Photo: Courtesy IMSA

Acura Charges to Second in GT Daytona at Mid-Ohio

By Christopher DeHarde, Staff Writer

LEXINGTON, Ohio — Acura may have won in Prototype but Meyer-Shank Racing nearly made it a two-class victory at the Acura Sports Car Challenge at their home track, the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course.

Based in nearby Pataskala, Ohio, the MSR duo of Katherine Legge and Alvaro Parente started fourth in their No. 86 Acura NSX GT3 and after 45 minutes they were 23 seconds behind the class-leading Lexus.

However, after Parente got in for his stint later in the race, the NSX came alive and Parente got close but couldn’t quite pull off the winning move, finishing .191 seconds behind the GTD-winning Lexus of Dominik Baumann and Kyle Marcelli.

“I couldn’t ask for a single thing out of all of them, they all did great,” said team owner Michael Shank. “We had a little problem on the second stop on the 93 car, it would’ve been third or fourth worst case and I hate it for them but everything else was textbook.

“They just performed at the maximum level, the pit stops, the drivers, everything top to bottom. It’s hard to get much better but really it’s a great points day for us, we’re second in points and have caught up the 48 Lamborghini so we’ll keep digging.”

While the Lexus duo had the field covered by a large amount, Acura brought the fight back late in the going thanks to Parente’s driving.

“It was tough and frustrating at the same time,” said Parente. “Because I felt with six laps to go there was a bit of a moment that cost me three seconds and probably the race win because I would have gotten to him earlier, just that but it was a great result, great weekend, big thank you to Acura and MSR.”

This result wasn’t only at the MSR home track. This is also Acura’s home track. Every Acura NSX is manufactured in Marysville, Ohio, a mere 80 minutes from the track. Getting a good result was crucial for everyone involved.

“It was really important,” said Legge. “It’s the home track for Acura, it’s the home track for MSR so there’s a lot of fight in us and we didn’t have the fastest car on the track but we fought hard and I’m really proud of the team and Alvaro.”

“It’s always special to race at home,” said Parente. “Even though everywhere we go we’re looking for the good result, we knew we had a very good potential to have it here with the car and that was it, so it feels very special to have been on the podium and fighting for the win and almost getting it is a bit frustrating but look, it’s like that.”

Shank was happy for another reason and that being that this led into his month of May with Jack Harvey. Harvey will attempt to qualify a No. 60 MSR/Schmidt Peterson Motorsports Honda for the 102nd Indianapolis 500 and this result puts the team on a good footing.

“It’s the momentum that we need to start the month and keeps everybody on a positive foot,” said Shank. “We had three of the (team) members here including the driver here today from IndyCar, it’s great and we look forward to getting there next Friday.”

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A 2012 graduate of LSU, Christopher DeHarde primarily focuses on the NTT IndyCar Series and the WeatherTech Sports Car Championship. DeHarde has actively covered motorsports since 2014.