Watkins Glen, NY (1 July 2012) - After showing strong pace in the opening stages of the Sahlen's Six Hours of The Glen, Michael Shank Racing with Curb/Agajanian overcame a pair of setbacks and raced forward through a long green flag period to bring home a sixth place finish with John Pew and Ozz Negri sharing the No. 60 LiveOn Ford-Riley in the Sahlen's Six Hours of The Glen on Sunday. The six-hour event marked round eight of the 2012 GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Series Championship as well as the penultimate round of the inaugural North American Endurance Championship presented by VISITFLORIDA.com.
Pew opened the six-hour race from the eighth position and delivered another stellar--arguably his best yet-- performance behind the wheel of the No. 60 LiveOn Ford-Riley as he clicked off lap times equivalent to those of the leaders during his stint, making the most of the new Continental Tire being utilized at the Glen. Staying in the car through the opening Lap 16 pit stop, Pew worked his way up to fourth in the order.
But those strong efforts were not rewarded when Pew got squeezed off track as he continued to hold off the advances of Formula 1 and IndyCar veteran Sebastian Bourdais as they worked through a throng of GT traffic. Unfortunately, a Porsche GT entry either didn't see Pew coming, or didn't care, closing the door on him at the high-speed entry to the Bus Stop, forcing Pew to pinch the corner and spin off track in avoidance.
Though the car was not damaged, it lost power and the resulting long wait for a restart cost the team one lap to the leaders.
"I was very disappointed with what happened in the Bus Stop," said Pew. "Looking back at it I'm trying to think if I could have done something different. It's hard to say. You know you have everyone behind you and they're trying to go two-by-two, and it didn't work. Unfortunately the car stalled when it spun and we couldn't get it started again and we had to wait for the push. And that really hurt us quite a bit. But we did get back on the lead lap with some good strategy and Ozz did a hell of a job - the Ironman - he did some long stints and gave it all he had."
Despite the hiccup, Michael Shank Racing's strategy put a quick car to good use, eventually regaining their lap back as Negri returned to the track 30th overall. An impressive run during Negri's 1.5-hour stint saw him climb back through the field to run in the front running mix of cars in sixth. Looking to continue moving forward after having made up over 30 seconds on the leader's car, the MSR squad was once again dealt disappointment in the Bus Stop as Ozz made the most of a strong run up the hill and went side by side through the chicane with the No. 9, but the close quarters running saw Negri spinning off track briefly. He was able to refire and return to the pits to turn the car back over to Pew.