Michael Shank Racing finishes fourth at Watkins Glen (Watkins Glen, NY) 3 June 06--Michael Shank Racing finished fourth in the Sahlen's Six Hours of the Glen on Saturday as Mark Patterson and Oswaldo Negri brought the Flight Options...
Michael Shank Racing finishes fourth at Watkins Glen
(Watkins Glen, NY) 3 June 06--Michael Shank Racing finished fourth in the Sahlen's Six Hours of the Glen on Saturday as Mark Patterson and Oswaldo Negri brought the Flight Options Lexus-powered Riley charging to the finish line less than twenty seconds away from a podium after a hard-fight six hours of racing at Watkins Glen International.
The sister Playboy Racing/Mears Motor Coach machine of Mike Borkowski, Paul Mears, Jr., and Tommy Constantine finished fourteenth in the debut run for the Playboy Racing machine and marked the Daytona Prototype debut for Constantine.
The race, which was run under variable weather conditions throughout the entire race distance, provided plenty of challenges for the forty-six car field as drivers had to battle not just the competitors, but also the conditions.
Patterson made a highlight-reel worthy pass of multiple Rolex 24 At Daytona winner Andy Wallace late in the race as the two were heading into the bus stop chicane to claim fourth before bringing the car into the pits for Negri to take over for the final stint.
"That was fantastic!" enthused Patterson. "Oz told me to trust the car, and I did, and I was able to go up the hill completely flat out even though it was still a bit wet so I was able to get by Wallace," said Patterson. "He gave me exactly enough room to do it safely, an utter professional."
The pass was greeted with large cheers in the Flight Options pits, and the team is looking to take this momentum forward in the second half of the Rolex Sports Car Series season.
"After Phoenix, we decided that we didn't need to take the big chances, to focus on getting to the finish in every race, and to make the most of the fantastic package that Mike Shank and his team brings to the track every race weekend, and I think this result is a just reward for putting our heads down and getting on with the job," said Patterson. "With a championship as tight as this one, every point is precious and if we can keep it up with these kinds of finishes we should be in decent shape."
Negri, who also generated significant interest from the television cameras thanks to some close but clean racing from start to finish, was happy with the team effort put forth all weekend from Michael Shank Racing.
"I am so proud of Mark and the progress he has made in the car-he is really an incredible natural talent, and he really motivates everyone around him," said Negri. "The Lexus motor we had was excellent as always, and the guys did a great job with our pit strategy and with tire selection all day. We made some good compromises with the set-up for the race, and I think we went in exactly the right direction so we could be competitive no matter what the conditions were."
The Glen round also marked the return to action for Mears, who relishes running on the high-speed track.
"I had a lot of fun out there," said Mears. "It felt like I had some rust to knock off not having been in the car for so long, but once I got some laps under my belt I was fine. It was also a blast watching Mark (Patterson) making those passes!"
Borkowski started and finished the day in the No. 6 car, and is looking forward to getting back in the heat of battle in two week's time at Mid-Ohio.
"It was tough out there because once we got a lap down, we just wanted to make sure we stayed out of trouble to get to the finish and not ruin anyone else's race," said Borkowski. "Tommy did a great job in his first run with us, and it was also great to have Paul racing with us again. I'm looking forward to Mid-Ohio because we had a good car there last year, but not a good race, so I think we can be strong there at the team's home track."
"I'm just really happy to have both cars finish well in the points and without a scratch on them," said team owner Mike Shank. "Even though the conditions were pretty tough and kept changing, Tommy did a good job for his first time out in a Prototype, so that was really encouraging. And what can I say about Mark and Oz? That pass he made was really something else, and everyone is so pumped up from watching these guys race."
The team will be back in action in two weeks at the newly repaved Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course in Mansfield, Ohio. The track was the site of the formation of Michael Shank Racing, and the team is headquartered in nearby Columbus, Ohio.
"We haven't had the best luck there in the past, but we are looking to change that this time around..." said Shank.