2008 Riley Mk XI Michael Shank Racing Prototype
James joined Michael Shank Racing for the 2007 season looking to check off the final class of Grand American racing that he has not yet won in-the Daytona Prototypes. James followed the typical single-seater ladder through the ranks in Europe before racing Stateside and has a wide scope of experience in the sport, including taking the 2004 LMP2 Championship in American Le Mans competition.
The Britsh-born racer made one Daytona Prototype race start in 2006 in the Rolex 24 At Daytona co-driving with Henri Zogaib, but engine problems early in the day prevented him from scoring a strong result. Teamed with Pew, James brought top-tens with metronomic regularity and his feedback will help MSR get the most out of the new Forld-Riley combination.
Source - Michael Shank Racing
After an impressive partial 2007 Daytona Prototype campaign with MSR, Pew has signed on to join Ian James for the entire 2008 season. John PewPew brings racing background that is markedly similar to 2006 Trueman Award winner Mark Patterson's to the team. With extensive formula car experience including a Star Mazda Masters Championship from 2005, Pew is also no stranger to the Rolex Series, having made multiple starts in the Rolex 24 At Daytona in the GT class as well as one Daytona Prototype start last season. Pew will team with James in the No. 6 Playboy Racing Lexus-Riley.
Oswaldo Negri Jr.
Don't let Negri's quiet, humble manner deceive you-he's one of the fastest drivers out there. With a pedigree that includes rubbing elbows, and sometimes wheels, with guys like Barrichello, Coulthard, and de Ferran, Negri has proven quick in anything he's ever driven.
Negri put in a signature drive to close out the 2006 season, battling through the darkness to hold a bevy of chasers at bay and take his first Rolex Series victory at Miller Motorsports Park in Útah. Nearly every team had three drivers for the nine-hour event, but Negri and Patterson took on the challenge themselves, and were rewarded with a win.
And as many in the paddock will attest, it isn't just Negri's lightning quick lap times that are impressive-he's also a highly sought-after driver coach, and clearly knows how to get the most out of a race car while making sure there's something in reserve for the finish. A father of two, Brazilian-born Negri has made his home in Miami.
Negri's teammate Mark Patterson is a successful businessman who has taken his competitive mindset to the track as he has leapfrogged his way to the top levels of the sport in his typical relentless pursuit of victory.
Running a limited schedule in 2005, Patterson scored a podium in just his third start with Negri before having a break-out season in 2006.
The South African native scored second place in the Rolex 24 At Daytona, won the Trueman Award for the most successful gentleman driver and closed out the season with a victory after a grueling nine-hour battle at Miller Motorsports Park in Útah co-driving with Negri.
With a strong team behind him, and the experience of winning a race under his belt, Patterson has even higher expectations for 2008.Source - Michael Shank Racing
Mike Shank — Team Owner
Mike Shank first started racing professionally in 1989, and quickly made a name for himself, earning notice as the SCCA-Ohio Valley Region Novice Driver of the Year. He didn't lose any momentum as he moved up the ladder, taking the 1996 Toyota Atlantic C2 Championship before moving up to race in the Indy Racing League.
As he gained winning experience in the car, he put that knowledge to work as his team expanded to run other drivers and Shank eventually retired as a driver to focus on running and growing his team.
Competing in the Champ Car Toyota Atlantic Championship, Michael Shank Racing flourished with drivers like Kenny Wilden, Sam Hornish Jr., and Johnny Rutherford finding success with the team. Wilden scored runner-up in the 1999 Toyota Atlantic Championship, and Shank won 'Team Owner of the Year' twice in four years before deciding to move his team into a new direction and the Rolex Sports Car Series in 2004.
Shank, who himself had one start as a driver in the Rolex 24 at Daytona, oversaw his teams adroit adaptation to the rigors of endurance racing, as the team led the first race they entered and finished on the podium in the second.
With multiple podium trophies on the mantle in the Columbus, Ohio, shop, Shank is focused on taking his team to the next level in 2006, with a full-time stable of two cars, and with a talented stable of drivers piloting cars prepared by a loyal and professional crew, he is likely to continue to grow the legacy of the team.
30-plus national victories in Formula Ford, Formula Continental, Sports 2000 and Formula Atlantic competition
• 1999 - KOOL/Toyota Atlantic Championship Car Owner of the Year
• 1999 - Únited States Road Racing Championship (ÚSRRC), Can-Am Division. Co-drove a Intersport Racing Lola T98/10 in Rolex 24 at Daytona with Jon Fields, Sam Hornish Jr., and Ryan Jones. Qualified eighth and finished 42nd following mechanical problems
• 1997 - Indy Racing League (IRL), qualified 25th and finished 13th in the Las Vegas 500 with Neinhouse Motorsports
• 1996 - Champion, C2 Division, Player's/Toyota Atlantic Championship
• 1989 - SCCA-Ohio Valley Region Novice Driver of the YearSource - Michael Shank Racing
Michael Shank Racing Westfield Insurance Riley Scores Sixth at Mid-Ohio
Michael Shank Racing capped off a strong home track race weekend on Saturday as the Westfield Insurance Ford-Riley of Mark Patterson and Oswaldo Negri improved the teams best-ever race result at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course with a run to sixth place in a dramatic round seven of Rolex Sports Car Series competition.
The race went green as a significant rainstorm took over with heavy winds and the precipitation continued through most of the two hour and forty-five minute race. Patterson opened up the race during some of the most challenging conditions and moved up in the order before turning the car over to Negri, who returned to the field 19th .
Negri, who cut his teeth in the formula car world competing in Europe, was relishing the chance to make the most of the conditions as he sliced his way up to third. However, the forward progress came at a cost, as the Pirelli tires had given all they had and Negri soon found himself thinking championship as he fought to keep the Westfield Insurance machine close to the front without sacrificing a good points finish.
'That was one of the most difficult races I have ever run,' said Negri. 'The conditions so were tough that it was everything you could do every lap just to make sure you didn't go off. I've raced in the rain a lot, and I really love it, but this was really a huge challenge. At the end, the 58 and 59 were mega, and I didn't want to have any contact trying to defend against them and just kept pushing to get what I could get out of the car. It is a shame we weren't able to do a little bit better for all the Westfield Insurance guests, but I'm happy to come out of this race with another solid finish and a car without any damage.'
The sister Michael Shank Racing Ford-Riley didn't fare as hoped, as early in the race, a spinning competitor forced Pew off the racing line and into the path of track debris, cutting a tire down and sending him into a spin. Before he was able to recover, another competitor spun into his path, hitting him and sending the 6 car behind the wall for repairs. The team put in a stout and speedy effort to return the car back to competition just as the green flag flew again, but the team had to fight from laps down before taking the finish with Ian James behind the wheel.
Source - Michael Shank Racing
'It was a tough day, with both cars getting a beat up early on,' said team owner Mike Shank. 'The conditions were challenging, but we had a the right strategy and the guys did a fantastic job all weekend. We love coming up and racing here at Mid-Ohio, but we were hoping to bring the Westfield Insurance guests a little bit more today. But this was ok in terms of the championship, and we'll just look forward to Daytona. Obviously we had a great car there in January, and hopefully we can go even better there in July.'