Photo: Courtesy of IMSA

Shank Hopeful for ‘Three-Peat’ in Detroit

By Christopher DeHarde, Staff Writer

DETROIT — Meyer-Shank Racing has been victorious in the GTD class the last two years in a row at the Chevrolet Sports Car Classic for the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship but getting a third win in a row would be a dream for team co-owner Michael Shank.

After winning with Andy Lally and Katherine Legge in 2017 and Mario Farnbacher and Legge in 2018, Shank has two Acura NSX GT3 Evo entries to contest the 100 minute race on Saturday and both entries have a great shot to win given their past history.

Legge partners Christina Nielsen in the No. 57 machine while the No. 86 entry of Trent Hindman and Farnbacher finished second in the GTD class at the most recent IMSA race at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course but there are no guarantees for victory as far as Shank is concerned.

“It’s really difficult to [win] with the competition level that’s here,” said Shank. “Our cars are good again so that part’s good so we’re just trying to think about everything we can to put our cars in a position to finish 1-2 again. First thing is to make sure they’re balanced, fairly easy to drive and then secondly, strategy. What are we going to do different than everybody else or what are we going to do to try and stand out and not give people a chance?

“We’re looking at different strategies, keeping an open mind, what worked last year might not work this year and we think we have a good chance at it but it’s really difficult to three-peat at anything.”

The Evo kit is new for 2019 and has helped Hindman and Farnbacher lead the points after MSR’s home race at Mid-Ohio. Legge and Nielsen are 21 points behind the sister car after struggles at Daytona and Mid-Ohio.

“The Evo helps us everywhere, it doesn’t matter where it’s at,” said Shank. “It just helps with aero balance, especially on the entry phase, all the corners no matter where we’re at. It’s just been a nice upgrade for us. At the end of the day, it’s a [Balance of Performance] series so all we really did was make the car better to drive. [IMSA] still pull our performance back. The car probably would’ve gone the same speed with the old kit on it but it’s just easier now from the driver’s perspective.”

Nielsen and Hindman qualified second and third respectively for Saturday’s Chevrolet Sports Car Classic. The 100 minute race will start at 12:30 p.m. ET.

Note: Nielsen and Hindman had qualified third and fourth but following post-qualifying technical inspection were moved up a position following the pole-winning BMW M6 GT3 of Turner Motorsport having failed inspection due to a camber infraction.

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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.