Bassingham racing driver Jack Harvey has qualified for the 101st running of the Indianapolis 500.
Following two days of qualifying, Harvey – who began his racing career in karts at his local tracks at Fulbeck and Brandon – secured 27th on the grid in the number 50 Michael Shank Racing with Andretti Autosport Honda, which will see him line up on the ninth row for Sunday’s iconic race.
On Saturday, Harvey posted a four lap average of 226.894mph to lock in a position on the Indianapolis 500 grid. The team effort made more progress on Sunday as Harvey was able to clock a fast lap speed of 231.433mph on his own in practice.
With positions 10-33 up for grabs and looking to make the most of the opportunity to score a strong position on the grid, Harvey came out of the box strong with a first fast qualifying lap over 228mph.
But that run was slowed dramatically after he made a glancing contact with the wall at the exit of turn two on his second flying lap. Despite the smeared paint on the side of the car, Harvey kept his nerve to complete his final two laps for a position on the ninth row of the grid in the field of 33 after posting a four-lap average of 225.742mph in the adventurous run.
Harvey commented: “It is a dream come true to have qualified for the Indy 500. We were hoping for a higher qualifying position considering the speed we had in this morning’s practice session. We were able to run a 231 [mph lap] on our own, so we just missed the balance a little bit during qualifying. It might have been a combination of the change in track temperature and the change in wind.
“I want to take this chance to thank everyone from Michael Shank Racing and Andretti Autosport for all their hard work – it really is a team effort. I also want to thank everyone back home for their ongoing support.
“Our attention now turns to Sunday’s race where we will be aiming for a clean race and to make up some places from our ninth row starting position.”
Team owner Michael Shank commented: “We had a little brush with the wall and it was impressive that Jack was able to keep on it. We freed the car up a lot from yesterday and it was very quick. But in the conditions we had for qualifying, the balance just went away on us, so I am disappointed for Jack.
“Now we will focus on the race. We have a few days this week to get ready and work on getting a really good race balance so that Jack can race with people in traffic.”