Michael Shank Racing were not happy leaving the Californian swing of the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship as gearbox problems afflicted the team at Monterey.
Ozz Negri qualified the Michael Shank Ford-Riley in eighth place for the Prototype and GT Le Mans race with John Pew taking the start of the two hour race.
For the opening laps, Pew kept up a steady pace and managed to hold position amongst a field that was going at it hammer and tongs. Lap after lap, Pew kept the car on the black stuff before handing it over to Negri to take it to the finish.
“The car was good,” said Pew. “I got stuck behind the Patron car for awhile, and took a long time for me to get around it and when I did, about halfway through my stint, the tires had gone off a little bit. It was getting harder and harder to drive, but it was okay. Then Ozz got in the car. He did a good job, got some spots, had some quick lap times but the transmission problem just got worse and worse. The car was good and the guys did a good job. The Ford engine was fantastic. It’s too bad (about the transmission). I don’t know what to say. It’s just bad luck.”
With Negri behind the wheel, the team were looking for at least a top five finish but with the shifting problem getting gradually worse, Michael Shank Racing were unable to make any progress. Eventually the issue got so bad that they had to retire the car with fifteen minutes to go.
“I’m disappointed,” said Negri. “I was looking forward to the race after the warm-up. Even with all the problems, I thought the car had good speed. I don’t know what to say, other than we’ll keep on trying hard. The car was competitive. We’ll go on to the next one.”