Sears Point: Michael Shank Racing preview

(Sonoma, CA) 20 August 08 - Saturday's Rolex Sports Car Series Armed Forces 250 at Infineon Raceway will kick off a busy schedule of three races in the next month for Michael Shank Racing. The two-car Daytona Prototype team will battle in...

(Sonoma, CA) 20 August 08 - Saturday's Rolex Sports Car Series Armed Forces 250 at Infineon Raceway will kick off a busy schedule of three races in the next month for Michael Shank Racing.

The two-car Daytona Prototype team will battle in Sonoma, California before moving across the country for next Sunday's Supercar Life 250 at New Jersey Motorsports Park. The team will then head west once again to close the 2008 Rolex Sports Car Series season out at Miller Motorsports Park as the team looks to return to victory lane once again at the Tooele, Utah facility on September 20th.

A double top ten team finish in the most recent round of racing at Watkins Glen sees the No. 60 Michael Shank Racing Ford-Riley of Mark Patterson and Oswaldo Negri fifth in the championship rankings, as the No. 6 of John Pew and Ian James holds eighth in the standings. With positions three through eight separated by just 31 points, there is still everything to play for starting with Saturday's Daytona Prototype-only race, which is slated to run 250 miles, unless conditions or cautions put the two hour and forty-five minute race limit in effect.

With hundreds of laps yet to be contested, the busy three race final leg of the 2008 season could have a dramatic effect on the team championship standings.

"The team championship is something we are very focused on and we are looking forward to these next three races to move up as far as possible with both cars," said team owner Mike Shank. "We've been quick at Sonoma both times we've raced there and hopefully we'll unload fast again this weekend. Things are very tight in this championship and every lap and every pit stop is going to be important so we're looking forward to a strong close to the season."

Looking to the Armed Forces 250, Michael Shank Racing brings a driver line-up with extensive experience on the twisty 2.47-mile circuit in California's wine country.

The team championship isn't the only thing in play, as both Patterson and Pew have strengthened their positions in the Jim Trueman Award standings. Patterson won the award in 2006, and will look to close in on the 41 points that separate him from the lead, with Pew just 158 markers behind him in fourth.

"John (Pew) is making me a little uncomfortable with how close he's getting to me in the Trueman awards, and hopefully I'm doing the same to JC (France)," said Patterson. "Infineon is a really intense track, and of course adding nearly twenty other Daytona Prototypes only makes it that much more interesting. You have to get into a good rhythm on the back side of the track, a lot like Mexico City's esses. Given that the ‘all-clear' weather forecast, I'm looking forward to pushing those Pirelli slicks hard at this exciting track."

The Infineon Rolex race start is the second for Pew, who also has formula car racing experience at the facility.

"It's a fun track, and I've got the experience of racing a Daytona Prototype there under my belt, so I'm looking forward to another good race weekend," said Pew. "We got a top ten there last year but I wasn't really happy with my opening stint so my main focus is getting a better start than I did last year. The schedule gives us the chance to run right before we qualify, so hopefully we can make the most of that chance because passing can be difficult on this track, especially without the GT cars making some additional passing opportunities during the race."

-credit: msr

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