Five months on from the dramatic victory in the Rolex 24 at Daytona Michael Shank Racing will pick up their pursuit of the North American Endurance Championship (NEAC) at this weekend's Sahlen's Six Hours of The Glen at Watkins Glen International.
The race forms the second part of the three part championship within the Grand-Am Rolex Series, with the finale coming in late July at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
The team – represented by Ozz Negri and John Pew in the #60 Ford-Riley Daytona Prototype – come to Watkins Glen in promising form, having scored their third podium of the season at the preceding Rolex Series race at Road America. That result left them fourth in the class championship, and the re-ignition of the NEAC gives the team two fronts on which to fight for points.
“We've had some highs with the three podiums, but we've also had a pair of races where we were just dealt some bad luck,” said team owner Michael Shank. “But we are still fourth in the championship now so hopefully we can keep up the momentum this weekend. We’ll run as hard as we can. Winning the Rolex 24 was epic for us and we're ready to go for Watkins Glen. We have the lead in the NAEC, and we are going to do everything we can to hold on to it and be in a good spot for the finale at Indianapolis.”
Shank's team has a total of six top-five finishes in the Roles Series' traditional six hour at Watkins Glen, but has yet to score a podium on the longer version of the New York state venue.
“Coming off of a race where we didn't really feel like we had the pace we were looking for, but still able to earn a podium, we really want to make the most of this weekend at the Glen,” said Negri “We were able to get a good result from some good strategy and being right there when others had problems, so we want to focus on maximizing our chances again this weekend. Six hours is a long race and anything can happen–we've seen that at the Glen so many times!”
Negri and Pew finished fourth at last year's Watkins Glen event which, typical for endurance racing events, was run through changing conditions -starting in the wet with the track drying during the race – and mechanical problems – the team having to deal with a throttle complaint during the second half of the race.
The 2012 Sahlen's Six Hours of The Glen begins at 11am (local time) on July 1.