A Rumor I Hope Comes True

One of the best things about the month of April is that it is rife with rumors regarding possible rides for the Indianapolis 500, which is now less than eight weeks away. We keep hearing that there are going to be thirty-seven cars trying to squeeze into the traditional field of thirty-three, but I’m not sure if we’ve even reached thirty-four confirmed driver-car combinations. Whatever the current count is, there are still a few seats to fill if we are to reach thirty-seven or thirty-eight entries.

For the second time in the last three weeks, I’ve heard one rumor that I hope comes true. When I say rumor, I don’t have some inside person placed deep within the IndyCar ranks that is secretly feeding me information. I’m just a blogger. No my rumor mill is mostly the same as yours – Facebook and Twitter.

But over the past weekend I saw, for the second time, some speculation that Meyer Shank Racing (MSR) would run a second car for next month’s Indianapolis 500 and that the driver would be Katherine Legge.

She has been a driver for Michael Shank in sports cars since 2017, and finished second in the WeatherTech SportsCars final standings in 2018. That second-place season included a pair of wins at Belle Isle and Laguna Seca, along with an impressive second-place in the Rolex24 at Daytona. Prior to her time with Shank, Katherine Legge drove the infamous DeltaWing for three years.

Katherine Legge has a very impressive and diverse resume. She has driven in Champ Car, IndyCar, the Indianapolis 500, A1 GP, DTM, the NASCAR Xfinity Series and even Formula E. her two “500” starts came in 2012 and 2013. In 2012, while driving for Jay Penske’s Dragon Racing, Legge started thirtieth and finished twenty-second. The next year she started thirty-third and finished twenty-sixth, driving for Sam Schmidt.

She has always been one of those drivers that I would randomly think, “If only she were in good equipment”. Legge is what I would call a true racer. It is obvious from her resume that she loves to race and will drive whatever she can to stay in a race car. In an age of specialization, it is good to see that there are still some drivers who will drive anything available and nothing is beneath her.

The British driver is thirty-eight and reaching an age where some drivers are ready to call it a career. I don’t get that impression with Legge. I think she fully enjoys racing and is one of those who will always strap on a helmet whenever she gets a chance.

Unfortunately, the one video that Katherine Legge will be most remembered for is this spectacular crash she had at Road America in 2006, while driving for Kevin Kalkhoven and Jimmy Vasser’s PKV Racing, when her rear wing fell off the rear of the car. Even knowing she walked away unhurt, it is still frightening to watch. What was most impressive about the whole incident was her matter-of-fact demeanor in her interview immediately after the crash. The first time I saw that was when I immediately became a fan of hers.

The second car at Meyer Shank Racing is not a dream come true. They are a team still finding their way with Jack Harvey as the primary driver, and he is only running ten races this season – up from six in 2018. This is the second year that MSR will have a technical alliance with Arrow Schmidt Peterson Motorsports. Last year, Harvey and MSR qualified thirtieth for the Indianapolis 500, but Harvey ran well and was one of those at the front that ducked in for fuel with about three laps to go. Harvey ultimately finished sixteenth.

But Harvey has performed relatively well in the two races thus far this season, with two Top-Tens. OK, that’s a little misleading, because he finished tenth in both races. Still, for a part-time second-year team – that’s not bad. Can they put together a strong effort for a second car, when they are still in their relative infancy? Probably not, but Legge – like most true racers – is not going to pass up the opportunity.

Four or five cars are going home a week before the race is even run. Katherine Legge may be one of them. But if she is successful in making the race, I like her odds to have a decent showing. From what I recall from her Champ Car days, she has a very good trait for an experienced driver running for a small budget team – she can make the most out of a not-so-great car. Experience teaches that, and so does versatility. Katherine Legge has both.

My enjoyment of the Indianapolis 500 doesn’t stem just from watching to see which driver of the Big Three teams will win the race. I get just as much pleasure watching an experienced driver make the most of their modest equipment and giving that car an unexpected good run – like when Gabby Chaves finished ninth in Harding Racing’s debut in 2017, or 2015 when JR Hildebrand and Josef Newgarden finished eight and ninth for CFH Racing.

I am under no delusions that Katherine Legge will win this year’s Indianapolis 500 in the second car from Meyer Shank Racing. But if she makes the race, I am very confident that she will give that car a good run. Above all else, she’s a racer.

George Phillips

6 Responses to “A Rumor I Hope Comes True”

  1. I’m a huge fan of Miss Legge, I’ve been watching her race various cars for years and she’s always impressed me. She’s a badass on the track and a sweetheart off of it. By all accounts she’s a genuine racer to the bone too, and I don’t get the impression she’s even close to hanging up her helmet. Loved seeing her take charge of the all female team and showing them the ropes. Really hope she makes The Race this year, and I think she has a good shot at getting in.

  2. Paul Fitzgerald Says:

    I am hopeful that the rumor is true. Katherine would be a great addition. I just wish Simona would be at Indy too.

    I think that you have undervalued what Jack Harvey has done so far this year. Two tenth place finishes are awesome for MSR!

  3. Simon Garfunkel Says:

    I like that you spoke of her as a racer, and not a “female” racer. Too many people talk about the female racers as a subset.

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