Michael Shank Racing will undertake its most ambitious season to date with the addition of a six-race Verizon IndyCar Series effort for Jack Harvey run in concert with Schmidt Peterson Motorsports.
The Honda-powered MSR/Harvey/SPM program is set to happen in parallel with MSR’s two-car IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship program where the Ohio-based team has retained its Acura NSX GT3s.
In the new alliance with SPM, which comes after MSR made its Indy 500 debut with Andretti Autosport, Shank has taken the next step in a gradual process to become a full-time IndyCar entrant.
“I’m so happy to have everything come together and to be able to make this announcement – there was a ton of work that went into just getting to this point, and of course it is just the start,” said Shank. “We are really excited to have Jack back with us, and very focused on making the most of this multi-year program. It is a big undertaking but I’ve been working on this nonstop, every day for months to have everything in place for us to be able to go out and build a competitive program.”
Unlike his Indy 500 deal where a car and the necessary equipment was leased, Shank and his sponsors Curb Records, CAP and Associates, Rocky Fork Company, and Roberts Service Group came together to purchase a new Dallara DW12 chassis that MSR hopes to use for more than just six races in 2018.
The No. 60 Honda, which carries the number MSR rode into Victory Lane at the 2012 Rolex 24 At Daytona with the late Justin Wilson, A.J. Allmendinger, Ozz Negri, and John Pew will wear the colors of AutoNation and SiriusXM that adorned Harvey’s Indy 500 entry in May.
“I’m absolutely thrilled for this to come together and for everything to be moving forward,” said Harvey. “I had a very positive experience racing for Mike Shank in the Indianapolis 500, and it was great to build on that with SPM in the last two races of the year. Now to be racing for Mike and to also have the support of SPM for this program, it is the best of both worlds for me. I want to do as well as we possibly can for AutoNation and SiriusXM, and I cannot wait for St. Pete to get here.”
In concert with full-time staff and engineers from MSR, SPM will contribute technical support and a primary race engineer in its multi-year collaboration with Shank and Harvey. Although the exact six-race schedule remains open, St. Petersburg, Long Beach, the Indy 500 and Sonoma Raceway have been identified as definite stops on the MSR tour.
“Ric, myself and everyone at SPM are really excited for this partnership with Mike Shank, his team and, of course, Jack Harvey who we’re so pleased to welcome back into the organization,” said Schmidt.
“We’re really looking forward to working with AutoNation and SiriusXM again as well. We continue to look for ways to strengthen our team and improve our core operations, and we think this multi-year partnership will do just that. Mike’s history in motorsport speaks for itself, and we’re pleased he has decided to expand his IndyCar program and involving us in that endeavor.”