Castroneves races to ninth while Harvey brings home an 15th place finish
Nashville, Tenn. (8 August 2021) – As one of the most highly anticipated races on the NTT IndyCar Series calendar, Meyer Shank Racing (MSR) drivers Jack Harvey and Helio Castroneves battled a tight race course and 90-degree temperatures through 80 tough laps in the inaugural Big Machine Music City Grand Prix on Sunday.
The four-time Indianapolis 500 champion made his return to MSR in a big way as he raced the No. 06 Transcard Honda to ninth. After showing considerable pace from the start of the weekend, Harvey brought the No. 60 AutoNation / SiriusXM Honda home 15th.
What was a nearly three-hour race, it quickly became a race of survival and a test to have the cleanest car at the end of the 80-lap event. Seven caution periods and two red flags made for teams having to strategize on the fly to end up at the front of the field.
Starting from 15th Castroneves knew that keeping the nose of his No. 06 Transcard Honda clean was going to be key. Castroneves’ smart driving kept his Honda in a strong position to move through the field ahead of his first stop on lap 18.
The Brazilian stayed focused with the top ten in sight as he ran in 13th following the fifth caution period at the halfway point. Following the pack ahead into pit lane on lap 45, Castroneves pitted for a new set of tires and fuel with 32 laps remaining.
Reentering the fray with fuel save mode ‘on,’ Castroneves set his sights on a top-ten finish. The Brazilian rounded out the top ten on the restart following the seventh caution period and never looked back as he raced to a ninth place finish.
After starting from sixth, Harvey kept the No. 60 Honda well within the top ten through the first 22 laps. Harvey was the first of the leaders to pit on lap 22 to swap over to Firestone primary tires and take fuel. Following a fourth caution on Lap 31, Harvey raced back up to the top ten to sit eighth with 40 laps to go.
Harvey raced up to fourth just after the halfway mark, but after pitting on lap 52, he and several surrounding cars were caught out by the proceeding yellow flag and were shuffled to the back of the field. Harvey advanced two position during the final laps of the race to finish 15th.
MSR Team Quotes:
Mike Shank: “Jack actually had a good day. We’re all in this incredible race today with so much strategy going on. And there’s six or seven of us that got caught on the wrong side of that one call, and it just buried us. We had a little mechanical problem with Jack right there at the end too. It kind of worked itself out but also cost us a little bit of drive. Jack did a great job, did everything we asked, there are no complaints from my side and you know we’re going to keep after it hard. With Helio, I think he overachieved to be honest. Our expectation was to finish in the top 12 and he put her at P9 today and that was a lot of hard work by him and the team. I’m really happy for him and Transcard they come on for one race and we got a positive result.”
Helio Castroneves, No. 06 Transcard Honda: “Thank you to Transcard, SiriusXM, AutoNation, and Honda! Today was was a really, really good day. I learned so much during the race. I was really patient, people were taking advantage of my patience but it’s okay, until a point I was like, ‘enough is enough.’ Great strategy, we were able to take advantage of that – today was all about strategy to put us in the top ten. Our goal was to be in the top ten, we did it. Great job from everyone at MSR and now onto the next race in Indianapolis.”
Jack Harvey, No. 60 AutoNation / SiriusXM Honda: “We qualified pretty well, and I don’t know what we have to do to find a result on Sunday. We started sixth and somehow finished 15th. I’ve really enjoyed racing in Nashville, it’s such an awesome city and I’m excited to come back. That was probably the most amount of yellows I’ve ever seen in a race before, but we’ll keep digging away here. I have to thank everyone on the SiriusXM / AutoNation Honda because we’ve still got five races to get it done.”