Long Beach, Calif. (September 27, 2021) – Meyer Shank Racing (MSR) closed out the 2021 NTT INDYCAR season in strong fashion in the Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach on Sunday, with both team entries leading the race at different stages on their way to seventh and 20th place finishes.Jack Harvey – who started 25th – raced to finish seventh in the No. 60 AutoNation / SiriusXM Honda. The Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach is the second consecutive race that Harvey has was the hard charger of the race after advancing 18 positions.
After starting from the second row and leading 14 laps, Helio Castroneves’ race was ultimately bound to a 20th place result in the No. 06 AutoNation / SiriusXM Honda.After 47 races together and many accomplishments later, Harvey took his final laps with MSR on Sunday. To close out his five year run with the team, Harvey redeemed himself from an unfortunate qualifying incident which forced him to start from the back of the 27 car field.
Strategy calls from the box sent Harvey into pit lane for his first of two pit stops on lap 25 for a set of new alternate tires. Just 20 laps later, Harvey broke into the top five and ultimately raced to the lead before pitting on Lap 56. With a full tank of fuel, it was full attack to the finish. With the top five in sight, Harvey made every attempt to move through the field, but with every car ahead on the same fuel strategy, he crossed the line with an impressive seventh place finish.“Today was an emotional day,” said Harvey. “I don’t really have many words to be honest. I’ve been with MSR for five years now and I think we have really grown together since uur first race back in 2017. To finish the season, and my last race with the team with a seventh place finish, I couldn’t be happier. There are a lot of things going through my head right now, but I’m forever grateful for what this team has done for me.”
Castroneves converted his best qualifying result of the season (third) into a run at the front of the pack in the early stages of the 85-lap race. Castroneves took the No. 06 MSR machine to the front of the field and led for 14 laps.
A pair of caution periods had the four-time Indianapolis 500 winner well-placed to take advantage of a range of fuel strategies. But with a long green flag run forcing a green flag stop, the popular Brazilian-born racer found himself deep in the 28-car field.Despite some strong pit work from the MSR team and good pace on the Firestone tires, the final stages of the race didn’t provide enough opportunity to move forward as Castroneves had hoped and he ended the race 20th.
“In a strategy situation, I leave it up to the team to make the call,” said Castroneves. “The strategy call was a little bit of a gamble, but I thought that the strategy may have played in our favor. The car overall was really great and it’s no question that this was great preparation for next year.”
The checkered flag marked not only the conclusion of the season, but also a big weekend for Meyer Shank Racing which led both the IMSA WeatherTech race on Saturday as well as leading the INDYCAR race on Sunday, as well as playing host to a large contingent of AutoNation guests.
The team is already making preparations for the 2022 INDYCAR season and will be making announcements about team plans in the near future.
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Photo credit: Meyer Shank Racing