Thursday
Jun072007

TEAM NEWS: Michael Shank Racing ready for enduro challenge at the Glen

Photo by John Thawley (Columbus, OH) 6 June 2007--Fresh off a productive recent test and a podium performance at Laguna Seca, Michael Shank Racing is ready to go racing in the Sahlen's Six Hours of the Glen this Saturday for round six of the 2007 Rolex Sports Car Series season. The Columbus-based team has a history of strong results at Watkins Glen in both the six-hour races and the traditional August sprint events.

And as the Rolex Series changes gears from sprint racing to the endurance format, the team will be looking to once again show strength this weekend as it did all last year in the long-distance races, when Mark Patterson and Oswaldo Negri took second (Rolex 24 at Daytona), fourth (Sahlen's Six), and first (Miller Motorsports Park) in last season's tests of longevity, speed, and teamwork.

"You never know what is going to happen in these endurance races, but we have a lot of confidence heading into the weekend," said team owner Mike Shank. "Our cars have been good there and our drivers always seem to step up their game at this track, so we are looking for some good results this weekend and hopefully some good championship points."

Last years Sahlen's event saw Mark Patterson and Oswaldo Negri just miss out on a win by less than seventeen seconds after a full six hours of racing. The two combined for 154 laps on their way to take fourth at the finish. The result kicked off a mid-season run of five consecutive top-ten finishes for Patterson and Negri last year, including another fourth place finish in the August Glen event, with victory eluding the two by just three seconds at the conclusion of the race.

After coming so close on several occasions, Negri and Patterson did score a victory to close out the 2006 season, winning the season-ending nine-hour race at Miller Motorsports Park and helping to seal the manufacturers championship for Lexus.

The two revisited the Rolex podium in the last round with a fine third-place finish at Laguna Seca.

"It was a thrill to get back on the podium out at Laguna, and we'd like nothing better to do that again this weekend," said Patterson. "Mike's cars are always great at the Glen and the team shows great strength in the long races. We get to run the full course during the six hour weekend so it's a tremendous lap every time around for the drivers. It can be an unpredictable race, but staying out of trouble and on the pace will be key to a good run this weekend."

The Sahlen's event will mark the second Daytona Prototype race start with Michael Shank Racing for John Pew, who has become rapidly acclimated to his new environment as he and co-driver Ian James will once again be sporting the Playboy Racing and NVG Residential logos on the No. 6 Lexus-Riley. James and Pew scored seventh in their first race together at Laguna Seca.

"I was pretty pleased with how we got things started out at Laguna," said Pew. "I just keep feeling more and more comfortable every time I'm in the car, and I'd also mention that I am more and more impressed with the job Ian James is doing in it. He's been a tremendous help to me and my confidence, and I'm looking forward to the challenge we have with the six hours this weekend."

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