Team effort nets third in qualifying for Michael Shank Racing (Phoenix, AZ)--Michael Shank Racing put speed as well as smarts to use to qualify third for Saturday's Food City 250 at Phoenix International Raceway today with a 57.038-second lap on...
Team effort nets third in qualifying for Michael Shank Racing
(Phoenix, AZ)--Michael Shank Racing put speed as well as smarts to use to qualify third for Saturday's Food City 250 at Phoenix International Raceway today with a 57.038-second lap on the 1.51-mile infield road course at Phoenix International Raceway.
The team devised the strategy of waiting nearly five minutes during the short 15-minute qualifying session to allow the track to cool a precious few degrees while driver Burt Frisselle's father Brad observed the track from the spotters stand above the track, and radioed to Oswaldo to leave the pits once a gap in traffic opened up, allowing him to score his fastest lap of the session unimpeded by other cars on track.
The difference proved to be crucial, as Negri's fastest lap was just .027 of a second quicker than the fourth placed car, showing how the small details pay dividends in the intensely competitive environment of Rolex Sports Car competition. The qualifying position equals the teams result from the previous round at Homestead Miami Speedway, where MSR converted third in qualifying to third at the finish.
Negri put in his fastest lap of the weekend, showing once again his ability to deliver when it counts, but he focused on how proud he was of his teams efforts.
"This is a fantastic result for us and really shows how strong this team is even thought we don't have the level of financing as some of the other teams," said Negri. "We thought through what we were going to do for qualifying and waited after the session started to get he best track temp and some clear space before going out. Burt's (Frisselle) dad was watching from the spotter stand, and was on the radio to me to make sure I was able to get a clear lap, so it was a real team effort today."
Team Owner Michael Shank was happy with the result, but knows that the Saturday night event race will be a challenge with all the traffic.
"This is mega for us," said Shank. "We of course need to keep working to see what we can do in the future to get ourselves on the pole, but to be third here is really fantastic for us and for Lexus. It was a great strategy the team came up with to hold Oswaldo in the pits until we were able to find a clear lap, and it paid off for us. The traffic tomorrow is going to affect everyone in the field, but it is certainly an advantage to be starting so close to the front."
Negri is looking forward to taking the green flag under the lights on Saturday, but also believes that the short track configuration is going to make it a battle as all as a race.
"Tomorrow is going to be a big challenge, every corner will be a lottery with all the traffic, and I am certainly hoping to win the lottery!"