Michael Shank Racing was on target for a podium finish at last week’s Grand AM race at Montreal, until a gamble with fuel strategy didn’t pay off.
John Pew drove the #60 machine at the start of the race, making progress from an eighth place grid slot to move up as high as fifth position. The first caution period allowed the Shank Racing car to pit for fuel, and Pew then engaged in an entertaining battle with 2003 CART champion and home town favourite, Paul Tracy.
The second caution period meant that Oswaldo Negri took over the driving duties and moved up the order to as high as second. However, an ambitious strategy meant that the team had to pit the car one more time and dropped down the order to sixth place by the end of the race, despite the ultra-fast pit stop.
The team was left to consider what might have been, as a third caution could have resulted in a podium finish for Michael Shank Racing.
“It was an awesome strategy, but unfortunately the lack of yellows didn’t fall in our favor today,” said team owner Mike Shank. “John had one of his better stints of the year and I’m really pleased with Ozz – he did everything we asked of him. We gambled. We were going to be P6 or we were going to be P6. So we took a flyer and I think if we’d have had a yellow we would have been more than set. “
“It’s disappointing, but it’s the happiest P6 I’ve ever had just because we struggled a little bit in practice and to be in a position like that at the end was good. We took a risk. But we just couldn’t save enough fuel and keep our position where we needed so we just went for it. Good strategy, good heads up call by everybody involved.”
“This wasn’t the result we deserved after we made so much progress with the car this weekend and John really had a good stint–fighting really well and a good pace,” Negri said. “But I’m really proud of the team and glad that we took the risk as a group. It didn’t go the way we hoped, but it was the best chance we had today. On to Laguna!”
“It was worth the chance. We had a competitive car and I think we could have been right there but just didn’t get the break we needed. It was good to go for it, but just didn’t pay off,” Pew concluded.