Sears Point: Michael Shank Racing race report

Michael Shank Racing returns to double top-ten form at Infineon (Sonoma, CA) August 25 2007--Michael Shank Racing finished eighth and tenth in the Armed Forces 250 at Infineon Raceway on Saturday evening in the penultimate round of the 2007 ...

Michael Shank Racing returns to double top-ten form at Infineon

(Sonoma, CA) August 25 2007--Michael Shank Racing finished eighth and tenth in the Armed Forces 250 at Infineon Raceway on Saturday evening in the penultimate round of the 2007 Rolex Sports Car Series season. The result marks yet another double top ten finish for both team Lexus-Riley entries. Michael Shank Racing now looks forward to returning to defend last years race win at the season-ending Miller Motorsports event.

The Rolex Series' second visit to Wine Country ran under green conditions for nearly the entire race distance, with one yellow flag period setting the stage for a final run to the checkered flag. On the restart, Ian James improved into the top ten and teammate Oswaldo Negri also took advantage of the opportunity as he made a bold move to pass on the outside of the final hairpin to move up one position at the finish.

"I saw that he (Brian Frisselle) got into the marbles, so he was going to have a hard time under braking and I just put a little bit of pressure on him," said Negri. "I was able to get around him on the outside. He is a great guy and gave me the racing room I needed. He could have raced me dirty, but he didn't and I will repay the favor some day. We were hoping to gain some ground in the championship, but we'll take this result and get ready for Miller in a few weeks."

The two-hour and forty-five minute race got off to a flying start as Mark Patterson sliced his way into the top ten early in the race.

"I was pleasantly surprised by how well behaved everyone was at the start," said Patterson. "The car was great for me-when it was heavy with fuel on cold tires, or light on fuel with worn tires-it didn't matter. The car was great. I didn't get into the same rhythm as the 23 car did so he was able to run in front, but it sure was nice to keep a Pontiac behind us there at the start, and Oz made things interesting once again at the end!"

John Pew, however, had a different experience as a possible bad set of tires threw the balance of the Playboy-liveried machine as he had to fight with some unpleasant handling characteristics.

"It was frustrating not to be able to do more in those opening laps," said Pew. "I was working with the bars inside the car and trying everything I could, but the car was completely different from how it's been all weekend. It was frustrating, but Ian did a great job to move us into the top ten there at the end and now I'm looking forward to getting back into the endurance mindset for Miller."

The movement up the order was a tough one for James, who had to fight for every position as he positioned the Playboy machine to take yet another top-ten finish.

"That was a tough run out there but I got a good restart and we got back up into the top ten," said James. "The car was a bit of a handful, but we had some good stops and kept working with the car. We were hoping for more, but we'll take these points and get ready for Miller."

-credit: msr

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