Michael Shank Racing with Curb/Agajanian Brings Home Sixth Place Finish in Brickyard Grand Prix


IMSA 2014:   Tudor United SportsCar Championship Brickyard Grand Prix at Indianapolis Motor Speedway Jul 24Indianapolis, IN (25 July 2014) – Running fourth in the closing laps of the Brickyard Grand Prix, Michael Shank Racing with Curb/Agajainian was looking to break into the podium ranks on Friday night at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. But the long green-flag run to the checkered flag took its toll as the team, along with most of the Prototype runners, had to surrender the track position with a quick visit to pit lane for fuel to the finish to score sixth in Round 8 of the IMSA TUDOR SportsCar Championship.

John Pew opened the race from behind the wheel, and was able to avoid any issues in a highly dynamic race start that saw cars making contact and taking to the grass as the field slowed for the tight turn one complex as Pew hung tough to run fifth in the order with the No. 60 Ford EcoBoost/Riley machine.

“I just found a clear space and went for the clear space,” said Pew. “It was the only thing I could do. I just reacted to the situation.”

After emerging from the first lap action and settling into a race pace, Pew soon found himself fighting another battle as the brakes were not as efficient later in his run.

“It wasn’t stopping like it was before,” said Pew. “The brakes were taking a lot of pressure to even lock them up, which is unusual for this car. I had to move my brake points way back. Once I got further into my stint, some of the looseness went away. There was a lot of traffic out there, but I thought most of the drivers were pretty heads-up. The GT guys have gotten a lot better but always in the back of my mind I’m thinking I have to give the car to Ozz, so there’s no reason to take any risks. But you still have to get around traffic and stay in the best position you can.”

The race was then a matter of one fortunate yellow, and a second that never came as a caution just ahead of the hour mark made for a great fuel window for Pew to make the stop and turn the car over to Negri. The four-class (P, LMPC, GTD, and GTLM) field meant that nearly fifty cars shared the 2.435-mile circuit, making for a busy time behind the wheel for both Pew and Negri.

“With the PCs and the GTs, it was hard to gauge when to get close to them and when to let off a little so I could lose less time,” said Negri. “I fought hard. I finished the race and I’m going to go home happy because I know I gave it my best. We have some stuff to improve, some stuff to do, which we will keep working hard at. Brilliant job by the crew on pit stops. I worked very hard on my in and out laps.”

The closing laps never yielded a hoped-for caution period, forcing the team to take to the pit lane for a final dash of fuel, returning to the fray to finish sixth.

“We had our fingers crossed but we were committed to that plan,” said team owner Mike Shank. “It just didn’t work out for us today but we knew we were not where we want to be. We improved over the weekend, just like we did at Mosport, but we know that there is more to do to unlock everything this car is capable of so we will just keep at it. I was happy with how the guys performed and it was a straightforward weekend, but just one without the pace we need just yet. Looking forward to Road America already to keep pushing.”

Michael Shank Racing next heads to Road America in two weeks for Round 9 of the TUDOR Championship.


Photo Courtesy: Walter G. Arce, Sr.