Second chassis paves way for Meyer Shank IndyCar expansion
The Meyer Shank Racing team has ordered a brand-new Dallara DW12 chassis. In the short term, the Honda-powered entrant intends to save its second car for use on superspeedways and spend the coming months perfecting the fit of IndyCar’s universal aero kit for driver Jack Harvey at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
“We want to expand this program to be a full-time entrant first, then go to multi-cars second,” Shank said. “We bought our second car last Friday, and we’re not expanding [to] two cars [yet], but we’re preparing for it someday.
“The car we just bought, we’re targeting using it for the [Indy] 500. That will be its first voyage. Actually, the first time it will go out will be the April test day. It will be a shakedown. We’re run our current car at the Grand Prix, and then use this car to be our Indy 500 car so we can rub on it for as long as possible.”
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The investment in a second car for MSR is an important step for the Ohio-based team. With most of IndyCar’s leading programs using dedicated superspeedway cars for its drivers that offer extra straightline speed due to the intensive work put into the body fit, Harvey should, in theory, be capable of qualifying and racing in a more competitive car.
Teams using a converted road and street race chassis that lack a perfected body fit, and some of the low-friction driveline components, have often found themselves in search of one mph or more at Indy, and with the competition Shank sees on the horizon, he believes having a superspeedway chassis will be necessary to earn a spot in the field of 33.
“I’m more worried about Bump Day than I’ve ever been, next year,” he admitted. “I think we could have another couple of cars, at the minimum, we all have to deal with, so now we’re looking at three, four, or five cars not making it, so that stresses me even more than today.
“The biggest disaster for us would be not making the Indy 500. How can we perform better the whole month? It allows us to make sure the gearbox, those uprights, those axles, the body fit, is absolutely the best we can possibly make it. The underwing — you think about how much time we put into underwing fitment. And there’s a lot to it.”
Harvey started 31st, ran in the lead pack late in the race, and settled for 16th after pitting for a splash of fuel to make it to the finish.
“We didn’t have a great qualifying performance; we had a pretty good race day, but we want to have a better qualifying and not be in jeopardy,” Shank said. “We know we need to be better, and this is the start of that.”
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ABOUT MARSHALL PRUETT
The 2018 season marks Marshall Pruett's 32nd year working in the sport. In his role today for RACER, Pruett covers open-wheel and sports car racing as a writer, reporter, photographer, and filmmaker. In his previous career, he served as a mechanic, engineer, and team manager in a variety of series, including IndyCar, IMSA, and World Challenge.