In May 2017, Michael Shank and Jack Harvey both realized a long-time dream. The car owner and driver partnered with Andretti Autosport to field an entry in the 101st Indianapolis 500, starting 27th and finishing 31st.
Fast forward to 2018, as Shank and Harvey would return to the Verizon IndyCar Series in a six-race alliance with Schmidt Peterson Motorsports. Their season debut at St. Petersburg would after just 38 laps due to a crash, finishing 23rd.
Five weeks later, the team would turn in their best result to date on the streets of Long Beach. Harvey started the 85-lap race in 17th and completed the full distance, finishing the race in 12th.
“We moved forward and that was the goal,” said Harvey.
“We ran well all day, but that yellow came out at the absolute wrong time. But you can’t predict those kinds of things happening. We had a good race and we showed what we can do and that we deserve to be here.”
The effort came just days after Jim Meyer, SiriusXM CEO, was added as a co-owner along with Shank.
“Jack drove a great race and we are really pleased today,” Meyer expressed. “This sets us up for more success as the season goes on and gives our team and out (our) driver a lot of confidence to move forward. Great job by everyone.”
With their limited schedule, Shank and Harvey would not return to the track until May for the 102nd Indianapolis 500. After struggling in practice, Harvey would qualify the No. 60 Dallara-Honda car in 27th for the May 27 race. The following Sunday saw a different story for the team though.
Using fuel strategy to make their way to the front, the team helped Harvey work his way to the front of the field. The second-year driver reached as high as second before pitting for fuel with three laps to go. Ultimately, Harvey ended the day on the lead lap in 16th place.
“It’s the Indy 500, the biggest one of the year, so the team didn’t have to apologize to me for going for it,” Harvey remarked afterward.
“We nearly made the strategy work, but there were a few bits where we just couldn’t hit the numbers. We ran up to the front at the end and went three-wide into turn one on the last restart. I tried to drive the best race I could and we finished 16th, which is a pretty good day considering where we started.”
Shank would commend Harvey’s and the team’s efforts after the race.
“Jack just drove a hell of a race, he did us proud today,” said Shank.
“I’m super pleased with our whole team effort today, we executed really well as a team. Our stops were strong and we picked up some positions on pit lane early in the race. The way the race was going, we pitted earlier in that window. We were in a great position late in the race and then Jack had an outstanding restart. We were committed to that strategy, but it just didn’t work out in the end.”
After two months away, Shank and Harvey will return to Verizon IndyCar Series competition this weekend. The Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio will be a special race for both Shank and Harvey.
Shank, a native of nearby Columbus, Ohio, will make his first appearance at the track as an IndyCar owner.
“This race has been a long time coming for not only me, but for my team as well,” Shank noted in the team’s press release on Monday.
“Mid-Ohio is a really special track not just because I’m from here but because the fans really make it what it is. We had a test a few weeks ago and Jack (Harvey) did really well. He’s won here before so it’s a familiar place to him. I’m hoping that we can keep pushing and keep showing our pace this weekend, especially in front of our home crowd.”
Like his car owner, the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course also has a unique place in Harvey’s career. In four Indy Lights races from 2014 to 2015, Harvey started on the front row in each event, sweeping the 2014 races. The 2014 victories were the first of his open-wheel career in North America.
“If we could choose to win any race, aside from Indy, I think this would be the one,” Harvey exclaimed.
“I was at the track when the team had its IMSA race there and it was so nice to see how many people came out as guests of the team and how much local interaction they got. All in all, I think we can have a really competitive race and I am looking forward to the weekend.”
With hometown support behind them, Harvey and the Meyer Shank Racing team will look to make their Mid-Ohio IndyCar debut a memorable one.
Header Image by Chris Owens/INDYCAR.