Justin Wilson joins Michael Shank Racing at Watkins Glen
Justin Wilson will join Michael Shank Racing this weekend in the Sahlen’s Six Hours of the Glen to co-drive the No. 6 Michael Shank Racing Ford-Riley with Gustavo Yacaman.
Justin made his first Rolex Series start with the team in 2006, finishing second in the Rolex 24 At Daytona and going on to win the 50th running of the fabled race in 2012 with Michael Shank Racing. He followed up that effort with another run to the podium in the 2013 Rolex 24 with the Ohio-based team after the group rallied from being several laps down early in the event to cross the finish line in third.
Justin also has a favorable record of success at Watkins Glen International, having scored Dale Coyne Racing’s first-ever IndyCar victory at the track in 2010.
The race weekend caps a streak of IZOD IndyCar Series races that have seen Justin doing battle on a range of tracks including big oval, short oval, and temporary street circuits as he now looks forward to the natural terrain circuit in upstate New York.
“I’m very happy to get the chance to race with Mike (Shank) again, particularly at Watkins Glen,” said Justin, who finished 11th in this weekend’s Iowa IndyCar event for Dale Coyne Racing. “Mike has a great group of guys so it will just be like seeing some old friends again, and we can just pick up where we left off at Daytona. I’ve never raced in the Six Hour, so this is a great opportunity. I’m grateful that Mike rang me to help him out this weekend. As a driver you love to keep busy and I am really excited about this weekend.”
Justin joins the team for Round 7 of the 2013 GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Series championship after sponsorship difficulties for Antonio Pizzonia’s supporters will see the quick Brazilian stepping away from his commitment with the team. Yacaman and Pizzonia scored a best finish of fourth place at Road Atlanta in just their third start together.
“Unfortunately Antonio’s group had some sponsorship challenges, so we needed to develop a new plan for this weekend,” said team owner Mike Shank, who has seen his team stage yet another huge effort to prepare for the race weekend after a fire at their home track of Mid-Ohio ended the day early for the No. 6 Ford-Riley. “It is a shame, as Antonio is a true talent, and we really appreciated his efforts-- he was quick right from the start for us. We are very lucky to have someone like Justin available on this short notice, and I want to thank Dale (Coyne), for letting him race with us at the Glen.”
“It was an honor for me to share the driving duties of the No. 6 MSR Ford-Riley with Antonio Pizzonia,” said Yacaman. “He is a really great guy who I learned a lot from and it’s sad to be unable to finish the season with him. I have known Justin (Wilson) for a while now and had the chance to work alongside him in 2012 and 2013 when he ran in the No. 60 MSR entry at the Rolex 24 At Daytona. He is a great guy whom I am sure I will be able to work with very well and learn a lot from. I want to take a moment and thank the whole MSR crew who after the unfortunate events that occurred at Mid-Ohio worked hard to get our No. 6 car ready to rock for this weekend at the Glen. I also want to thank Michael Shank for the support he has given me the past few weeks.”