Long Beach, Calif. (14 April 2019) – After a momentum-building run in the opening three races of the 2019 NTT IndyCar Series season, the Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach race weekend proved to be a bitter pill to swallow for Meyer Shank Racing on Sunday.
First lap contact at the start of the 85-lap race cost Jack Harvey any chance for a return to top ten results with the No. 60 AutoNation / SiriusXM Honda Indy Car. The team finished the race 22nd.
Running a special Acura branded livery for the first-time Acura title sponsored event, Harvey was aiming to maneuver through the field early after starting from the ninth row on Sunday’s race.
The 23 car field took the green flag on the notoriously narrow and unforgiving 1.968-mile temporary street circuit as Harvey made it cleanly through the initial corner. But it was a SoCal traffic jam as the field navigated through the Turn 2-3 Fountain complex of corners with Harvey getting hit from behind and left stranded on course.
Once getting restarted, the Meyer Shank Racing team quickly brought Harvey into the pits to replace the damaged rear wing while making an effort to stay as close to the lead lap as possible.
Unfortunately, once funneled back into the fray, Harvey was three laps down and from there it was an 80-lap sprint to the finish as Harvey finished a frustrated 22nd.
“We were lacking some substantial pace as I think we had some pretty significant damage from that shunt,” said Harvey. “I was just trying to get to the end of the race to collect as much data for the team as possible. This weekend has been kind of a struggle for us. But even in a race like I had, I was still pushing as hard as I normally would and there was no difference in mentality. We’ll have a take a look at the data tonight and see where we can improve for the Indy GP.”
The race result marked a disappointing end to a big weekend for MSR. With the No. 60 AutoNation / SiriusXM Honda representing Acura this weekend, as well as a healthy and enthusiastic group of AutoNation guests on hand proudly carrying the Drive Pink colors, the team was left wishing for a better result for the team partners but will look forward to preparations for a big month in Indianapolis.
“This weekend was a tough one for us,” said Mike Shank. “We started to get back on track with pace and we were feeling pretty confident in our race pace. But unfortunately when you race on a street course like Long Beach, things like this can happen and there wasn’t much we could do about it other than get back out there and push as hard as we could. I was impressed with Jack for never giving up. It’s tough to know that you’re several laps down and not lose focus, but he did an amazing job.”
The next round of NTT IndyCar competition with head to Indianapolis Motor Speedway to kick off the first round of racing during the Month of May for the IndyCar Grand Prix on May 10-11.