Michael Shank Racing finishes 14th at VIR Underdog team suffers setback after contact from lapped car sends the 6 car into harms way (3 October 04)-- The Michael Shank Racing number 6 Lexus-Doran finished a disappointing 14th in class in the...
Michael Shank Racing finishes 14th at VIR
Underdog team suffers setback after contact from lapped car sends the 6 car into harms way
(3 October 04)-- The Michael Shank Racing number 6 Lexus-Doran finished a disappointing 14th in class in the VIR 400 after being sent off-track late in the race while passing a Daytona Prototype that was two laps down as the MSR machine chased down its third consecutive top-five finish. The car suffered significant damage when another DP made contact with the 6 car as it rejoined the track, ending the day for the MSR squad.
Oswaldo Negri moved up immediately at the start of the 77-lap race to slot into second place from third on the grid and turned the car over in third place to co-driver Burt Frisselle on the first pit stop eighteen laps into the race. Frisselle had to drive hard and regain some lost ground after the 02 car blocked him from leaving his pit owing to the tight pit boxes at VIR.
Frisselle stayed in the lead pack, staging a fierce battle for fourth as the lead eight cars in the race ran nose to tail for over twenty laps. Frisselle had an outstanding stint, turning the car back over to Negri in third position for the final segment of the race.
"My stint was absolutely wild - I wish we had an in-car camera during the race - it's the only way people will believe me about how crazy it was out there with everyone running so close and fighting all over this track," said Frisselle, one of the youngest drivers in the field. "But the car was very strong-the tires went off a bit during my stint, but we were still pretty consistent and quick at the end."
Negri was once again in the thick of battle as he worked to pass a lapped car, but was balked several times before he was sent off course by the lapped car in a fast section off the track. Negri regained control of the car, and worked his way back onto the track, but was hit as he was doing so by a car that hadn't seen him going onto the track, ending the fight for the day.
"Its really disappointing," said Negri. "To struggle like we have to even get here to go racing, and then to have a lapped driver knock us off track like that and have the car so damaged, its disheartening, for sure. But this team is made up entirely of fighters, and we are going to do everything we can to get to Barber."
Despite the setback, Negri focused on the positives from the difficult race.
"The car was awesome all day-we got up to second at the start, and Burt had a fantastic stint and turned the car back over to me in third before we had the problem, so we should be proud of what this little team was able to accomplish today."
Team owner Mike Shank had been hoping for yet another top-five result for the team, and seeing his drivers run so competitively during the race made the result that much more disappointing.
"We will get the car to the Doran factory as fast as we can, and hopefully we can get it fixed in time to race next week," said Shank. "We had a lot of good momentum going into this race, so it's a big blow to the team, but at least Oswaldo and Cort were able to get out of their cars unhurt and hopefully we can go from here."