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May 01, 2014 - 06:44 AM
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Michael Shank Racing with Curb/Agajanian Returns to Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca
Posted by: newsla on May 01, 2014 - 06:44 AM
USCR News
Michael Shank Racing with Curb/Agajanian Returns to Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca


Michael Shank Racing with Curb/Agajanian drivers John Pew and Ozz Negri are taking their racing careers back to where it started this weekend in the fourth round of the IMSA TUDOR United SportsCar Championship at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca. The track holds a lot of history for both Michael Shank Racing drivers who each share fond memories of the picturesque facility located in northern California.

 

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Pew made his first Daytona Prototype race start at the California circuit in 2007, moving from GT machinery with aplomb as he put his formula car experience to use in the higher horsepower DP machines. Pew will make his 89th consecutive start this weekend since that first race with Michael Shank Racing in 2007.

“I can’t believe I’m up to 89 starts, it’s gone really quickly!” smiled Pew, who won the Rolex 24 in 2012. “Ever since joining this team, it has felt like home. We’ve taken on a lot this year with the new EcoBoost and the new technical package, but this team has just soaked it all up. Racing at Laguna is always special, and I guess it is a little bit more for me this weekend kind of being my anniversary!”

For Negri, the return to Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca is the site where he captured the first pole position for Michael Shank Racing at the track in 2005 as he co-drove with Mark Patterson in his series debut.

“That was really a big moment I think for this team, to show we could use our tools and be fighting with all the top teams, and I think starting on the front row last race next to the Ganassi guys (Last race at Long Beach) was another example of that,” said Negri, who also scored the pole for the Rolex 24 at Daytona with a new track record in 2008. “This is a cool weekend for me and for John (Pew) and this whole team so we are all jus looking forward to getting there and getting to work.”

After posting positive results in the No. 60 Ford EcoBoost Riley in the two longest endurance events to start the season and posting the fastest lap of the race two weeks ago in a 100-minute sprint race at Long Beach, the team now looks to take that speed and turn it into a strong result in this weekend’s quick two-hour event.

As a team, Michael Shank Racing with Curb/Agajanian has performed well at the picturesque northern California circuit, never having placed outside of the top-10 since their Laguna debut in 2005. With a strong history and a string of positive results at Laguna, both the drivers and team alike head into the weekend in anticipation of a big result.

With so many firsts associated with this track for the Michael Shank Racing with Curb/Agajanian team, they look to power their Ford EcoBoost Riley to the podium for the first time this season in the Continental Tire Monterey Grand Prix Powered by Mazda this weekend.

“That’s the goal (podium) for us every time out,” said team owner Mike Shank. “The key is unloading with a fast car and we did that at Long Beach and want to keep that momentum this weekend. Laguna is a different kind of track—we’ve had a ton of different kinds of tracks this year already—and hopefully we can translate what we’ve learned so far to be quick on this smooth track with some high-speed transition corners. I’m excited for John as well, it’s amazing the progress he has made since joining our team. He was a natural from day one, and has only gotten better.”

The weekend will kick off with some promotional work with Continental Tire as John Pew is slated to provide two-seater rides for VIP and media guests on Thursday. The quick two-hour race will go green on Sunday May 4th at 5:45 PM (ET) and will be aired LIVE on FOX Sports 1 starting at 5:00 PM (ET).


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