Mark Patterson led the Michael Shank Racing charge in qualifying for Sunday’s Verizon Festival of Speed by scoring 7th on the grid with a fast lap time of 1:21.087-seconds in the No. 60 Michael Shank Racing Ford-Riley that he will share with Oswaldo Negri.
The team has been quick all weekend long, and the sister No. 6 entry was also strong in the 15-minute qualifying session as John Pew netted a 1:21.592-second flyer to take 9th on the grid for round 4 of the 2009 Rolex Sports Car Series championship.
“All credit goes to my engineer Dave (Kanning) and Ozz, because this car was just fantastic,” said Patterson. “We kept making more and more progressive changes and we settled on a very good set up. I was getting faster as the session went along, so I was very disappointed that the 58 and 59 cars were driving around slowly on the racing line on my last flying lap. That wasn’t particularly friendly, but at least we are starting ahead of them tomorrow. Other than that small disappointment, this was a great session and I’m really looking forward to the race tomorrow.”
The session looked to be lining up an all-Michael Shank Racing 4th row, but Pew got demoted to 9th in the closing moments before the checkered flag fell. But as it turns out, it wasn’t just the competition that Pew was fighting.
“I flat-spotted a front tire really early in the session—they were just not as warm as I thought so I locked it up going into turn one, and from there the car had a vibration up front for the rest of the session,” said Pew. “It was also pushing in the high-speed corners so I couldn’t really get everything out of it, but the car was still really good. It’s too bad I didn’t get a chance to do a little more with it, but this is still a solid place to start tomorrow.”
Michael Shank Racing, which made a first-ever two-car entry some four years ago at the Monterey facility, has been fast all weekend long and will look to convert that speed into championship points by the time the checker falls on Sunday.
“This is a team sport and our engineers continue to do a great job working with all four of our drivers to get the most out of the cars, but in qualifying it comes down to the job that John and Mark do once they get in the car, so I’m really happy with where we are starting tomorrow,” said team owner Mike Shank. “We were fast in New Jersey but the race just didn’t play out our way so hopefully we can have some good luck and get both these cars up on the podium tomorrow.”
Practice/Friday May 15, 2009
Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca
Verizon Festival of Speed
No. 6 Michael Shank Racing Ford-Riley 1:20.079 P1
No. 60 Michael Shank Racing Ford-Riley 1:20.134 P2
No. 6 Michael Shank Racing Ford-Riley 1:20.648 P2
No. 60 Michael Shank Racing Ford-Riley 1:21.560 P8
Practice/Saturday May 16, 2009
No. 6 Michael Shank Racing Ford-Riley 1:20.547 P1
No. 60 Michael Shank Racing Ford-Riley 1:21.605 P9
Trueman Practice 4
No. 6 Michael Shank Racing Ford-Riley 1:21.901 P2
No. 60 Michael Shank Racing Ford-Riley 1:21.675 P1
No. 6 Michael Shank Racing Ford-Riley 1:21.592 P9 (Pew)
No. 60 Michael Shank Racing Ford-Riley 1:21.087 P7 (Patterson)
Coverage this weekend will be carried by SPEED beginning at 4 p.m. EDT.