Huge Team Effort from Michael Shank Racing Puts Tire Kingdom Fourth on the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring Grid



Sebring, Fla. (20 March 2015) – It takes a team to win, and sometimes it takes one to even make it to the grid.

About four and a half hours prior to qualifying at Sebring International Raceway on Friday, the Michael Shank Racing with Curb/Agajanian squad determined that there was an engine issue that would require a new motor for the No. 60 Tire Kingdom Ligier JS P2 prior to the 15-minute qualifying session.

The always perseverant Michael Shank Racing rallied together as everyone went all hands on deck to make the engine swap in record time. With engineers, mechanics, and even team owner Mike Shank pitching in to help, the change was made in 4 hours and 20 minutes and the Tire Kingdom machine was on pit lane with minutes to spare before qualifying.

The team had been quick in every session and led the final practice, but without having the time to put the car on the set-up pad prior to the run, it was a bit of an unknown as to what qualifying would bring. Despite charging into the unknown with how the car might perform, Ozz Negri was able to put down a flying lap of 1:52.170-seconds to lock in fourth on the grid.

2a82edf9-c78c-4219-bc87-132df7a0e950“I am so pleased with the team today,” said Negri, who will team with John Pew and Justin Wilson in the 12 hour endurance event. “They worked non-stop and the heat here is really intense and since the last practice they have not stopped working hard. The car was ready five minutes before and we did not have a chance to put the car on the pad or anything so we don’t really know where it is. We had a little bit more understeer than what I like, but I was pushing really hard. I’m happy we are starting up front and not in the back. We have some work to do and we will go from there. I am just really proud of my guys and the team. I didn’t have much hope of us making qualifying and they worked so hard and got us out there so I am happy. I am pretty excited for tomorrow I think we are going to be strong in the race.”

Team Owner Mike Shank was thrilled with his team’s performance.

“I’m super pumped with what this team did today,” enthused Shank. “In just four hours and 20 minutes we completely changed a motor that we have never changed like this before so I was pretty happy with that. It’s a bummer because we are definitely better than where we qualified, we didn’t really get a chance to dial in the setup. But we were just lucky to be out there for qualifying so I just really appreciate our guys getting this done and now we will go and do race preparation until probably 10 or 11 tonight and then we will be ready to race.”

Michael Shank Racing will have a 20-minute warm up session Saturday morning before the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring goes green at 10:40 AM. FOX Sports 1 will have LIVE coverage of the opening segment beginning at 10:30 AM ET.

IMSA Radio will carry live coverage through all 12 hours.