Pew & Negri Return To Shank Racing

The Michael Shank Racing team and drivers A.J. Allmendinger, John Pew, Ozz Negri and Justin Wilson enjoy victory in the 2012 Rolex 24 At Daytona at Daytona Int'l Speedway. (Grand-Am photo)
The Michael Shank Racing team and drivers A.J. Allmendinger, John Pew, Ozz Negri and Justin Wilson enjoy victory in the 2012 Rolex 24 At Daytona at Daytona Int’l Speedway. (Grand-Am photo)

PATASKALA, Ohio — Michael Shank Racing announced the return of drivers John Pew and Ozz Negri to the team’s No. 60 Ford Riley Daytona Prototype for the 2013 Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series season.

The 2013 season will kick off with the 51st Rolex 24 At Daytona Jan. 26-27 as the Ohio-based team looks to defend its 2012 Rolex title with a repeat victory in the twice around the clock event.

2013 marks the fourth consecutive season for the Negri-Pew driver combination in the No. 60 Ford with the duo having seen much success over the past three years. The two have scored seven podiums and 14 top-five finishes together — highlighted by the outstanding 2012 Rolex 24 victory when the pair was joined by NASCAR pilot AJ Allmendinger and IndyCar star Justin Wilson.

“Why mess with a good thing?” said team owner Mike Shank. “This is a great pairing, and I don’t think that there are two guys out there that work harder than Ozz and John. Obviously starting the year the way we did was huge, but I think the pace we had with the 60 car sometimes got overlooked after some back racing luck so we didn’t factor into the championship the way we had been hoping. This has been an incredibly busy off season and I’m personally very excited about Daytona and of course about what is next in the future of this sport.”

Pew, who claimed the Jim Trueman Award by earning top honors in the Pro-Am championship in 2010 and 2011, has continued to impress in the Daytona Prototype ranks with several more stellar performances behind the wheel in 2012.

While the Rolex 24 win grabbed the headlines, Pew’s strong performances were not constrained to just the season-opener. He matched his career-best qualifying effort of fifth twice in 2012 – starting inside the third row at both Barber Motorsports Park and Road America. Pew also impressed in his opening stint during monsoon-like conditions at Homestead-Miami Speedway, and again at Montreal when he went wheel to wheel for position with 2003 CART Champion Paul Tracy.

“This team is really incredible and I’m very pleased to be back,” said Pew, who first joined Michael Shank Racing in 2007 as he made his DP debut following several years of formula car competition. “Mike has built a great organization, and working with Ozz is something that is much more than just having a great co-driver on race weekends. We’ve had a little bit of a break now since Lime Rock, so the batteries are charged and I’m very motivated to get back to work at Daytona!”

In addition to the team’s Rolex 24 victory, 2012 also saw Pew and Negri stand on the podium at both New Jersey Motorsports Park and Road America. Those results added to Negri’s streak of scoring at least one Rolex Series podium in each season since 2004. He has remained an integral part of Michael Shank Racing and has mentored many drivers since first joining the team nine years ago.

“Winning the 24 was of course a dream come true, but we have much more to achieve this year and everyone has been working since Lime Rock Park to be ready to go with a very fast car at Daytona,” said Negri. “This Ford-Riley platform is a great package, and we are fortunate to have the relationships and support that we have with Ford and Roush-Yates. What John (Pew) has done in his career is amazing because he didn’t even start racing until later in his life, and I am very proud to be his co-driver once again this year.”