Negri Cops Rolex24 Pole For Michael Shank Racing

Michael Shank Racing pole winning car shown racing through the high-banked fourth turn.  [Joe Jennings Photo]


Daytona Beach, Fla. – Oswaldo Negri Jr. raced to the pole position for the upcoming Rolex24 at Daytona, doing so in Michael Shank Racing’s new Ligier JS P2 Honda HPD. The Florida resident smoothly traversed his way around the 3.56-mile road course in a time of 1:39.194 seconds or a speed of 129.201miles per hour to earn the coveted starting spot in the 53rd running of America’s longest endurance race.

For Negri, he earned a Rolex24 pole for the second time and scored his third career Prototype pole.

Said the fleet Floridian, “It is great to be on pole. We worked pretty hard even though we knew we had a good package. The combination with the Ligier chassis and the Honda engine has been incredible, but we are still learning the car. Every time you get more out it you want more.

“Everything went well, and I knew the DPs were going to be close. I can promise you I took everything that car had. I am really, really happy. The pole position is good for bragging rights only. After all, it is a 24-hour race and the real deal is being there on Sunday and getting the checkered flag.”

Sharing the driving duties in the brightly colored car with Negri are NASCAR ace A. J. Allmendinger and sports-car veterans John Pew and Matt McMurry.

A tick of the clock behind were the two Chip Ganassi Racing Ford EcoBoost/Target Riley entries of IndyCar champion Scott Dixon and perennial TUDOR champion Scott Pruett. Their speeds were 129.061 and 129.052 mph, respectively.

2014 Rolex24 winner Joao Barbosa was next in line.

Johnny Mowlen survived a five-car battle to earn the pole position in the Prototype Challenge class with a rapid time of 1:42.318. His run wasn’t easy as he had to out-drive Colin Braun, Tom Kimber-Smith, Renger van der Zande and Martin Plowman to do so.

The Brit drove the BAR1 Motorsports ORECA FLM09, a car he shares with Tom Papadopoulos, Tomy Drissi and Brian Alder.

Said Mowlen, “It is nice to start any race on the pole. Going into the session, the Continental tires got better with each succeeding lap, and on the last lap, I reverted to my 21-year old mentality and through caution to the wind and got away with it.”

Driving an immaculately-prepared Chevrolet Corvette C7.R, Oliver Gavin took the pole spot in the GT LeMans class with a time of 1:43.488 or 123.840 mph, to become the 12th different pole winner in the short history of the GTLM class.

“This is a very competitive class, but our Corvette was strong today even though we didn’t think we had the pace for the pole. We just had a perfect qualifying session and everything just fell in place.”
Gavin credited teammate Jan Magnussen for giving him an all-important tow when it counted.

For Gavin, he took his first TUDOR class pole. His co-drivers are IndyCar ace Simon Pagenaud and sport-car ace Tommy Milner.

Second in class came the Ferrari 458 Italia of Gianmaria Bruni with the Aston Martin Vantage V8 of Pedro Lamy third.

In a last lap aggressive run, James Davison put Kevin Buckler’s Aston Martin V12 Vantage on the pole in GT Daytona class action, doing so in a time of 1:47.272 or 119.472 mph. He co-drives the car with Christina Nielsen, Christoffer Nygard and Brandon Davis.

Said Davison, “I am blown away that we ended up on pole. My expectations were low, and we had adversity when we waited in pits and the course went red, so I had just one lap to pull it off. We were a bit lucky today.”

For Davison, he notched his fifth TUDOR class pole, five in row going back to 2014.



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