Michael Shank Racing Ready to Return to Victory Lane at Miller Motorsports Park Columbus, OH (8 September 2010)- Michael Shank Racing will look to close the 2010 GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Series presented by Crown Royal Championship atop the...
Michael Shank Racing Ready to Return to Victory Lane at Miller Motorsports Park
Columbus, OH (8 September 2010)- Michael Shank Racing will look to close the 2010 GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Series presented by Crown Royal Championship atop the podium once again as the series heads west to Miller Motorsports Park for the season finale race on Saturday.
The first time GRAND-AM's Rolex Sports Car Series visited Miller Motorsports Park in 2006, Ozz Negri and co-driver Mark Patterson broke through for Michael Shank Racing's very first race victory in the Rolex Sports Car Series. The race win came after nine hard hours of racing into the desert darkness as Negri powered to the finish with five Daytona Prototypes giving chase right to the checkered flag. The win was the first for the team and brought a Manufacturer Championship to the table as well as netting the fan-favorite vote for the "Rolex Moment of the Year."
And so it was again in 2008 for Michael Shank Racing as the team made a triumphant return to the top of the Rolex Sports Car Series podium at Miller Motorsports Park as John Pew, Ian James, and Raffa Matos teamed for a win in the season-ending 2008 race.
Negri is now teamed with Pew in 2010, and the duo proudly carry the colors of Crown Royal XR on the No. 60 Ford-Riley. Heading into the 2010 edition of the Miller Motorsports Park event, Michael Shank Racing has a little bit different look but exactly the same objective as the team looks to secure a strong position in the team championship standings.
"This year, we've been fast, have had several good finishes, and have been strong in the championship but are still looking to be back up on top," said Negri. "That will be our focus at Miller because we know we've got a good car and we know we have what we need to win again. It's always good to go to a place where you've already won and it gives you just a little bit more confidence--hopefully that will be our edge."
"I'm looking forward to getting out to Miller again--you always like going to tracks where you've been successful before!" said Pew, who is well-positioned in the year-end Pro-Am award standings. "It will be interesting what the new layout is like, but I think it should be a good fit with our car. It's hard to believe that we're already at the end of the season. We've had a good year with the Crown Royal XR car but of course you are always fighting to improve and keep bringing in points, so I'm hoping we can get back up on the podium to finish the season and close the year out on a high again."
The team will once again be a two-car prototype entry at Miller Motorsports Park, but will have a Dallara for the sister No. 6 of Brian Frisselle and Michael Valiante after the team's other Riley was destroyed in a fire at Watkins Glen earlier this season. That race weekend was followed by a tremendous team comeback that saw Michael Shank Racing finish second and fourth at the home track, a moment that is now currently eligible for the fan-favorite "Rolex Moment of the Year."
While neither driver of the No. 6 Ford-powered machine lives in Salt Lake City, the Miller event is as close to a home track as is on the GRAND AM schedule for the young driver pairing for the Rocky Fork Company-liveried Dallara as Frisselle lives in Colorado, and Valiante calls Vancouver home, making this the shortest trip of the season for the two. As the team has accelerated its learning curve in a partial season of racing with the Dallara, the target will be to find the sweet spot early in the weekend.
"At least we've got a morning warm-up!" joked Frisselle, as the races with the warm-up sessions have invariably spelled time in the lead with the blue 6 so far this season. "This track will be a lot different now that we aren't running middle section so it will be more about straight line speed than it has in the past. It will be the same for everyone of course so hopefully we can just dial it in early in the weekend and just keep improving for the race."
Following the Rolex Series race, the day will not be done as the team will also be providing trackside support for the Ford Mustang Boss 302R of Rob Finlay and Steve Cameron.
"We've had a lot of success out at Miller so hopefully this will be a good place for us to close out the year," said team owner Mike Shank. "We really want to make sure that the 60 car closes out the year as high in the championship as we can. We would just love to get the 6 car on the podium to finish the year on a high--it's been an up and down season, no question. It will be interesting to see what the guys think of the new layout and how it plays into our set-up for the weekend. We're also pretty excited about the Continental Tire race because that is a whole new arena for the team and it should be a very competitive race. We've had some strong closes to the season in years past, so it'd be great to have a good send off to the year in both our races!"