Harvey secures 16th place at Indy 500
Bassingham racing driver Jack Harvey on Sunday finished 16th in the 102nd running of the Indianapolis 500 in the Meyer Shank Racing with SPM No 60 AutoNation/SiriusXM Honda.
Having started 31st on the grid, Harvey’s race strategy meant he had climbed through the field and was running third by lap 95, and returned to the top three once again on lap 130.
In the closing laps of the iconic race, a four-lap caution was thrown 11 laps from the end, but unfortunately the caution period was not long enough for Harvey to conserve fuel and tyres and he was forced to make a final pitstop on lap 197 of the 200-lap race, eventually crossing the Indianapolis Motor Speedway ‘Yard of Bricks’ finish line 16th.
Qualifying for the iconic race took place last Sunday with Harvey, who cut his teeth racing karts at Fulbeck and Brandon, posting a four-lap average qualifying speed of 225.254mph around the 2.5-mile oval at Indianapolis Motor Speedway to secure a 31st-place start.
Sunday proved to be unseasonably hot for the Indianapolis 500, with ambient temperatures hitting 33 degrees Celsius, while a downpour overnight washed away rubber on the track, making it more slippery than sessions in the lead-up to the event.
With the green flag waved for the 500-mile race, Harvey maintained position in the early laps and climbed as high as P24 before his first pitstop on lap 33. A quick stop meant he rejoined the field P26 before the first caution of the race was thrown for a collision between James Davison and last year’s race winner Takuma Sato on lap 48.
Harvey pitted towards the end of the caution period and was running P26 when he rejoined the field. Two further caution periods came in quick succession with Harvey’s pit strategy allowing him to climb to P16 by lap 77, as the race restarted and approached the 200-mile mark.
For the remainder of the race, Harvey’s pit strategy meant he would run as high as third. Four further cautions ensued in the second half of the race, with Harvey climbing to P3 again on lap 130.
On lap 189, the yellow flag was waved for a final time. However, it was a short five-lap caution meaning that the race resumed on lap 193. Harvey made a dramatic move on the inside of turn one on the restart, snagging second place with less than five minutes remaining in the race. But the numbers didn’t all add up, and Harvey was forced to make a trip to pit lane for a lightning-quick stop for fuel. He pitted on lap 197 and re-emerged to finish the race P16.
"It's the Indy 500, the biggest one of the year, so the team didn’t have to apologise to me for going for it,” said Harvey of the fuel strategy. “We nearly made the strategy work, but there were a few bits where we just couldn't hit the numbers. We ran up to the front at the end and went three-wide into turn one on the last restart.
"I tried to drive the best race I could and we finished 16th, which is a pretty good day considering where we started. Looking at where we were last year and where we are today, it's a night and day difference. Thank you to AutoNation and SiriusXM and all of the supporters and sponsors that we have and to Michael [Shank] for believing in me. This is a good programme that's getting off the ground and this is good momentum to keep going."
Harvey next races in the 2018 Verizon IndyCar Series at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course for the Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio on July 29.