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British racing driver Jack Harvey recorded his best IndyCar finish to date at the Grand Prix of Long Beach.  Making his fifth IndyCar series start, the Meyer Shank Racing with Schmidt Peterson Motorsports driver took the checkered flag in twelfth position after 85 laps of close racing.

Qualifying for Sunday’s race had been frustrating for Harvey and the team. After making progress in practice, the team was hoping to continue that momentum through qualifying, but were unsuccessful as the balance of the car did not match the afternoon track conditions.  Harvey ended the session around the 11-turn, 1.9-mile temporary street circuit setting the seventeenth quickest time with a lap time of 1:08.8207 seconds.

Jack Harvey commented; “qualifying didn’t go as great as we had hoped. We weren’t sure what the track balance was going to be so we didn’t make too many changes, but with hindsight, maybe we didn’t make enough. The balance of the car in the end was similar to what it was in practice, which was on the free side. It’s just tough to drive when the car is like that. We have had good pace this weekend, the times just didn’t come together in that session when we needed it.”

On Sunday afternoon, Harvey lined up on the ninth row of the grid for the 85 lap race.    Almost immediately, a full course caution was brought out and the team pitted Harvey.  Their strategy paid off, and Harvey steadily moved through the field to P7 before pitting for the second time on lap 31.   

By lap 61 he was running in P4 and looking strong for a top five finish.  He was about to come in for his third and final pitstop when the yellow flags were brought out and the pitlane was closed, forcing Harvey to stay out on track as the field was slowed.    This compromised his race strategy and meant that when the pitlane was reopened two laps later, he had dropped down the field.  Despite this curveball, Harvey continued to fight on and after 85 laps of racing, he crossed the finish line in P12.

“We moved forward and that was the goal,” said Harvey. “We ran well all day, but that yellow came out at the absolute wrong time. But you can’t predict those kinds of things happening. We had a good race and we showed what we can do and that we deserve to be here. It’s also a great result for the team and my birthday today. Obviously it’s Jim’s (Meyer) first race as an official team owner this weekend and I’m really excited for everyone at Meyer Shank Racing. It’s not too often that you can really show your true potential and I think this weekend was a good step in that direction.”

“It was a great job by everybody, the engineers really had a great strategy in that first run which really helped us,” commented Mike Shank. “We were a legitimate top six or seven car today. Unfortunately it just didn’t happen because we just missed that yellow. It’s a strategy call that is always tough to make. All I asked these guys is to get better every time and we certainly did that this weekend.”

Next up for Harvey is the 102nd running of the Indianapolis 500 on May 27th.

Posted by Emma Stonier on 17 April 2018 14:50

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