“Between the new Pirelli tire, new Riley package, and a new power partner with Ford Racing, there are a ton of new elements for us to learn so we can get the maximum performance out of each," said team owner Mike Shank. “So having the same group of engineers, who already have years of experience working with each other and already have long relationships with our drivers, is a great situation. Even though there is so much to come to grips with, we feel like keeping this group of engineers together, along with our driver line up is going to help us hit the ground running this year."
Dale Wise, who was part of the development team for the Truesports IndyCar and worked with Scott Pruett and Raul Boesel in the PPG IndyCar Championship ranks, has been with Michael Shank Racing since its inception, and continues this year in his role as Technical Director. Wise, who keeps speed a priority even in his off time with a passion for motorcycles and watersports, will be on board the Michael Shank Racing pit box as the race engineer for the No. 6 of John Pew and Ian James on race weekends as well as overseeing the engineering program for the entire team.
Dave Kanning, who never once sat down during the No. 60 car’s run to the podium in the Rolex 24 in 2006, will oversee the engineering side of the Patterson/Negri Ford-Riley entry once again in 2008. Kanning scored a record-setting pole with Negri in 2005 at Laguna Seca and 2007 saw them return for a podium run at the famous Monterey facility. Another avid motorcyclist, Kanning engineered Sam Hornish Jr. to victory in Atlantics before he moved to Europe to work with future Formula 1 racer Christian Klien.
Working with Kanning will once again be Jeff Schaffner, who was a data expert with Champ Car powerhouse Newman Hass Racing before working in the Rahal Racing organization. Schaffner joined MSR in 2006 and can be counted on to know exactly how long it is until the 60 needs to pit at any point during the weekend.
Joining Wise on the pit box will once again be Eric Peterson, who works as second engineer on the No. 6 car on race weekends. Peterson, who was Danica Patrick’s spotter before joining Michael Shank Racing, also serves as team coordinator based out of Michael Shank Racing’s 20,000 square foot custom-build race shop. Peterson is yet another Michael Shank Racing guy with a taste for speed, having followed his passion to the height of professional bike racing before moving into motorsports.
With so many new elements to tackle, Michael Shank Racing will be in constant motion leading up to, and through, the Test Days at Daytona on January 4-6 before race action begins at 1:30 PM on Saturday, January 26th for the 46th Rolex 24 At Daytona.