Quick start to 2019 as Harvey qualifies the No. 60 AutoNation / SiriusXM Honda Indy Car seventh for the Firestone GP
St. Petersburg, Fl. (9 March 2019) – Entering the 2019 NTT IndyCar Series season with an expanded race program in partnership with AutoNation and SiriusXM, Meyer Shank Racing (MSR) continued to build with a fast start to the 2019 campaign on Saturday. MSR driver Jack Harvey earned his best NTT IndyCar Series qualifying result to date with a fast lap time of 1:00.953-seconds to claim seventh on Sunday’s (1:30 PM ET, NBCSN live coverage) grid.
The experienced MSR organization grew operations in 2018 to embark on its first season of IndyCar competition with a six-race program in 2018, and is now back in action for 10 IndyCar races in 2019. MSR and Harvey returned with lessons learned from their six races last season as well as continued organizational improvements to come back to IndyCar action stronger than ever.
With one race outing on the 1.8-mile long street course from 2018, the team studied last year’s performance as well as data gathered in pre-season testing to put the No. 60 AutoNation / SiriusXM Honda Indy Car in a competitive position in St. Petersburg.
MSR bested its 2018 highest IndyCar qualifying effort by six positions (Portland, P13) with its seventh-place qualifying run on Saturday; Harvey missed out on the Firestone Fast Six by just one-tenth of a second. The second year IndyCar team is eager to convert this momentum into a strong result in Sunday’s Firestone Grand Prix.
“We made some changes before the session, so it was a bit of stepping into the unknown for qualifying honestly,” said Harvey. “I didn’t know what we were going to have. But the MSR guys stuck with it, and it was great to have that pace in qualifying. The Drive Pink Shasta is set up here at the track, and we’ve got a lot of people here from AutoNation so it is great to show this kind of potential with our pink car. Now I’m just looking forward to the race tomorrow.”
Mike Shank was hoping to start the season with a strong foundation to build upon for the race weekend and with Harvey’s strong qualifying performance, it left Shank and the team feeling confident in their off-season work.
“Jack (Harvey) drove his butt off,” said Mike Shank. “We had kind of a hard day and a half coming into this session, but we found some things with the car and that helped us turn it around for qualifying. This is the first qualifying transfer for this (MSR IndyCar) program, so I’m pleased with that. We just want to have something solid to build on, and this starts that process for us. I’m proud of everyone on the team for getting this done. Jack put in a great effort over the off season and we’ve changed some things with the team to keep improving as well and so far, so good.”
The NTT IndyCar Firestone Grand Prix will go green Sunday, March 10th at 1:30pm ET with live NBCSN race coverage beginning at 12:30pm ET. Also listen to live IndyCar radio on SiriusXM Ch. 209 or Online Ch. 907.