Meyer Shank Racing eyes second IndyCar team

Sports

Columbus-based organization only in first full season

Jack Harvey Meyer Shank car

Jack Harvey, driver of the #60 AutoNation/Sirius XM Meyer Shank Racing Honda, qualifies for the NTT IndyCar Series GMR Grand Prix at Indianapolis Motor Speedway on July 03, 2020 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)

Columbus’s Meyer Shank Racing is only in its first full-time season in the NTT IndyCar Series, but the team is already looking at adding a second car.

Michael Shank, co-owner of the Pataskala-based racing team, told reporters on Thursday that he plans to add a second Indy car to his stables, but “only if it’s the right timing.”

“We’re a team that eventually will be a two-car team. I don’t know when that’ll be, but I can guarantee you this, it won’t be until we’re ready,” he said.

Shank, partnered with SiriusXM CEO Jim Meyer, are in their first full season fielding an IndyCar entry, the pink and black No. 60 Honda driven by Jack Harvey and sponsored by AutoNation and Meyer’s SiriusXM.

The organization’s inaugural full season follows three years of racing part-time. MSR entered the Indianapolis 500 with British-born Harvey in 2017, then ran eight races in 2018 and nine races last year.

Shank said Harvey will be a key part of the decision to add a second team.

“If it happens at any time, it’s because we’ve thought through of all the pros and cons,” Shank said, “and ultimately, does it help Jack? Does this program benefit the 60 car at all?”

MSR has already found success in America’s top sports car racing series, IMSA, winning last year’s GTD class championship with its No. 86 Acura NSX GT3.

Shank said the timing of adding another Indy car will obviously depend the organization’s budget. It can cost around $1 million to add an IndyCar team, even with built-in infrastructure, 12-time championship team owner Chip Ganassi told the Indianapolis Star in 2018.

But the more complicated variables of a new team, Shank said, will be the talent that MSR can bring into the garage area and behind the wheel.

“Who do we think is going to add to this group, with our set of personalities and the people we have here, which are very handpicked?” he said. “Does the whole tide rise?”

MSR also has an information sharing partnership with fellow Honda team, Indianapolis’s Andretti Autosport.

MSR’s (and Harvey’s) best IndyCar finish was third at last year’s GMR Grand Prix at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course. Their best finish this year was a pair of sevenths in July’s doubleheader at Iowa Speedway.

“We have all the pieces of the puzzle that we’re looking for,” Harvey said of his team’s 2020 season. “I mean, we have them now, and they’re all just hovering and floating about. And I would say a lot of weekends this year, we’ve been able to slap them onto the table pretty well.”

Harvey currently sits 14th in IndyCar championship standings out of 33 drivers, although only 21 have entered every race.

Home race at Mid-Ohio

This weekend is a homecoming for the Meyer Shank team, as IndyCar will run two 75-lap races on Saturday and Sunday around the 2.2-mile Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course in Morrow County.

“It’s the top-line priority,” Shank, a Columbus native, said of the doubleheader. “We’ve had, we feel, is a pretty decent year this year. We just haven’t been able to finish like we think we deserve, and Mid-Ohio would be my premium place to do it. It’s where I grew up.”

Harvey said he feels the gravity of this weekend as well.

“Naturally, Mid-Ohio is always atop of the list, especially when it’s the home race for the team,” he said.

Harvey won two races at Mid-Ohio in 2014 racing in IndyCar’s feeder series, Indy Lights.

“My whole bread and butter is road course racing,” he said.

Saturday’s race will air on NBC Sports Network at 4:30 p.m. and Sunday’s race will be on NBC4 at 1 p.m.

Mid-Ohio’s 380-acre facility can hold 80,000 spectators, but because of the coronavirus pandemic, Gov. Mike DeWine limited the race weekend to 6,000 fans.

Gallery: MSR co-owner Michael Shank (left) and IndyCar driver Jack Harvey (right). Photos by Michael Hickey/Getty Images for SiriusXM (left) and Chris Graythen/Getty Images (right).

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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