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Michael Shank is not a arrogant man nor a man of bogus abasement – he knows absolutely area his aggregation stands in motorsport’s macro perspective. But mercifully, he’s additionally not the array of actuality to seek publicity or accumulation by masquerading as an underdog.

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When Shank declared his aim to access his aggregation in the 2012 Indy 500 but accomplished he’d be lumbered with the baby-fart Lotus-Judd engines, he pulled the entries: far bigger to be absent than ashamed on motorsport’s bigger stage.

And when, afterwards active HPD-powered Ligiers in IMSA’s ancestor chic for two years, Shank abstruse that the new DPi Acura ARX-05 activity would be run by alternation returnees Aggregation Penske, he didn’t decay time and activity activity affronted. Instead, he leapt at the adventitious run the new Acura NSX affairs in the GT Daytona class. Mind you, if you accept in God and that He cares about motorsport, you may accede there was a all-powerful attendance at Alley Atlanta in October 2016, aback MSR active off its time in Prototypes with achievement at Petit Le Mans…

Meyer Shank Racing is now alike with those adult NSX GT3s, but the Pataskala, OH-based aggregation is additionally accomplishment a able acceptability aural the NTT IndyCar Alternation paddock. There was the amalgamation with Jack Harvey and Andretti Autosport in 2017’s Indy 500; again a six-race run with Harvey and in amalgamation with Arrow Schmidt Peterson Motorsports in aftermost year’s IndyCar championship.

This year the admirable blush and atramentous Meyer Shank Racing with Arrow SPM car will accept completed 10 of the 17 circuit by season’s end, with the highlight so far actuality Harvey’s able third in the rain at the IndyCar Admirable Prix on the IMS alley course.

However, things are alteration for 2020. The amalgamation with Arrow, Sam Schmidt and Ric Peterson will be no more, as they accept angry the bond with McLaren and, added decidedly from Shank’s point of view, Chevrolet.

“I charge say on the almanac that Sam, Ric, Jon Flack and Taylor Kiel [Arrow SPM’s aggregation admiral and managing director, respectively] accept done annihilation but amusement me like a brother,” says Shank, “so I knew about their affairs a while ago, and I started accepting to attending at my situation. But I can say it’s been annihilation but a acceptable acquaintance beyond the board.”

Shank will be blockage affectionate to Honda Performance Development and gluttonous a new accord with a complete team. He batten as aboveboard as he could with Motorsport.com, admitting the actuality that there are still several genitalia defective to be bound in abode apropos his 2020 IndyCar program.

Michael L. Levitt / LAT Images

Michael L. Levitt / LAT Images

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DM: Aback you abstruse of McLaren and SPM chain and activity the Chevy route, was there alike a adventitious of you blockage with them, or is your charge to HPD absolute? Obviously you accept your Acura NSX accord in IMSA to consider, but Roger Penske and Chip Ganassi accept accurate you can assignment with altered manufacturers beyond assorted series.

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MS: Those two guys can do things like that because they accept a lot added years at a actual aerial akin than I do, and they command a account that invokes an automated assurance amid manufacturers that they are partnering with the actual best at what they do. Me, I accept to action for every atom of respect, all of the time.

In 2016, aback I was active the IMSA Ancestor affairs and Honda was cerebration about entering the GT Daytona chic with the NSX, it took every ounce of assurance in me to prove to them that this aggregation was capable. To get that deal, a lot of bodies aural American Honda and HPD ashore their abutting out for me, and that becoming my acceptance and respect. So my bearings with them is added than aloof technical; it goes added than that, there’s added ancestors feel to it. That doesn’t necessarily mean we’ll be calm consistently and forever, but I accept a aboveboard adherence to them for giving me an opportunity, and I don’t balloon it.

Story continues

So aback the SPM McLaren Chevy accord came along, maybe there was some abeyant for me to stay, but I didn’t hesitate. I’ve got so abundant on the band with Honda and I feel like I owe them a little bit. Three years ago they stood up and said, ‘Mike, we accept you can do this [NSX program]’. And incidentally, Jim France did the aforementioned affair for me in my aboriginal sportscar canicule in what was again Grand-Am, and I don’t booty that lightly, either.

Geoffrey M. Miller / LAT Images

Geoffrey M. Miller / LAT Images

There assume to be absolutely a few actual Honda-powered IndyCar teams accessible to abstruse alliances – on or off the record, depending who I ask…

Yeah, appealing abundant anybody is accessible to it these days, admitting two years ago about no one was accessible to it. The affair is, if the dollar bulk is right, it can be a advantageous assets for a primary aggregation to be able to calculation on. Arguably, the net net accretion can absolutely be abutting to the net net of active addition car afterwards accepting to do the abundant lifting, if you chase the math. So appealing abundant anybody Honda-powered is interested, and now it’s bottomward to us to adjudge who we would charge to accomplice with to get best back-bite out of the alliance. Anniversary case is actuality advised actual carefully, pro’d and con’d, absolutely all-embracing discussions. Lots of relationships and reputations are on the band here. It will be an agitative abutting few weeks, I can acquaint you…

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Are these abstruse affiliations mutually benign for the accustomed aggregation and the new team?

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I anticipate it’s the way of the future, I absolutely do, and I accept that I wouldn’t accept said that two years ago aback we aboriginal started with SPM. But afterwards our abundant acquaintance with them – and accepting apparent added teams appear forth and do it on their own and prove absolutely why I didn’t go that route! I’ve appear to accept that it is a abundant business model.

I’m not adage I’m smarter than the others, I’m aloof adage that I apperceive what our accommodation is and to anticipate we can appear into the action and be aggressive afterwards some advice is not right. The aggregation owners who are accustomed in IndyCar accept becoming account and put the time in; they’ve fabricated it work.

So I befuddled easily on the accord with Sam, we drew up a adequately baby arrangement apropos who does what, I paid him some money because all that IP has value, and we agreed that we would cull our weight because it’s important to not be a annoyance on the system. Well, for me it’s been perfection, and I anticipate we brought amount to the Arrow SPM aggregation too.

Will there be a time aback you appetite to bang out on your own and become absolutely absolute – and maybe accomplish MSR into one of those accustomed apparel with which a new aggregation wants to anatomy an alliance?

Well, I still accept an ego but I can’t say appropriate now whether eventually MSR will go it alone. Aback we abstruse what was advancing bottomward the activity amid SPM, McLaren and Chevrolet, we asked ourselves, ‘OK, is this the befalling to breach abroad on our own or do we anatomy addition abstruse affiliation?’ And we absitively beyond the lath that a abstruse accord was the way to go.

That said, what DragonSpeed and Ben Hanley accept done in finer activity it abandoned and accepting themselves into the Indy 500… that’s the best aggressive affair I’ve apparent all year! But that involves a lot of accident and it’s the affectionate of accident that I cannot booty with my advocacy ally – even if I do acknowledge what DragonSpeed did.

Looking at who AutoNation supports besides Meyer Shank Racing – Ryan Hunter-Reay and Alexander Rossi – is it account too abundant into things to say that, forth with your adherence to Honda and a antecedent abrupt amalgamation with Andretti Autosport, an accord with Michael Andretti is the accessible way to go?

I accept your assumption, but the funny affair is, anniversary of those deals is there for a actual specific acumen to AutoNation, and they’re all different. They accept altered B2B relationships, altered aggregation relationships, so it’s not how it appears on the surface. Ultimately, all cars accustomed AutoNation are aggravating to bear after-effects for them and bear off-track, too, but there are altered methodologies in play.

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Geoffrey M. Miller / LAT Images

Geoffrey M. Miller / LAT Images

Notwithstanding James Hinchcliffe’s contempo comments that he would be alive with GM in 2020 – implying he’s activity to see out the aftermost year of his arrangement at Arrow SPM – his account to American Honda and Honda Canada, forth with some off-the-record intel, would advance he’ll be in an HPD-powered car abutting year. I’ve additionally appealing abundant had it accepted that Colton Herta will breach aural the Andretti Autosport ‘family’, behindhand of the Harding Steinbrenner article continuing. Would you be absorbed in Meyer Shank Racing partnering with Michael Andretti to run a fifth and sixth AA car for some admixture of Herta, Hinch or Harvey?

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Let’s breach it bottomward this way: My affairs is congenital about Jack Harvey and we’re activity to accord him a well-deserved full-time befalling if – activity aback to what I said beforehand – I can put all the addle pieces together.

I accept been approached about active added bodies as a assistant to Jack, and I accept declared beyond the lath and I that I am not in a position to do that. I’m not accommodating to go to two cars until we’re absolutely solid. We’ve done absolutely what we said we were activity to do – body it up slowly, accession money, chase aback we can, and not chase on my acclaim card! Appropriate now, we haven’t got our banking accord absolutely done yet, but it’s attractive actual able and we achievement to advertise article in the abutting four-to-six weeks. My primary affair for 2020 is to put Meyer Shank Racing in the best position accessible to win contest and bear for all our sponsors.

So Meyer Shank Racing’s antecedence for 2020 is to advance from entering 10 IndyCar circuit in 2019 to active one full-time entry, rather than active two cars part-time – or two cars full-time but half-assed…

Yes, that’s absolutely what I’m saying! And I can see in the approaching actuality able to run two cars abounding time, but the accuracy is that alike in my admirable scheme, I see two as actuality our maximum. I don’t charge to abound to three cars or four cars. Ultimately I appetite two affection programs, and again I’ll accept acquainted like I’ve done what I can do at this akin of the sport.

But like I say, that time for two cars isn’t now. I accept what I accede a ample sportscar affairs with Honda/Acura which is actual important to me, and I don’t appetite IndyCar to cesspool from that technically or physically, so I’m absolutely not accessible run two IndyCars.

In the accomplished 15-18 years beyond IndyCar, Champ Car and IMSA, I’ve watched too abounding teams appear and go. I’m accomplishing aggregate in my ability to not attending into the eyes of the devil and get beguiled by thoughts of a abeyant asset or abeyant profit. We do own two IndyCars, but we’re not absolutely accessible to run them simultaneously.

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