The Alley

Can Shank make it 6 for 6?

ozz_negri
Michael Shank Racing have led every practice session plus qualifying for this year’s Rolex 24 At Daytona. The big question ahead – can they make it a clean sweep and win the team’s second Rolex?

Pole winner Oswaldo Negri Jr is teamed with AJ Allmendinger, John Pew and young star Matt McMurry. Negri, Allmendinger and Pew know how to win at Daytona – the trio took this race in 2012 when driving a Ford-powered Daytona Prototype.

Now armed with a HPD-powered Ligier P2 car, the rapid european prototype has set the pace in every session this weekend – every practice plus qualifying.

The challenge ahead is – can they repeat that performance in the race? Negri is working on the secrets to success with the new car which include the challenge of getting the tires up to temperature in the lighter and more nimble P2 machine.

“I knew from the previous session that the tires would be at their peak on Lap 4 or 5,” said Negri of his qualifying run.

“I was just going for it and rode way too much speed into the busstop and changed direction pretty good. I went on the throttle at once and the car hit the curb a little too hard on the inside and just started a tank slapper and I’m going toward the outside wall and I thought ‘(Mike) Shank won’t like this!’ That lap was perfect up until that point when I got a little bit too greedy.

“It’s the second time on pole here for us, and now we need a second Rolex watch to look cool with it!

“We’ve won the race once. We know how to win it. We may look good and we may look strong but we never stop working. Five minutes before qualifying I was looking at video, looking at data, working with my teammates, my engineers, and it paid off. It wasn’t easy. I pushed as hard as I could. I knew the Daytona Prototype with the cooler weather would come back to us so it took every little bit of my effort and the effort of the whole team. ”

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