Jack Harvey’s participation in the 101st Running of the Indianapolis 500 took another step forward at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway on Thursday with the unveiling of the livery that will adorn the British driver’s No. 50 Honda.
Harvey’s entry, announced last month, will be fielded by Andretti Autosport in conjunction with Michael Shank Racing. It marks Shank’s long-awaited Verizon IndyCar Series debut.
With six wins and 35 podiums on its IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship resume, Michael Shank Racing’s jump to open-wheel racing will come in a bright pink and yellow Honda-powered Indy car adorned with recognizable names like AutoNation and SiriusXM.
As a longtime Andretti Autosport partner, AutoNation and its Drive Pink campaign were involved in the initial announcement, though the later addition of two-time Formula One champion Fernando Alonso to the team’s “500” roster has received more attention.
“As everyone has read, the month of May is going to be big for us,” said team owner Michael Andretti.
“We’re really excited to be partnering with not only McLaren and Honda for Fernando Alonso, but also with Michael Shank Racing in a joint entry on the No. 50 for Jack Harvey.
“Michael and the partnership with his organization was instrumental in allowing us to run six cars in the 101st Indy 500. The six drivers and engineering teams will work closely together as we defend our win from 2016.”
SiriusXM’s involvement relates to its status as the Official Satellite Radio Partner of the Verizon IndyCar Series. This year’s Indy 500 will be available to all of the company’s 31.6 million subscribers on Sirius 214, XM 209 and through the service’s mobile app.
“Jack Harvey is a talented up-and-coming driver and SiriusXM is proud to support him in his first Indianapolis 500,” said SiriusXM CEO Jim Meyer.
“We’re excited to work with Jack and the outstanding Michael Shank Racing and Andretti Autosport teams to have SiriusXM represented on the No. 50 car for IndyCar’s premier event.”
While AutoNation’s campaign is behind the car’s pink accents, a partnership with Gap Guard brings the livery’s second color to the fold.
“With Gap Guard coming on board and adding some yellow to the car, the team did a great job making pink and yellow flow well through the livery,” said Harvey. “And, just recently having SiriusXM join us is the icing on the cake.
“I’m looking forward to sharing this experience with Mike (Shank), Michael (Andretti), all of our partners and everyone else who has come together to make this opportunity possible.”
Shank: Indy 500 ‘Biggest Thing I’ve Done’
Mike Shank has taken steps to compete in the Verizon IndyCar Series in the past and while those attempts were unsuccessful, the gravity of his current situation is not lost on the affable team owner.
“I’m happy to talk about it because it’s the biggest thing I’ve done in my book,” Shank told The Apex. “Growing up three hours east of here in Columbus, Ohio, this is a midwest kid getting to do, I think, the biggest race in the world.
“I got to see what some people call the biggest race which is Le Mans and it was great but to me, there’s nothing that beats coming through the tunnel here and coming up to the pagoda and garage area.”
Not content to be at IMS only when his team will be on track, Shank has ensured that he’ll spend as much time as possible within the confines of the famed 2.5-mile oval.
“I’m not a guy that has a coach or a motorhome,” admitted Shank. “I don’t spend the money on them. But here, I rented a coach so I can be here all the time.
“If I never do it again, I’m going suck all this in right now and then if it goes away, it goes away. At least I got spend the maximum time and I get to breathe in the air here a little bit.”
Shank’s Partners Supplement Andretti, Harvey
For Shank, his prior attempts to participate in the historic 500-mile race were met with ongoing challenges but this time, the pieces fell into place.
“It was absolutely timing,” Shank told The Apex.
“Every other deal I’ve tried for the last four or five years to come here was always, ‘I need 50 grand more’ and then 75 fell away, ‘oh I got 100.’ It was all these things, it was always stressful. It was like, ‘this isn’t worth it, I have a full-time job. I don’t need to take risk over here.'”
Managing risk is key to running a successful business and when the opportunity arose, longtime partners CAP & Associates and Roberts Service Group were ready to make the jump to the Verizon IndyCar Series.
“We need this,” said Shank. “In this world, we can’t lose money doing this. I don’t expect Michael to, Jack to or me. We all three need to be whole. We’re getting close to being whole.
“My sponsors, CAP & Associates and Robert Service Group, these people have been with me for a long time and they wanted to be a part of this so we made sure they were.”
While the list of partners on the car is long, Shank isn’t ready to rest.
“You look at our car, we’re not done yet. We’re going to sell more. It’s going to be a big decal.”
With just over just over three weeks remaining to fill more of the open spaces on the car, Shank, Andretti and Harvey will hit the track on May 15 when the IMS oval opens for practice. Qualifying follows on May 20 and 21 with the 101st Running of the Indianapolis 500 set for Sunday, May 28.