While Michael Shank Racing with Curb/Agajanian still rides a high from their historic Rolex 24 win, driver Ozz Negri (FAR LEFT) has even more to celebrate at this weekend's Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series event at Barber Motorsports Park, as the Brazilian driver is set to make his 100th Rolex Sports Car Series race start at the 2.3-mile Alabama road course.
Fresh off a dominating performance in the Rolex 24 with co-drivers John Pew, AJ Allmendinger, and Justin Wilson which saw the team win the prestigious 50th Anniversary running of the event, Negri has now been able to check off one of his greatest racing accomplishments with that historic victory as he approaches his 100th start.
“The 100th Rolex race is good at any track, but it is better at tracks like Barber especially at an event where we are so strong!” Negri said. “Barber is one of my favorite tracks, but when I get there I will treat it just like as if it was my first Rolex Race. It's cool to reach this milestone, but it would be even cooler to have a strong result here!”
Negri's influence and role with Michael Shank Racing has included a rich mix of being a racer, consultant, coach, and non-stop optimist.
“I can't even begin to describe what kind of influence Ozz has had on my team,” Shank offered. “He put this organization in position to win the 24, and it all goes back to 2004 when we first ran him and he got us on the podium in just our second Rolex Series race. Having such a long term relationship at is a big accomplishment, and I think it says a lot about the people that we are associated with to have that kind of longevity and loyalty. Beyond being a hell of a driver, Ozz is an outstanding coach, and just a huge asset to this organization and I'm proud to have him on this team.”
Negri made his first Grand-Am start in 2003, driving a Daytona Prototype at Daytona International Speedway for Cegwa Sport and a Porsche GT3 for Cunningham Racing in three events. He picked up three top-fives in his four Grand-Am starts that year.In 2004, he returned to the seat of a Daytona Prototype when he joined Michael Shank Racing to team with Burt Frisselle, with the duo netting two podiums on the way to sixth in the season championship
He scored two podium finishes with co-driver Burt Frisselle as the duo took Michael Shank Racing to sixth in the team championship that year. At the end of that first season, Negri was named as the “Grand American Daytona Prototype Rising Star” in a survey of Grand-Am teams and officials as well as a panel of media members.
Negri has remained a driver for Michael Shank Racing ever since and has played a key role in the success of the team as well as the race craft development of several co-drivers – including Mark Patterson and John Pew who each won two Pro-Am Championships while co-driving with Negri.
“Ozz is very competitive and has a tremendous work ethic,” offered Pew, his current co-driver. “He never slacks off and is always thinking of better ways to do things. He's always thinking about the next race.There's a lot of fast drivers out there, but not many that are fast and can communicate to another driver what you have to do to be fast as well. Even when we have other fast pro drivers on the team, they respect him and listen to him as well.He's a real team player and gives everything for the team.
Since his first Grand-Am start, Negri has collected 15 podiums, three wins and two pole positions.