While they entered the NTT IndyCar Series with a small, one-car, part-time team, the intent was always to increase participation to become a full-time entity and to eventually make Meyer Shank Racing a two-car force in this extremely competitive open-wheel series.
After earning victory in the 105th Indianapolis 500 this past May with Brazilian Helio Castroneves, who became a member of the truly exclusive four-time-winner’ club, joining A.J. Foyt, Al Unser and Rick Mears, Meyer Shank Racing’s team owners Michael Shank and Jim Meyer announced the ebullient fence-climber will be a full-time member of the team in 2022, joining a new driver – to be announced shortly – in racing every INDYCAR contest on next year’s docket.
The ultimate rationale for this decision is to push Castroneves towards the goal of becoming the first INDYCAR driver to secure five Indianapolis 500 victories, driving the No. 06 AutoNation/SiriusXM Honda. “I am thrilled to get the chance to go for a fifth Indianapolis 500 win, and so excited to fight for the INDYCAR championship again with a full season of races next year,” Castroneves said.
“Mike (Shank) and Jim (Meyer) have developed some incredible sponsorships with AutoNation and SiriusXM, and having that support is critical. I have been missing racing in INDYCAR full-time so much,” he stated. “So I cannot wait to get a head start on next year with some strong races to finish this season.” Castroneves signed with MSR to compete in six 2021 contests and the team stuck to this original intent, even after his Indy 500 victory in May.
Meyer Shank Racing went from a one-off Indianapolis 500 outing in 2017 with Indy Lights graduate Jack Harvey, a former member of McLaren’ Young Driver Programme. They had a technical partnership with Andretti Autosport that year. In 2018, the team and Harvey competed in six races, affiliated with Schmidt Peterson Motorsports, while in 2019 MSR upped the ante to 10 races. Harvey ran all 2020 contests on the NTT IndyCar Series schedule.
In making this announcement, MSR stated the No. 60 AutoNation/SiriusXM Honda will continue for at least the next two seasons, albeit with a different driver at the helm. “We wish Jack much success and we know he will continue to be a driver to watch,” said Michael Shank. “MSR is excited to have Helio on the No. 06 car next season, and we’re looking forward to adding a driver who will turn heads in the No. 60 car.”
Meyer Shank Racing’s growth and expansion wouldn’t have occurred without their dual sponsorships from AutoNation and SiriusXM, both of whom have been onboard since MSR first raced at Indy in 2017. Additionally, Liberty Media, affiliated with the Formula One Group, secured minority investment in the team in 2020 and has helped MSR show true potential for its INDYCAR future. In only 42 INDYCAR race starts, the team has earned an Indianapolis 500 victory with Castroneves, two podiums, two front-row starts and 12 top-10 results. MSR is in the final stages of constructing a new 43,000 square-foot race shop in Pataskala, Ohio.
“There are so many people around us that have given us the opportunity to expand to two full-season entries for next year,” Shank opined. “My partner Jim Meyer and I have done this in a way that makes sense for us. I am very excited to have Helio (Castroneves) onboard for the 2022 season and I think there will be a lot of excitement around our second driver when we make that announcement.”