VIR: Michael Shank Racing qualifying report

Michael Shank Racing scores sixth in VIR qualifying race (Alton, VA) 22 April 06-- Oswaldo Negri finished sixth in the qualifying race for the VIR 400 on Saturday in the Lexus-powered Flight Options Riley. The start of the half-hour qualifying...

Michael Shank Racing scores sixth in VIR qualifying race

(Alton, VA) 22 April 06-- Oswaldo Negri finished sixth in the qualifying race for the VIR 400 on Saturday in the Lexus-powered Flight Options Riley. The start of the half-hour qualifying race was delayed due to the rainy conditions as standing water was removed from the track. The result will see Mark Patterson take the green flag for Sunday's three hour main event from sixth on the grid.

The field was set by championship points, and ran under green conditions to the checkered flag once the race got underway after three laps behind the pace car. Negri took a cautious approach to the start thanks in part to his complete lack of visibility.

"You just couldn't see anything at the start, so everyone did a good job and gave each other room," said Negri. "Once everyone strung out a bit, things got a bit better and I was able to make a few passes, but it was really messy at the start. I could tell better where I was on the track looking out the side window than I could out the front!"

After his prudence at the start cost Negri a pair of positions, he began his charge despite a stuck windshield wiper, making up two spots to nab sixth at the finish, scoring a solid points result for himself and Patterson in the drivers championship.

"I just didn't want to take any big risks out there and jeopardize our race on Sunday," said Negri. "This is a good spot for Mark to start from and we showed yesterday that we have a very fast car, so we should be in good shape for the race tomorrow no matter what the weather."

The prospect of a half-hour full points paying qualifying race brought many expectations of yellow flags and contact, but the race ran clean, and now Michael Shank Racing is looking forward to Sunday's three-hour main event.

"The car doesn't have a scratch on it, we got some good points, and we have a good spot on the grid, so overall, this was a good afternoon for us," said team owner Mike Shank. "Oz did a great job even though the conditions were so difficult, and now we're just focused on the race tomorrow."

The VIR 400 will start at 1:00 PM EST, and will be carried live on Speed Channel.

-msr-

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About this article
Series Grand-Am
Drivers Oswaldo Negri Jr. , Mark Patterson , Michael Shank
Teams Michael Shank Racing