Valiante set to sub for Negri at Michael Shank Racing

Ozz Negri is still recovering from his leg injury he sustained during the off-season. MSR named Michael Valiante to contest the next two events in the Rolex Grand-Am series.

Pataskala, Ohio (29 March 2013) - Michael Shank Racing announced on Friday that Ozz Negri’s recovery from the leg injury that he experienced in off-season training has suffered a setback, and the 2012 Rolex 24 At Daytona Champion will not race in the next two rounds of GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Series competition.

Sharing the No. 60 Michael Shank Racing Ford-Riley with John Pew will be Michael Valiante, who raced with the team in the season-opening Rolex 24 At Daytona.

“You hate to have to see Ozz make this decision, but this is what’s best for him long-term,” said team owner Mike Shank. “He knows that he’s got to take a step back, and doing it right now means that he’ll have the biggest window possible to recuperate and be ready to go in Detroit. We are lucky to have Michael (Valiante) available to step in, and a huge thanks to John (Pew) for being flexible with the situation. The good thing is that John and Michael have so much experience working together, so we are fortunate to have a good solution to a really tough situation.”

I’m happy that the team gave me the call to jump in here for these two races.

Michael Valiante

Since participating in the first-ever race to feature the Daytona Prototype in 2003, Negri has made 113 starts in GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Series competition and has factored in every race he has entered. The Brazilian was able to tough his way through to race in the Rolex 24 At Daytona with a run to third place and his third Daytona podium result, but will now look forward to returning in Detroit.

“This is one of the hardest things I’ve had to deal with--just the idea of not being able to be in the car is so tough,” said Negri. “But my doctors agree that this is the best path to take, and I owe everything to this team for supporting me through this. John (Pew) has been great and very understanding--he has as much passion for fitness as I do and he knows that this is the right path for me professionally. I’m eager to get going already, and will be working hard to be back and better than ever in Detroit.”

Next weekend’s Porsche 250 at Barber Motorsports Park marks round three of the 2013 GRAND-AM season. Michael Shank Racing has a long history of success at the track, having scored four podium finishes including a runner-up result in 2010.

Valiante is no stranger to Michael Shank Racing, having first worked with the team in 2009 as Pew’s full-time teammate. He is also familiar with the role of sub, having scored his most recent Rolex Sports Car Series victory last year when he was stepping in for another driver at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course.

#60 Michael Shank Racing Ford Riley: Marcos Ambrose, John Pew, A.J. Allmendinger, Justin Wilson
#60 Michael Shank Racing Ford Riley: Marcos Ambrose, John Pew, A.J. Allmendinger, Justin Wilson

Photo by: Eric Gilbert

“It’s obviously unfortunate for Ozz to have to take a little bit more time to get back to 100%,” said Valiante, who scored pole position at Barber Motorsports Park in 2008. “I hope he’s able to get back quickly and I am just going to try to make the most of the opportunity and support the team the best that I can. I’ve had a lot of great races with John (Pew) and I’m happy that the team gave me the call to jump in here for these two races.”

Michael Shank Racing

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About this article
Series Grand-Am
Drivers Justin Wilson , Michael Valiante , Marcos Ambrose , A.J. Allmendinger , Eric Gilbert , John Pew , Michael Shank
Teams Michael Shank Racing
Article type Breaking news
Tags ford, grandam, michael shank racing, negri, pew, riley, rolex, valiante