IndyCar: Meyer Shank Racing 2018 Season Review

IndyCar
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Editor’s note: Over the next two weeks, MotorSportsTalk will review how each organization in the IndyCar Series performed in 2018 and also taking a look ahead to 2019. We kicked off the series Wednesday with Juncos Racing.

Today, we feature Meyer Shank Racing and driver Jack Harvey.

Meyer Shank Racing 2018 review:

SiriuxXM president Jim Meyer (photo courtesy Meyer Shank Racing).

While no stranger to competitive racing in other forms of motorsports, Michael Shank Racing kicked off its foray into IndyCar racing with the 2017 Indianapolis 500, and then expanded to six races in 2018, also serving as an affiliate of Schmidt Peterson Motorsports.

One of the biggest elements to the season was bringing on SiriuxXM Satellite Radio President Jim Meyer as a team co-owner and partner, changing the team from Michael Shank Racing to Meyer Shank Racing.

The plan for 2019 is to expand to between 8 and 10 races, with expectations of competing as a full-time team in 2020.

JACK HARVEY

Team name: Meyer Shank Racing

Years in IndyCar: 9 races over two seasons (2017 and 2018)

Career wins and podium finishes: 0 and 0

Best career finish: 12th at Long Beach 2018

2018 final standing: 24th

2018 final stats: 0 wins, 0 podiums, 0 poles

2018 best race finish: 12th at Long Beach

SEASON WRAPUP: Harvey held his own in a number of races during the 2018 season while behind the wheel of the No. 60 SiriusXM/AutoNation Honda. He was only a few laps away from potentially winning the Indianapolis 500 – running as high as second – before he had to pit with two laps remaining for fuel. Had the team’s pit strategy been different, the English driver could potentially have beaten Will Power to the checkered flag. Harvey had several strong runs, but his final finishing position in those races did not reflect his effort.

LOOKING AHEAD TO 2019: Harvey will be returning to the team next season and is looking forward to competing in an expected 8 to 10 races. The biggest thing Harvey needs is more seat time and experience, but he showed at times in 2018 that he definitely has a bright future in IndyCar.

QUOTE (following season finale at Sonoma): “Overall I think that we had a lot of great moments in the year, but I don’t think we ever got the result that we potential did have or that the team deserved. … I really have to thank everyone from Meyer Shank Racing and SPM (Schmidt Peterson Motorsports). And without AutoNation and SiriusXM, neither of us would be able to get to be here, so really the biggest thanks go to them. I’m optimistic and hopeful that next year we will do more races and have more opportunities to get a better result.”

Follow @JerryBonkowski

Max Verstappen, Sergio Perez and Formula One embrace the United States

Verstappen Perez United States
Jared C. Tilton / Getty Images
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Last week, Red Bull Racing revealed its new car, the RB19, and a new relationship with Ford Motor Co. in an event in New York City complete with drivers Max Verstappen, Sergio Perez and team principal Christian Horner.

It’s the first Formula 1 team to launch in the United States for 2023, but even that small move of the needle reflects a major shift in the attitude of both F1’s management and their teams – and the extent to which the American audience has fully embraced the sport.

“It’s something fantastic and unique, for the sport to be able to break it into the U.S,” Perez told NBC Sports. “The market is huge and it’s a huge opportunity for everyone involved, for the drivers, for the team. It’s always a huge market.”

Verstappen Perez United States
Sergio Perez finished fourth in the Unites States Grand Prix, but he was first with the fans.  – Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images

In 2023, Formula 1 will race three times in the United States and five times in North America. The Circuit of the Americas will host their 11th consecutive race in October before heading south to Mexico City. Miami returns for a second time in May on a temporary street course around the Hard Rock cafe and the third addition is in downtown Las Vegas in November.

With the Canadian Grand Prix on the schedule for June and the Brazilian Grand Prix in November, American fans are now in the ballpark of Europeans, who have eight events on the continent and one in England.

In 2022, Verstappen won every race in North America. He was kept from sweeping the hemisphere only by George Russell, who won in Brazil. That fact is less remarkable when one considers that Verstappen won 15 times in the season – nearly two-thirds of the races on the schedule.

By the time Formula arrived in Austin, Texas, for Round 20 of 23, Verstappen already had wrapped up his second consecutive championship.

“Sometimes it can be hard to replicate the season, but I think it’s the same as with the car, right? You always try to improve it,” Verstappen told NBC Sports. “And I always look at the little details that even when you have had a good race, you could have done better. And then of course you also learn from the bad races. So we always try to look for these little improvements and general experience you gain year after year.

“You try to do better, but of course it also depends a lot on the package you have.”

Verstappen Perez United States
Max Verstappen United States Grand Prix win was one of 15 for the drivers and 17 for Red Bull.
(Gongora / NurPhoto via Getty Images)

Now Verstappen’s thoughts inevitably will turn to establishing a dynasty, and America will again play a pivotal role.

“I just enjoy what I’m doing,” Verstappen said.  “After the years in Formula One, when you have to be on top of your game and you gain a lot on your experience – in that sense nothing really can get to you anymore. Every year you just try to do the best you can. But a lot depends on the material around you. It’s always a bit of a guess. Start the season as fit as you can be and be well prepared. But if you don’t have the car, you’re not going to win the championship.”

Perez added two wins to Red Bull’s total, at Monaco and the Marina Bay Street course. With two of the US 2023 races on street courses, Perez hopes to close the gap on Verstappen and potentially be his chief rival for the championship.

“The strategy is clear; it is to maximize the potential of the car – and we believe we have a good car, but how good?,” Perez said “We don’t know what the competition is doing. We just give our best in building this car and we hope that it’s good enough to get us to win races.

“I think we have to work together as a team. At the same time. We both want to win the championship. It’s just having good compromise. The competition will be really strong out there, so we really need everything we possibly can get from each other.”

Formula One returns to the United States for Round 6 and the Miami Grand Prix on May 7.