At the end of the two day Grand-Am test at Homestead-Miami Speedway it was Michael Valiante who unofficially topped the timesheets for Michael Shank Racing.
The Canadian ran a lap time of 1:13.2 around the track in the no.23 Riley-Ford – the exact car that (numbered as no.6) was all but destroyed in a devastating pit fire at Watkins Glen, again with Valiante at the wheel.
“After getting the car completely torn down, we basically started from scratch and had to rebuild nearly everything from the B-pillar on back,” said Shank before the test, describing the lengthy rebuild process. “Everything from the suspension to the bell housing to all the wiring–everything–was replaced or redone. This team could rebuild a car overnight if we had to, but we took our time on the car. We had the opportunity to do everything right, and to make some improvements along the way. This car is built the way we wanted it to be, and we're very excited about how good a car it is.”
He beat his teammate Ozz Negri, and the Level 5 Motorsports duo of Luis Diaz and Christophe Bouchut for the top time – Diaz eclipsing his teammate's earlier benchmark by just two-hundredths in the no.55 car.
“It went really well,” Valiante said. “Oswaldo [Negri] and I were quickest at almost every session, and I was a little bit quicker overall. It’s great. We’re teammates, and get to work together at the test and then at Daytona. We have a real strong lineup, and obviously the cars are real strong as well. It’s good to go into the Christmas break with a solid test like this.”