The opening race of the 2018 Verizon IndyCar Series season at St Petersburg ended in disappointment for Bassingham racing driver Jack Harvey when a sudden loss of tyre pressure in his right rear tyre resulted in him losing the back end of the car, causing him to collide with a wall.
The Michael Shank Racing with Schmidt Peterson Motorsports driver was running in fifth place and was targetting a podium finish when he was forced to retire on lap 38.
Harvey’s race weekend had run solidly, having posted quick lap times during the practice sessions, building the pace to occasionally sit within the top 10 and then setting times just four tenths off the leader during the final hour long practice session on Saturday morning.
Qualifying saw him alternate between two sets of Firestone reds during the 10-minute session. Harvey pushed to get the most out of the tyres throughout the session, but was only able to extract a lap time of 1min 1.0270sec, which placed him 19th.
On Sunday afternoon, Harvey lined up on the 10th row of the grid for the 111-lap race. Making a textbook start, he was up four places by the end of the opening lap. Opting for an alternate strategy, Harvey pitted on lap four.
After the frantic race action saw a series of full course cautions, Harvey kept a cool head at the restarts and after less than one quarter race distance, was up to fifth place.
But on lap 38, an unexpected rear tyre issue forced Harvey into a spin and, after making contact with the wall on a high speed section of the circuit, he was forced to retire.
“We had a strong start and gained a few positions before the first corner,” said Harvey, who began racing as a youngster in karts at Fulbeck and Brandon. “We aren’t exactly sure what happened just yet. I was in the middle of turns 11 and 12 and the tyre just went and then I had contact with the wall.
“Up until that point we were having a pretty good weekend and running really well in the race. It’s really disappointing that we didn’t see the chequered flag today, but the guys have done a really great job and we will just keep moving forward.”
Harvey has testing for the Indianapolis 500 coming up, whilst his next race is the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach on April 15.