|LEXINGTON, Ohio (June 24 , 2006) – Competing just down the road from its Columbus race shop, Michael Shank Racing (MSR) placed two Lexus-powered Rileys in the top-10 to lead Lexus in Saturday’s EMCO Gears Classic at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course in Lexington, Ohio.|
Leading the way was the duo of Mark Patterson and Oswaldo Negri who placed seventh in the #60 Flight Options Lexus-Riley. After starting 11th, they ran in or around the top-10 throughout the event. It’s the second consecutive strong effort for Patterson and Negri after an impressive fourth at Watkins Glen and gave them six top-10 finishes this year.
They were joined in the top-10 by MSR teammates Mike Borkowski and Tommy Constantine who placed ninth in the #6 Playboy Racing/Mears Motor Coach Lexus-Riley. The pair started in 14th and moved up through the field while battling through heavy traffic. The ninth-place finish marks the third top-10 finish of the season for the #6 car.
Things didn’t go nearly as well for the #01 CompUSA Lexus-Riley and Ganassi Racing. After failing to pass technical inspection on Friday due to a chassis issue after qualifying second, drivers Luis Diaz and Scott Pruett were forced to start 26th. Diaz charged up through the field and eventually made his way into the top five before handing the car off to Pruett. The 2004 Daytona Prototype champion was running sixth and within striking distance of a top-three podium finish when his day came to a sudden end. The CompUSA Lexus was collected in a two-car crash involving Burt Frisselle and Hoover Orsi that was precipitated when Orsi hit Frisselle from behind and sending him spinning side-ways across the track and collecting Pruett. The end result was a 21st-place finish and Pruett and Diaz falling 26 points out of the series points lead.
The Ganassi duo weren’t the only ones who saw their championship battle affected by the crash. While continuing to lead the Rolex Sports Car Series Daytona Prototype Manufacturer’s Championship, Lexus saw its 13-point advantage dwindle to just two points after Mid-Ohio with five events remaining.
Next up for the Grand American Rolex Sports Car Series is the Daytona International Speedway and the Brumos 250 on a rare one-day event, June 29. Thursday’s activities begin with two morning practices, followed by qualifying at 12:15 and a night race beginning at 7:00 p.m. which will be shown live on SPEED (all times EDT). An IROC race will immediately follow the Rolex Series event.
Lexus results – Start/Finish
#60 Mark Patterson/Oswaldo Negri 11/7
#6 Mike Borkowski/Tommy Constantine 14/9
#01 Luis Diaz/Scott Pruett 26/21