Meyer Shank Racing adds F1 parent Liberty Media to help expand team

Meyer Shank Liberty Media
Brian Cleary/Getty Images

INDIANAPOLIS — Meyer Shank Racing will be expanding again next season, adding Liberty Media as a partner.

On Friday, co-owner of Michael Shank announced the parent company of Formula One has made a minority equity investment in the Ohio-based team, which will help fund its IndyCar operations as well as its recently announced multiyear deal with the Acura DPi program.

“We have worked to build our IMSA and IndyCar racing programs step by step and this is another big progression for our organization to have Liberty Media make an equity investment in MSR,” Shank said. “The investment by Liberty Media will enable us to continue to build and develop our programs.”

The deal came just hours before the IndyCar Series held the opener of the race weekend doubleheader on Indianapolis Motor Speedway’s 14-turn, 2.439-mile road course. England’s Jack Harvey, who drives the No. 60 Honda for Meyer Shank, qualified sixth.

Shank’s budding team has been steadily ramping up its operations since shifting its focus to sports cars and Indy cars. It won the 2019 IMSA team and driver titles and this is the first year it has fielded a full-time IndyCar team.

It plans to compete in the IMSA series and IndyCars again next season as well as teaming up with Acura for the progression to the DPI series beginning with the 2021 Rolex 24 at Daytona in January.

Shank says more information about its 2021 plans will be coming soon.

The 16-year-old team broke ground Tuesday on a new 43,000-square-foot shop in Pataskala, Ohio, that is within a mile of its current shop. The new facility is scheduled to be completed in mid-2021 and is dedicated to Shank’s late father, Al, whose initials will be above the front enrance.

“I wouldn’t be where I am today if it weren’t for my father,” continued Shank. “My dad taught me everything about racing, about mechanics, and even though I didn’t realize it at the time, about life. We lost him 31 years ago and I want to walk under the “AHS” initials every time I come into work.”

AJ Foyt Racing promotes Benjamin Pedersen from Indy Lights to IndyCar for 2023 season

Benjamin Pedersen AJ Foyt
AJ Foyt Racing

Benjamin Pedersen is the first driver to land a promotion from Indy Lights into IndyCar for next season as AJ Foyt Racing confirmed Wednesday he’ll be part of its 2023 lineup.

Pedersen, a 23-year-old dual citizen of Denmark and the United States, spent last season running the full Indy Lights schedule for HMD Motorsports. Linus Lundqvist, his teammate, won the Lights title, and Pedersen finished fifth in the final standings. Pedersen earned his only win earlier this month when he led every lap from the pole at Portland.

Pedersen also ran four races for HMD in 2021 with back-to-back runner-up finishes in his debut. Pedersen landed on AJ Foyt Racing team president Larry Foyt’s radar through a “trusted colleague” and Pedersen spent most of last season shadowing the IndyCar team.

His promotion to IndyCar comes ahead of all four drivers who finished ahead of him in the Indy Lights standings, including champion Lundqvist.

“We are really looking forward to having Benjamin as part of the team,” Larry Foyt said. “His enthusiasm is infectious, and he is 100 percent committed to IndyCar, AJ Foyt Racing, and doing the best he can to win races.

“It’s been great to have him embedded with the team this past season, and everyone is excited to hit the ground running when testing begins. It is also great to have a multi-year program in place, which will help him and the team grow together.”

Foyt did not announce a car number for Pedersen. Kyle Kirkwood spent his rookie season driving AJ Foyt’s flagship No. 14 but Kirkwood is moving to Andretti Autosport. The team has not yet announced if Dalton Kellett will return for a fourth season, and a third car for Tatiana Calderon was pulled from competition after seven races because of sponsorship non-payment. Shutting down Calderon’s team removed the only semi-regular female driver from the IndyCar field.

Pedersen, however, was signed to an agreement Foyt said “spans multiple seasons as the team plans to develop the young rookie and is aligned to a longer-term plan for AJ Foyt Racing.”

Pedersen was born in Copenhagen but raised in Seattle and currently lives in Indianapolis. He said his time shadowing the IndyCar team has given him a jump on his rookie preparations.

“I’ve spent a lot of time this season with AJ Foyt Racing learning the ins and outs of making the jump to IndyCar and it’s been really nice to do that in conjunction with my Indy Lights season,” Pedersen said. “IndyCar has been my target goal since I started open wheel racing in 2016. The racing, atmosphere, fans, events, tracks, etc. are all awesome.”