TEAM NEWS: Patterson takes best-ever qualifying at Daytona

Photo by John Rawley (Columbus, OH) 5 July 2007-- Mark Patterson set a fast lap time of 1:46.528-seconds in the Michael Shank Racing Lexus-Riley on the 3.65-mile road course at Daytona International Speedway to claim eighth on the grid for Thursday evening's Brumos 250. The effort is a qualifying career-best for Patterson, who will line up one position ahead of Ganassi pilot Memo Rojas.

"That felt great," enthused Patterson, who had an even quicker lap going before an untimely black flag disrupted the session. "With the black flag, we didn't get a chance to get into much of a rhythm. So we just had to get out there and go for it with the few laps that we had, but we should be in good shape for the start tonight."

John Pew, who posted an impressive qualifying performance at Mid-Ohio, backed that effort up with a strong run in his Daytona Speedway qualifying debut by taking a spot on the sixth row with a quick lap of 1:47.597-seconds in the Playboy-liveried Lexus Riley he is co-driving with Ian James. Pew's job wasn't made any easier when he was caught behind a stalled car as the track went back to green late in the session.

"That was tough because I had nowhere to go, and a bunch of guys got ahead of me and that held me up a little bit," said Pew. "But I'm pretty happy with the car and even though there isn't a lot of grip out there, we know the track is going to be different tonight so we'll see how things play out."

Both Michael Shank Racing entries are in the top-ten in the Rolex Championship standings, with the No. 6 in eighth, one point ahead of the No. 60 in ninth.

"Mark and John did a great job for us once again," said team owner Mike Shank. "Mark has always been strong here, but he's going faster than ever and he showed that in qualifying. John has impressed us again with his qualifying effort this afternoon. We're happy to be racing with the GT cars again tonight, and hopefully we can put on a good show for the NASCAR fans on hand here at Daytona."

The Brumos 250 will be covered LIVE on Speed starting at 8:00PM EST on Thursday.

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