SPM/MSR Shining This Weekend In Portland

We could very well see an upset winner for Sunday’s Grand Prix of Portland (3 p.m. ET/NBC/INDYCAR Radio Network). See, Team Penske, Chip Ganassi Racing and Andretti Autosport have won 11 of the last 12 Indy Car races on the season and all but six since this new car was unveiled for the 2018 campaign and beyond. In Portland, they have the most to lose. The top five in the points standings are filled with Penske, Ganassi and Andretti drivers.

They’ve also won 78-percent of all races since 2015.

But, right now it looks like Arrow Schmidt Peterson Motorsports or their alliance car at Meyer Shank Racing may steal the win in Sunday’s race. All three of their drivers will roll off inside of the top 10 including Jack Harvey starting fourth in his No. 60 Honda.

Harvey, has been really good on natural road courses this season too with starting third as well as finishing there in the INDYCAR Grand Prix back in May. He also started ninth and finished 10th in his last race that he contested in at Mid-Ohio too.

“We are a part-time team, so to get into the Firestone Fast Six, it’s a really great accomplishment for everyone at Meyer Shank Racing,” said Harvey. “We have learned some really great things this weekend and we have progressed really well and the No. 60 AutoNation / SiriusXM car has been fast. We had a good race brewing here last year, but a yellow flag hurt us. We put ourselves in a good position to try to replicate last year’s race. I’m proud of what this team has achieved and hopefully we can finish a couple of spots better tomorrow and end up on the podium.”

Harvey, was eighth quickest in practice on Friday and seventh on Saturday. His teammate James Hinchcliffe was sixth, ninth and 14th respectively himself in practice but qualified his No. 5 Honda in eighth. To tell you how strong he’s been this weekend, he’s actually not happy with a Row 4 starting spot.

“Honestly I’m pretty disappointed with eighth,” Hinchcliffe said. “I think we had a lot more in the No. 5 Arrow car. That second set of red tires [Firestone alternates] had way more understeer than we were expecting. The balance was a little better in the first round… we even added front wing to try to take care of it, but the fronts just didn’t hold on for us. With how close the times are, you have to be absolutely perfect. We set our best time on Lap 3, the tires were definitely better on Lap 2, so it was just getting used to the handling of the car. Unfortunate, but we can certainly race from there.”

His other teammate in Conor Daly though is ecstatic. See, Daly hasn’t raced on a road course in this series in years. In his first attempt, he qualified ninth.

“I am honestly just super happy,” Daly said. “This has been a tough battle for me obviously getting used to this car and the track. I think we can be super proud of that. The Arrow SPM engineers worked with me on making the car more suitable for me and the way I prefer to drive. It’s a team effort, this game, and we’re in the top 10 which is awesome. I’m just really thrilled to be a part of this operation this weekend and I can’t wait for the race.”

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