DANVILLE, VA (24 April March 2010)-Round four of the 2010 GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Series at VIR will not be remembered fondly by Michael Shank Racing after a series of bad luck racing incidents made for a disappointing race day outing despite ...
DANVILLE, VA (24 April March 2010)-Round four of the 2010 GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Series at VIR will not be remembered fondly by Michael Shank Racing after a series of bad luck racing incidents made for a disappointing race day outing despite valiant efforts with both team Daytona Prototype entries.
Michael Shank Racing's No. 60 Crown Royal XR Ford-Riley entered the race weekend second in the team championship, but race results will see the team fall one spot to third ahead of round five at Lime Rock Park on Memorial Day.
Contact with a GT class machine early in the going for John Pew, who got the race off to a fast start after once again qualifying in the top ten, compromised the outing as the suspension was severely damaged, costing a significant amount of time for repairs. But the hard work of the team saw the No. Crown Royal XR back on track to close out the race as both Ozz Negri and Pew scored championship points on the day.
The No.6 The Pit Stop at Morris Lake opened with a run in the top four with Brian Frisselle behind the wheel. Unfortunately midway through his stint, the bad luck transferred from one team car to the other as Frisselle was caught out by the sister machine as it circulated slowly following the incident. The ensuing off-course run forced Frisselle into the pits for a radiator clearing.
The four-time Rolex race winner fought hard to make up the lost ground as he moved up to sixth before turning the car over to Valiante to take it to the finish. The Canadian struggled with a set of tires that were out of spec, costing him time as his stint wore on. A late race yellow gave him the chance to take on a different set, which performed back to the teams expectations. Unfortunately, the lost track time mean that the car was only credited with a seventh place finish.
"This was just a tough day all around for us, and not the kind of weekend we were hoping for," said team owner Mike Shank. "One of the harder races to take, really and this will hurt the Crown Royal car in the points. But we are looking forward to learning as much as we can next week at Lime Rock Park and we'll look to make the most of that track time to be ready for the next round."
"I'm just really disappointed today because the car was very good, and we were just in fuel conservation mode and keeping the leaders in sight the first stint," said Frisselle. "I thought there was a hole there (when coming up to the No. 60 Crown Royal XR), but I ended up having to go off track so we lost a lot of time. It's disappointing because the car was good in the opening stages and then again at the end of the race but we just don't have the results to show for it today."
"I can't thank the team enough for the effort they put in to get the car back on track for me to get the points today," said Negri. "They dug really deep to make that happen. Any other team in the world would have called it quits but not these guys. Not the day we wanted, but I am still proud to be a part of this team."
"The first set of tires I had were fine initially, but then they fell off so much that there was just nothing I could do," said Valiante. "We came in and got a different set and the car was fast again, but we'd lost a lot of track positions doing so. There was a lot of very aggressive driving right there at the end, as you would expect in Rolex racing, and we were lucky to not get involved in anything. Hopefully we can be stronger the next time out."
"I came up on a GT car, and I really wasn't trying to be aggressive or make a move, but he moved to the right so I thought he was giving me the line through the corner," said Pew. "But at the last second, he turned right into me. It's a shame because I was really happy with the car and I think we had a strategy that would have been very good at the end of the day. But I'm looking forward to driving the Crown Royal XR car at Lime Rock Park, and hopefully we can have a little bit better luck there."
Michael Shank Racing will test at Lime Rock Park ahead of participating in a media event in New York City this week.