Saturday, January 27, 2007

Gentleman, start your engines…

The famous call to fire up the Lexus (and other motors...) came at 1:27PM, and with two F-14s doing a pair of fly-overs as the field took to the track for the pace laps, the crowd was pretty spooled up, cheering even louder than they had when Grand Marshal Richard Petty was introduced.

AJ will start from tenth, and Oz will try to tread lightly and move his way up through the pack from 20th…

The race got off to a clean start, and about an hour and fifteen minutes into the long race, AJ made a big move to the inside of Marc Goosens in the Lowes car to take the lead. AJ seemed to like the car as he built a 12 second lead over the rest of the field without much problem…Meanwhile Oz has moved up into the top ten and keeps on moving up...

Race day

Race day dawns…

It’s race day here in Daytona, and MSR is ready to get down to buiness. Its going to be a busy day even before the race starts. Drivers meetings, autograph sessions, and some media time…and then its time to race.

Friday=Photo shoots galore

With just two practice sessions today, the drivers spent their time bouncing between meetings and photo shoots. The team put in the race motors and just did some test laps to make sure everything was running well, and the grins on the drivers faces seemed to say more than anything they did.

Thursday's ups and downs...

Oz fastest….

The rain finally cleared, and in the final practice session, Oz bagged a fast lap of 1:43.309-seconds, which is faster than the track record!

Qualifying set back…

After such a great practice session, the qualifying didn’t go that well, but AJ qualified tenth, and Oz will line up 20th after getting a spot in the final qualifying…

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Rain, rain, go away...

A steady rain greeted everyone this morning at Daytona, so the MSR guys are going to wait before heading out on track in the first practice session. In the meantime, the massive field of drivers filed into the Drivers Meeting room for some instructions from Mr. Raffuaf, GA’s Director of Competition…still to be determined with the weather is how they are actually going to decide to set the field…

After the meeting broke up, Mark caught up a little bit with Bill Lester, who tested with Michael Shank Racing at Daytona in November and will be racing a Pontiac-Riley with RVO this weekend.

As the session opened up team owner Mike Shank has decided to hold off, thanks to the conditions, which Henri Zogaib described as "...perfect weather to see a movie!"

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Bright lights, big distractions...

As if 75 screaming race cars and twice as many superstar drivers on hand weren’t enough to keep the race fans attention during the 24, the midway and carnival are full of things to do and buy. Although, it can get awfully cold atop that ferris wheel…

Setting things up

Everyone got down to Daytona and once Grand-Am let the rigs park and the crews in, got down to business. Theres some new cool stuff, from the transporter for the 6 car to the new stanchions for the 60 car. Looks like the team will work out of the 38 and 39 pit stalls for the race, which is good news because it’s not another area code separating the pits and the garages.

The crew is getting everything set up, and most of the drivers are here or on their way-PT is still testing down at Sebring and HCN is also getting warmed up with another race car.

Leigh Diffy, who was on the broadcast team for Speed Channel in 2004, has returned from Australia and will once again bring his excitement for the sport to the race broadcasts. Welcome back, Leigh!

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

The players and the scorecard

Since the race is going to be on Fox and Speed Channel, and because we should be making more than twenty pit stops, here is a list of the guys you'll see doing the work behind and over the wall this weekend. It's not just the drivers and cars that have to be operating at peak performance for 24 hours!

2007-Michael Shank Racing staff and crew

Mike and Marybeth Shank-Team owners
Dale Wise-Technical Director
Erik Petersen-Team Coordinator
Ralf Lohr-Transportation and logistics

No. 6 Michael Shank Racing Lexus/Riley

Drivers: Henri Zogaib, Ian James, AJ Allmendinger, Paul Tracy
Engineer: Dale Wise
Ast. Engineer: Erick Petersen
Crew Chief: Darin Pig (Pit duty—Front)
Lead mechanic: Dave Leiter (Pit duty-Left Rear)
Mechanic: Justin Harnisfager (Pit duty--driver changes)
Fueler: Ralph Lohr
Right side Bob Lohr (Pit duty)
Front assist: David Pigg (Pit duty)

No. 60 Michael Shank Racing Lexus/Riley

Drivers: Mark Patterson, Oswaldo Negri, Sam Hornish, Jr., Helio Castroneves
Engineer: Dave Kanning
Ast. Engineer: Jeff Schaffner
Crew Chief: Don Hutchings (Pit duty-Left rear)
Lead mechanic: Russ Marr (Pit duty-front end)
Mechanic Trent Butterfield (Pit duty--front assist)
Fueler: Ton Finley
Front assit: Kevin Wimmer
Spotter: Nyck Nield

Monday, January 22, 2007

Heading south for the Big One

Welcome to Michael Shank Racing's blog for the upcoming Rolex Sports Car Series season. The team has packed up and will be heading south to Daytona Beach on Tuesday to start preparations for Saturday's 1:30 race start. There is a ton to do before thinking about the race start...getting into Daytona and parked, setting up the garage with all the support equipment for the race, and then getting ready to fire the Lexus up on Thrusday and get ready for qualifying...

You might have noticed the race being advertised on FOX this weekend--It will open up live at 1:00 on FOX and then switch over to Speed Channel 90 minutes later...stay tuned to this address, as well as for some behind the scenes look as the Columbus-based squad looks to go one better this year after taking second place overall in 2006.