By Luis Torres, Staff Writer
LONG BEACH, Calif. – Jack Harvey will bid farewell to Meyer Shank Racing after Sunday’s Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach.
What started as just an Indianapolis 500 gig in 2017 turned into a long-term relationship in which the No. 60 organization has grown a lot. In 46 starts with MSR, Harvey has scored three top-fives, including a podium in the 2019 Indy Grand Prix.
Despite Sunday being the end of a five-year tenure, it’s business as usual for Harvey. Not a weekend of mourning, but plenty of fondness to look back upon.
“It’s not a funeral or anything like that. It’s more of a celebration,” Harvey told Motorsports Tribune during Thursday’s media luncheon.
“I’ve been with the team for five years and we’ve achieved a lot together. From a one-time Indy 500 entry to two full-time Indy cars is an incredible growth.
“We’re extremely fortunate and very grateful with our partners. Where we are now, I’ve never even dreamt we could’ve gone to this stage. I’m really appreciative of Michael (Shank), Jim (Meyer), AutoNation and SiriusXM.
“There’s so some sadness in our final weekend, but the team are in a really strong place,” Harvey continued. “I’m really excited for the future. As far as I’m concerned, it’s business as usual. Hopefully, with a little kick in our step because it’s going to be the final time we’re going to ride together.”
Harvey will look to have a better outcome at Long Beach compared to 2019. That April afternoon saw the 28-year-old involved in a multi-car crash at the start of the race. The incident was bizarre because Harvey’s Honda-powered entry ended up on the fountain garden after Marcus Ericsson ran into the back of him.
Fortunately, Harvey was able to finish the race in 22nd, but was three laps behind race winner Alexander Rossi.
“Yeah (laughs), Marcus put me in the fountain,” Harvey recalled. “Shit happens in the first lap. Frankly, we spent a lot of the race trying to play catch up. It was a real unfortunate thing. I remember on the track walk, (Marcus) said ‘Has anyone ended up in the fountain?’
“He’s not allowed to say that to anyone anymore. He ran into the back of me a little bit and ended up putting me there. It’s racing. It happens. I honestly didn’t even remember it until (I think) Townsend Bell posted it.”
When the 16th and final round draws to a close, Harvey knows no matter what happens, he’s ready for the next chapter. All thanks to the opportunity he got from MSR.
“Meyer Shank took a risk on me and I took a risk on them. When I got approached by what’s going to be my new team, it was because we were getting results. They saw the potential that we have,” Harvey commented.
“I’m grateful for everyone for giving me the opportunity. The success that we hopefully have in the future wouldn’t happened if MSR didn’t help give us this opportunity. It’s a different level of gratitude. It’s not just like, ‘Oh, I’m really grateful for them!’
“I’m so thankful for them because they believed in me for helping us figure this out and making it happen.”
Time will tell which team Harvey signed with for next season, but when asked about his greatest moment with MSR, Harvey had a tough time narrowing down just one. Though he did mention his podium finish at the Indy Road Course. Other than that, it’s the bond he’s built over the years that he hopes will continue.
“I don’t even know if I can pin it down to one particular point. From a racing achievement, clearly our podium at Indy was a big moment,” said Harvey.
“When I look back at my time with MSR, I think it’s filled with incredible potential which we probably didn’t hit often enough. There’s so many at the track and away at the track. These are guys and girls I’ve spent so much time with for so long that you build friendships with these people.
“This isn’t just a race team to me. These are people I like to spend time with away from the track as well. Some of them stayed in our house before when they’ve been at Indy just visiting and go for dinner with them when they’re here. Honestly, a lot of that I hope to maintain.
“It’s been the most incredible chapter and this journey that I’m on. Sad to see it come to an end, but I’m excited to start the next one.”
Live coverage of the 85-lap NTT IndyCar Series season finale at Long Beach begins at 3:00 p.m. ET Sunday on NBC.