Michael Shank Racing to Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca

MSR_Racing_logo Pataskala, Ohio (28 April 2015) – With the iconic corkscrew corners, passionate and knowledgeable race fans, and proximity to some of the best seafood dining on the calendar, the annual visit to Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca is a highlight for all of the IMSA TUDOR United SportsCar Championship teams. But potentially none more so than Michael Shank Racing with Curb/Agajanian and drivers John Pew and Ozz Negri. The team has experienced some significant breakthroughs on the circuit, and is anticipating another big weekend again this year. 4b7ae5d3-3a2d-47a7-a00c-98958463a1a2This Sunday’s Continental Tire Monterey Grand Prix Powered by Mazda will mark the debut outing for Michael Shank Racing’s Honda-powered Ligier at the track. The team has high expectations for the LMP2-based Prototype, which figures to make the most of its downforce package on the twisty 2.238-mile circuit. The Ohio-based team has enjoyed some highlight moments at the track, and will look to do so once again this weekend. In 2005, the visit to Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca saw the team make its first-ever start as a two-car program. The weekend was a toe in the water for the duo of Mark Patterson and Ozz Negri, and they had an immediate impact. Negri stormed to the pole position with the duo coming home 10th in their first race together. That Laguna effort launched a second car effort and significant growth for the team as the combination went on to become podium regulars and race-winners. In 2007, Michael Shank Racing opened a new chapter in its history when Pew decided to have a run in the Prototype ranks after several years in Pro Mazda open wheel competition. Pew and co-driver Ian James were a potent pair at Laguna, scoring seventh together on debut as Negri and Patterson netted a podium finish for Shank with a run to third. Pew has gone on to make over 100 Prototype starts and is as sharp as ever. He and Michael Shank Racing are hoping for big things out of the Ligier this weekend at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca. “We are hungry to turn the speed that we’ve got into some strong results, so we are optimistic about Laguna,” said Team Owner Mike Shank. “We made a ton of progress in a very short amount of time at Long Beach with the Ligier, and hopefully we can keep that curve on the upswing this weekend. The guys know that we’ve got to make the most out of the opportunities that we’ve got, and for this car on this track, this should be a weekend where we are strong but we’ve got to be ready to work at it all weekend. Hopefully it all comes together for us and we can fight back a little bit from where we are right now.” Michael Shank Racing finished sixth in the previous TUDOR Championship race at Long Beach. On track action begins at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca with practice on Friday. A morning practice on Saturday will be followed by a 15-minute qualifying session at 5:30 PM PST. The Continental Tire Monterey Grand Prix Powered by Mazda is set to go green on Sunday at 1:05 PM PST. Live television coverage of the event will begin at 4:00 PM ET on FOX Sports 1.