Grand-Am Wraps Two-Day Kansas Test


KANSAS CITY, Kan. – Just when things seemed to be cruising along in routine fashion Sunday at Grand-Am’s Kansas Speedway test, a flurry of activity over the last few hours applied multi-faceted punctuation to the two-day affair.

Michael Shank had a hand in it. Shank, owner of the No. 60 Ford/Riley DP that had the fast lap in five of the six Rolex Series sessions with Ozz Negri driving, offered up 10-lap stints to not one, but two up-and-coming drivers. Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge regular Shelby Blackstock, 22 and Corey Fergus, recent winner of the SCCA Runoffs’ Sports 2000 championship, jumped in to finish off the last two sessions on the new 2.37-mile road course.

The changes kept timing and scoring officials on their toes. Negri ran 24 laps before giving way to Blackstock in the fifth Rolex Series practice. Negri ran 25 laps, then handed off to Fergus, 24, in the last session.

“I just wanted to give a couple of young guys a chance,” Shank said, “and they both did great.”

The same can be said for the more-seasoned (37 years old) Barbosa, lead driver in the No. 9 Action Express Corvette DP. Barbosa led the final Rolex Series session – and the two-day test overall – with a lap of 123.405 mph (1:09.138). The test offered preparation for next season’s (Aug. 16-17) Grand-Am debut at the speedway.

The fact that this was only a test notwithstanding, “it’s always nice when you can make good progress like we did the last couple of days and get headed in a good direction,” Barbosa said.

“This new track may seem simple at first but it’s easy to make mistakes so it was useful to be here. This place is fast and quite challenging which will make things interesting when we race.”

In the Rolex Series’ GT class, Christopher Haase laid the fast laps down in all six sessions over the two days, in the No. 52 Audi R8. Among CTSCC drivers, Blackstock’s Roush Performance teammate Billy Johnson was fastest, driving the No. 61 Ford Mustang.