INDIANAPOLIS (17 Sept. 2023) – An incident on the opening lap of Sunday’s Tirerack.com Battle on the Bricks resulted in a long day for Meyer Shank Racing with Curb-Agajanian en route to a sixth-place finish at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
Tom Blomqvist started third in the No. 60 AutoNation / SiriusXM Acura ARX-06 but had to take evasive action in the first turn when a car made a banzai move and spun in front of him. With nowhere to go, Blomqvist made light contact, resulting in a damaged nose that cost performance and made for a very long opening stint.
The opening lap contact dropped Blomqvist to 10th overall and eighth in the GTP class. With the pits closed, the team opted to stay out to avoid a stop-and-go penalty. Blomqvist hung on with the ill-handling car, finally pitting under caution with one-hour, 50-minutes remaining.
The Rolex 24-winning squad worked to optimize strategy to make up positions and gain ground on the pit stop exchanges. Colin Braun took over the controls in eighth position, and was running seventh when he stopped for fuel and tires with one hour remaining. Braun moved up to fifth during the final exchange of pit stops and ran sixth throughout the final 30 minutes.
The race marked the team’s 350th start in IMSA competition, but unfortunately ended a streak of three-consecutive podium finishes in IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship competition. MSR began that streak with a podium at The Glen and followed it up with victory at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park, then another podium at Road Atlanta.
The 2023 season comes to a close with the Motul Petit Le Mans at Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta on Oct. 14.
No. 60 Meyer Shank Racing
“These things happen when the 01 tries to win the race in the first corner. He spun in front of me and damaged our car. We lost a lot of positions at the start. I had a lot of damage and it was a really bad stint to start the race. We were on the back foot and tried to make it up on strategy, but it was just disappointing. We’ve got to put it behind us and move on.”
No. 60 Meyer Shank Racing
“Bit of a bummer right from the start. Tom did a great job qualifying and then got cleaned out in the first turn. It’s always tough, in this field, to recover from something like that. The car was okay. I had some strange brake lock right away on the restart. I don’t know if that had anything to do with the contact. Once I settled in, it was okay. We were in the mix but needing a yellow. I felt like I had a good out-lap and built a gap, but then I had to hit a huge fuel number. It was tough hanging on and trying to hit that number.
“Given that we were basically last after the first lap, had damage, and the guys had to fix it on pit lane and not lose a lap, I think it was a solid day given the hand we were dealt. That’s racing and we’ll go to Road Atlanta and see what we can do.”