With a reputation as one of the toughest tracks on the continent, Michael Shank Racing with Curb/Agajanian is prepared to put in the hard work at Sebring International Raceway on Saturday as the team is set to debut in the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring Fueled by Fresh From Florida.
With a stout driver line up in John Pew, Ozz Negri, and Justin Wilson, the team is hoping to convert the impressive practice pace the group showed early in the event into a strong run at race time with the No. 60 Need for Speed Ford EcoBoost Riley Daytona Prototype.
Having been quickest in the second practice session of the event, the team focused on using the late-afternoon qualifying session as a practice run on Friday. Negri will start the race from the back of the pack on Saturday after the Brazilian—who could likely drive the track blindfolded thanks to his thousands of laps here—did not satisfy the IMSA rule about minimum laps in the Thursday night practice.
“We approached this qualifying session as if it was practice since we already know we will be starting last,” said Negri of the qualifying effort. “There is a rule that each driver must complete at least three laps in the night practice and because of the timing of when we had a little issue last night, I wasn’t able to do it. So we changed a few things with the car, looking to see if there was a better way to go for tomorrow’s race. Now we know what it does, and we’ll be going back. It is what it is. It’s a long race obviously so we’ll just have to work hard and do our best.”
“We have to start at the tail of the field tomorrow and we knew that prior to qualifying,” added team owner Mike Shank. “So we tried some things in the qualifying session, and they didn’t really work. It is very tough (being moved to the back) to take because the car was pretty good yesterday. We hope the rule gets changed in the future but we will be ready to race with our Need for Speed car and can’t wait to get going.