By: Ashley McCubbin
When Meyer Shank Racing w/ Curb-Agajanian made the jump back into Daytona Prototype competition, there was varied responses as to how they would do. Though so far, things have gone solidly.
The group opened up the season by placing fourth in the 24 Hours of Daytona, followed by a third in the 12 Hours of Sebring. With the goal set on gaining two more spots, Dane Cameron says it’s all about cleaning up the little details.
“I think we’ve had some good speed at times; we’re just trying to build our understanding of the car,” he told NEWS FROM THE PITS. “Obviously it’s pretty tough, compacted off-season this year so quite a bit on the team to jump up from GTD and restructure as they had to go from two cars to one car, and back up to prototype. The car has matured in its development, but it’s all new to everybody here. So I think we’ve shown really good speed at times so we’re just trying to understand the car better, and really find out what are the fine details that make it tick.
“We’re getting closer and closer, as Mike said getting stronger each time we run the car, and getting closer and closer to keeping the car in its happy spot all the time. There’s a lot of great tracks coming up for the car, and I think for Oli (Oliver Pla) and I as drivers so a lot to look forward to as we get into the meat into the season. We’ve survived the two big endure tests, especially Daytona being really tough with the shortened off-season; the cars take a beating in those races. So good to get a podium and some points out of there and now we can turn the page to the sprint races.”
A critical piece of the success thus far has been having Dane Cameron behind the wheel, given his experience with the car over the past couple seasons with Team Penske. The Californian was able to score three wins in 2019 en route to winning the championship, followed by a sixth in the points a year later.
“I’m not afraid to tell you that we were behind the car a bit, especially at the beginning,” he commented. “We had last been in prototype in 2016 and been out of it for four years. So to come back to it, I have to admit that it was probably a bigger back step than I thought it’d be since we spent so much time. The cars have changed so much. It has taken a little bit of time.
“Dane is being nice, but I can tell you that we’re working hard to figure that gap out and we’re making progress on it big time. It’s been a big challenge for us, for sure.”
The challenge began right from the beginning of the year, only getting their hands on the car just weeks prior to the test at Daytona International Speedway.
“We are behind with the car as I said earlier, but we are trying to get caught up,” Shank said. “We made a list of what we need to work on and are compacting it right away, even though we just came through what was a grueling patch. December 15th was when we were handed these cars, and we had to be at Daytona two weeks later for our first test.
“It’s just been incredible, actually, and I give a lot of credit to Honda Performance Development, our partners at Wayne Taylor Racing. I think we worked well together to get everything both teams needed to be successful, and obviously they were very successful at Daytona which was big for the Acura brand – we’re proud to be part of all that. You’re going to see from us a continued level of performance from us, starting at Mid-Ohio on.
“Even though this car has this season and next season left in it, we’re going to take it as far out as we can and try to exceed what Dane was able to do with Penske, and look forward to the future in whatever that looks like.”