shank. "Qualifying will be even more important than usual, and yellows are going to have a big impact as far as pit strategy and track position. We had a strong event here last year, and have moved our program so far forward from then as the Rolex competition is just so much more intense. Paul (Mears) can't join us this weekend, so Oswaldo will be working with Mike and Kenny (Wilden) will be helping us out as a spotter, so we hope we can get another good finish this weekend."

The heat could also be a factor, as daytime temperatures are well into the 100's, although the night running sessions should help ameliorate the conditions for Negri and Borkowski in the closed-cockpit Daytona Prototype.

"I used to live here and I don't think the heat is going to be that big a deal for us," said Borkowski. "We just have to make sure we are hydrating through the day to be ready for running at night. It is a shame that Paul can't make it here this weekend, but I know Oswaldo will do a good job, and I am glad to be running with him instead of against him."

The Daytona Prototype race will be shown on SPEED Channel, 9/11 4:00 p.m. ET

-msr-

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About this article
Series Grand-Am
Drivers Mike Borkowski , Oswaldo Negri Jr. , Michael Shank
Teams Michael Shank Racing