Meyer Shank Racing threw out a bombshell of an announcement on Thursday. Not only would 2021 Indy 500 winner and series legend be getting back in the car for a full-time ride with the team in 2022, but the team was expanding to two full-time seats for the 2022 season. While much of this was already guessed at, the next part was a total surprise. The team also announced that British driver Jack Harvey—who has been with MSR since both he and the team joined the series together in 2017—would vacate his seat at the end of this season.
The 46-year-old Brazilian driver has been running without a full-time open wheel seat since Roger Penske demoted him to his Acura sports car team a few years ago. When that contract ran out, despite winning an IMSA championship with the team, Helio was unceremoniously dumped by the Captain. In a lovely turn of events, he went on to win his fourth Indy 500, a race Roger Penske now owns and promotes, with tiny team MSR this year. It was a great moment in racing history, and I hope Roger has been eating crow for dinner every night since.
“I am thrilled to get the chance to go for a fifth Indianapolis 500 win and so excited to fight for the INDYCAR championship again with a full season of races next year with Meyer Shank Racing,” Castroneves said. “Mike and Jim have developed some incredible sponsorships with AutoNation and SiriusXM, and having that support is critical. I have been missing racing in INDYCAR full time so much! So, I cannot wait to get a head start on next year with some strong races to finish this season.”
That victory earned Helio a full-time spot on the MSR team for next year, as the extra press and race winning earnings have allowed the team the space it needs to grow. With his signing for 2022, Helio hopes to keep the “Drive for Five” alive by winning next year’s Indy back-to-back. Man, wouldn’t that be a hell of a story?
The team had intended to keep Harvey onboard and add Helio, but it seems that while a contract signing was imminent, Harvey has decided to go a different direction in 2022. He will leave the team at the end of the 2021 season. Harvey has not managed to find success with the MSR team thus far, finishing in the top ten only a handful of times, with a single podium to his name.
The second seat at the MSR team has not yet been filled, but expect this IndyCar silly season to be one of the silliest yet.