Portland, Ore. (4 September 2022) – Meyer Shank Racing (MSR) raced through adversity on the short 1.964-mile Portland International Raceway on Sunday.
Helio Castroneves drove the No. 06 AutoNation / SiriusXM Honda to a 17th place finish while Simon Pagenaud faced gearbox issues midway through the race to finish 23rd in the No. 60 AutoNation / SiriusXM Honda.
A race that typically sees at least one caution period in the early stages of the race, ran caution-free for the opening 84 laps. Castroneves capitalized on a strong jump at the green flag, moving from 21st to 18th on Lap 1. Starting on Firestone primary tires, the No. 06 crew opted to take advantage of the better pace on Firestone red tires. Castroneves raced through his first 14 lap stint before switching over to the softer compound for the remainder of the race.
Castroneves hung on through the final restart while experiencing understeer, but was able to drive a clean race as several cars began to fall off with just 20 laps to go. Castroneves crossed the finish line 17th.
Pagenaud’s race began with a big undercut maneuver as he was called into pit lane on lap 7 to switch over to Firestone alternate tires. Making up ground with a clean track ahead, Pagenaud raced to as high as 16th before gearbox issues slowed his charge. The Frenchman came into pit lane on lap 58 to further diagnose the gearbox issue back at the truck. The team quickly fixed the problem in under 10 minutes, and Pagenaud was sent back out just 10-laps later on lap 68.
Pagenaud raced through the final stint of the race to finish 23rd
The NTT INDYCAR SERIES wraps up next Sunday with the Firestone Grand Prix of Monterey at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca.
“We had a really good start and we just tried to stay out of trouble. It was the first time in a long time that there was not a yellow for the start. The car started to pick up some inconsistencies and towards the end it had a lot of understeer, so I couldn’t really attack and I was more on the defense. In the end we also ran out of push to pass to try something. But great effort from the Meyer Shank Racing team.”
“We had a good race going but we had a gearbox issue and we lost sixth gear. Unfortunately I had to come into the pits, but the guys did a great job repairing the car and we could get going at the end. We were able to get some good laps underneath us so that we could have some good information for next year. We struggled this weekend and we were one of the few teams that did not test here last week and it cost us dearly as it’s not my strongest race track. Silver lining is that next weekend is one of my favorite race tracks of the year.”