Michael Shank Racing 4th and 5th for the 6 Hour at Watkins Glen (Watkins Glen, NY) 5 June 2009- Michael Valiante led the Michael Shank Racing charge in qualifying on Friday at Watkins Glen, taking 4th on the grid for Saturday's Sahlen's 6 Hours...
Michael Shank Racing 4th and 5th for the 6 Hour at Watkins Glen
(Watkins Glen, NY) 5 June 2009- Michael Valiante led the Michael Shank Racing charge in qualifying on Friday at Watkins Glen, taking 4th on the grid for Saturday's Sahlen's 6 Hours of the Glen with his fast lap time of 1:41.520-seconds in the No. 6 Michael Shank Racing Ford-Riley. Valiante will open the 6 hour race from behind the wheel before alternating with co-driver John Pew through the long-distance race as the two look to improve their season-best result to date by one position with a run to the top step of the podium on Saturday.
"The car was really good and if we didn't have that traffic I could have probably gone a tenth or two faster, but we just didn't have anything to take the pole today," said Valiante. "But this car is really good and it's great to be starting so close to the front so hopefully we can just get a good clean start through turn one and just get a good race pace going."
The qualifying session was yet another strong showing for Michael Shank Racing as the sister No. 60 NYU/Stern School of Business-liveried Ford-Riley of Mark Patterson and Oswaldo Negri will start from 5th on the grid after Negri posted a 1:41.587-second lap during the 15-minute session.
"I'm very happy with the car, especially for the race," said Negri. "I had one more lap going that was faster but I just caught a little bit of traffic so we weren't able to improve more. But I am not worried because this car is great. We have some great brains working on the set-up and everyone-me, Michael, John, and Mark, are all working great together and just having a full team effort to make our cars as strong as possible and it is paying off with cars that I think will be very strong in the race tomorrow."
The team once again unloaded with two quick cars, leading the timesheets on Thursday in practice and backing that up with speed in the morning practice as well.
"Given how fast we've been so far this weekend, this isn't exactly what we were hoping for today in qualifying," said team owner Mike Shank. "But on the other hand, we did a lot of laps on our cars on old tires yesterday and today, so everyone feels really good about how the cars are handling through the long tire run. For a 6 hour race like we have tomorrow, that is so much more important than our speed over one lap here in qualifying so we'll just look for a little bit of luck tomorrow and hopefully we can come out of this race with some good points and some momentum for the home race at Mid-Ohio."