Michael Shank Racing nets big improvement in qualifying (Watkins Glen, NY) 23 September 05--Both Michael Shank Racing qualifying drivers set personal best times at Watkins Glen on Friday, as Mark Patterson and Paul Mears Jr. set their fastest ...
Michael Shank Racing nets big improvement in qualifying
(Watkins Glen, NY) 23 September 05--Both Michael Shank Racing qualifying drivers set personal best times at Watkins Glen on Friday, as Mark Patterson and Paul Mears Jr. set their fastest times when it counted in the qualifying session for Saturday's Crown Royal 250 at the Glen. The Mears Motor Coach Pontiac-Riley will start the race from the sixth row, with the sister Flight Options Lexus-Riley slated to start from the seventh.
The two-car effort will see Mike Borkowski taking over the car from Mears midway through the race, with Oswaldo Negri sharing driving duties with Patterson in the Flight Options machine. Both Negri and Borkowski have played an important role in getting the cars set up, and their driving partners have taken to the track with aplomb.
Mears relishes the high speeds and long laps that this track offers, and was pleased to have improved his best lap time on the track by over four seconds in Friday's qualifying.
"The car is perfect," said Mears. "These guys at Michael Shank Racing have a handle on this car-they know where we should start out each weekend and where we should go-and they get there quick. We aren't chasing big changes on the car, either, we are just moving everything forward in increments. I think I could have done a faster lap, but I'm pretty happy to have improved my time so much."
The striking livery of the Flight Options car made its Watkins Glen debut this weekend, and after rain cut short the Rolex running Friday morning, the Lexus-Riley finally got to stretch its legs in qualifying. Patterson, who scored his career-first pole position at Watkins Glen in formula car competition, found a good groove in the session, and was also able to make big gains when it counted.
"The car was spectacular," Patterson said of the Flight Options Lexus-Riley. "It was a good session-people were giving each other room to set good times, and the car was so fantastically well-balanced that I was able to just keep improving the whole time. I wasn't really happy with how I was doing in the car early in the weekend, and we just haven't had that much track time this weekend with the weather, but I was pretty pleased with this session."
For team owner Mike Shank, both his cars have performed well so far this weekend, and he is hoping to keep the momentum up through the race to score strong finishes with both cars.
"Both Mark and Paul did exactly what we need them to do-step it up in qualifying and hopefully they can have a clean run in the early stages of the race," said Shank. "I'm pretty impressed with how much improvement they made, so hopefully we can a good start and move up through the race before Mike and Oz get in the cars and make a charge at the end."
Saturday's race will get underway at 3:00PM ET, and will be broadcast live on Speed Channel.