(Watkins Glen,NY) 6 June 08 - Ian James qualified the No. 6 Michael Shank Racing Ford-Riley fifth on the grid for Saturday's Sahlen's Six Hours of the Glen with a fast lap time of 1:44.034-seconds on Friday afternoon. James got out on track early...
(Watkins Glen,NY) 6 June 08 - Ian James qualified the No. 6 Michael Shank Racing Ford-Riley fifth on the grid for Saturday's Sahlen's Six Hours of the Glen with a fast lap time of 1:44.034-seconds on Friday afternoon. James got out on track early in the session, allowing him to net a time and slotting on the grid before an early black flag ended the session prematurely.
That black flag prevented the sister No. 60 machine of Oswaldo Negri from setting a time and the Ford-powered entry will be forced to start the race from the back of the Daytona Prototype field as the race goes green at 11:15 AM ET on Saturday.
"The car was great and it's a shame we didn't get to do more laps because the tires hadn't even come up to temperature but I could feel we'd made a lot of progress with the set up and we'd have been able to set an even stronger time," said James, who will share the driving duties with John Pew. "We know that qualifying doesn't matter too terribly much for such a long race, but its good to be starting close to the sharp end, so hopefully we can just get off to a quick start and set a good race pace tomorrow."
The MSR fans on hand were disappointed by the sessions early end, as the team had shown remarkable pace with both entries through the Friday practice sessions, but was unable to convert that into a strong qualifying result with both cars.
"It is disappointing that we didn't get to see what Ozz had in the 60 car and that Ian didn't get to run more laps to set a time, but we know this is a long race, and both cars have been quick off the truck, so we're just going to focus on the race," said team owner Mike Shank. "Mark and John were great in the Trueman session so even though this session didn't go like we were hoping, the race is what matters and we should be in good shape."
"I'm frustrated just because we know how quick we were," said Negri, who was quickest during most of the afternoon practice session before qualifying. "But I agree with Mike that at least we have a very good car and Mark is doing a fantastic job, so we'll just try to be smart with our moves forward early and turn the car over to Mark in a good position tomorrow."
Patterson and Pew 1-2 in Trueman session
Mark Patterson led the Sahlen's Six Hours of the Glen Trueman Award Friday practice session with a fast lap time of 1.44.495-seconds on the 3.4-mile "long course" at Watkins Glen in advance of Saturday's Sahlen's Six Hours of the Glen. Reminiscent of the Michael Shank Racing Rolex 24 At Daytona qualifying effort, the sister No. 6 of John Pew was second quickest in the hot afternoon session with a fast lap time of 1.45.571 seconds
"The car was just fantastic and Ozz's continued hard work with me as a coach just keeps peeling layers of time off for me," said Patterson. "I feel more and more comfortable in the car, so it becomes even more of a pleasure to drive and race these cars. These Trueman sessions are fun for John (Pew) and I, but they are also a great opportunity to keep improving the car. Even though we didn't get to set a time in qualifying, we should be in good shape tomorrow."
The Glen weekend marks one year since Pew and James combined for a fourth place finish in their first race together last season, and the two are hoping to score another strong result again on Saturday.
"The car was very fast right away with the changes we made," said Pew. "I'm glad we're going to have a warm up in the morning to get a chance to try a few more things with the set-up tomorrow before we get racing. I love this track and am just looking forward to another competitive run here tomorrow."