Michael Shank Racing Ready for Friday Night Fight (Watkins Glen, NY) 5 August 08 -After experiencing mixed team fortunes in the Montreal 200 last Friday evening, Michael Shank Racing will head to Watkins Glen for another Friday night shootout in...
Michael Shank Racing Ready for Friday Night Fight
(Watkins Glen, NY) 5 August 08 -After experiencing mixed team fortunes in the Montreal 200 last Friday evening, Michael Shank Racing will head to Watkins Glen for another Friday night shootout in round eleven of the 2008 Rolex Sports Car Series season.
Mark Patterson and Oswaldo Negri scored fourth, as John Pew and Ian James combined for sixth place in the Rolex Series' most recent visit to Watkins Glen for the Sahlen's Six Hours of the Glen in June. Following that race, Michael Shank Racing also staged a successful test on the same 2.45-mile short course layout that the team will compete on this week with the No. 6 and 60 Ford/Riley combinations. The race is the first of two consecutive Daytona Prototype-only rounds of the season before the Series heads to Sonoma in two weeks.
Pew and James are riding a run of strong outings, taking seventh in Montreal to back up their debut Rolex podium together at Barber Motorsports Park, and the two will look to keep that up once again.
"I've been fortunate to race a lot of different cars at the Glen, and I am really looking forward to getting back there this week," said Pew, whose strong run in Montreal helped him gain two positions in the Trueman Award standings. "This is a flat-out sprint and we should be good straight off the truck. It will be a little bit different for us not to be racing with the GT Class traffic around, but as we saw last weekend, you never know what to expect from these Rolex races! I'd love to get back on the podium with Ian, and we know we have the cars to do it so long as we just get a little bit of luck to go our way."
Patterson and Negri scored a Watkins Glen podium in their first visit to the short track layout at together in 2005, and after suffering a championship setback with a fire in Montreal, will be anxious to get back in position to spray some champagne this week.
"We can't dwell on what happened last weekend, and in terms of making up some lost ground in this championship for Ozz and I, there probably isn't a better track for us to be racing on than the Glen," said Patterson, who lost one position in the Trueman rankings after the fire cut the Montreal race short. "The team had a great test here in June and while the conditions will be different on Friday night and the track surface will have different rubber down, we are still confident about the set-up we will start the weekend with. It will be tough to match the excitement level from last week's race, and hopefully we can be there to fight for another podium at the finish this week."
Thursday will see three afternoon practice sessions before the grid is set at 4:30 PM in qualifying, as a night practice will close out the days running. Friday's only action will commence with the command to start the engines moments before the race takes the green at 6:30 PM on Friday night.
"This is a similar schedule that we had in Montreal in terms of not having a chance to run on the track during the day until we race on it, but in the last two races we've had better cars on race day than we did in practice, so we aren't too concerned about that," said team owner Mike Shank. "We have a lot of data from this track, but it will be new to see how the Pirelli's work on the rubber that the NASCAR guys put down. We picked up a lot of information not only in the Six Hours, but also in the test, and our guys are all quick here so hopefully we can come out of the night with some good points."
The race weekend is part of the NASCAR Sprint Cup and Nationwide Series visit to Watkins Glen, with the first practice session slated for a 11:30 AM start on Thursday, with the grid being set at 4:30 PM. A Thursday 7:00 PM night practice will be the final Daytona Prototype action before the 6:30 PM Friday evening race, which will run two hours before taking the checkered flag.