Negri to miss 2 races after setback to leg injury

  • Associated Press
  • March 29, 2013 - 1:46 PM

PATASKALA, Ohio - Ozz Negri has suffered a setback in his recovery from an offseason leg injury and will miss the next two rounds of the Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series.

Michael Shank Racing said Friday that Michael Valiante will replace Negri in the No. 60 Ford-Riley that is co-driven by John Pew. Valiante raced with the Shank organization in the season-opening Rolex 24 at Daytona.

"You hate to have to see Ozz make this decision, but this is what's best for him long-term," Shank said. "He knows that he's got to take a step back, and doing it right now means that he'll have the biggest window possible to recuperate and be ready to go in Detroit."

Negri broke his right leg while training during the offseason when he fell off a mountain bike. He was in a cast until the week of the season-opening Rolex 24 but competed, albeit with a noticeable limp, for the team that finished third. He also ran with Pew at Austin earlier this month.

Since participating in the first-ever race to feature the Daytona Prototype in 2003, Negri has made 113 Grand-Am starts.

"This is one of the hardest things I've had to deal with — just the idea of not being able to be in the car is so tough," Negri said. "But my doctors agree that this is the best path to take, and I owe everything to this team for supporting me through this. John has been great and very understanding. He has as much passion for fitness as I do and he knows that this is the right path for me professionally.

"I'm eager to get going already, and will be working hard to be back and better than ever in Detroit."

Grand-Am runs at Barber Motorsports Park in Alabama next week, and Road Atlanta on April 20. Negri is scheduled to return June 1 at Detroit.

Valiante first drove for Shank in 2009 as Pew's full-time teammate.

"It's obviously unfortunate for Ozz to have to take a little bit more time to get back to 100 percent," Valiante said. "I hope he's able to get back quickly and I am just going to try to make the most of the opportunity and support the team the best that I can. I've had a lot of great races with John and I'm happy that the team gave me the call to jump in here for these two races."

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