By Christopher DeHarde, Staff Writer
INDIANAPOLIS— NTT IndyCar Series qualifying on road and street courses can produce some interesting results and Jack Harvey proved that by qualifying third for Saturday’s INDYCAR Grand Prix at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course.
The No. 60 AutoNation/SiriusXM Honda for Meyer Shank Racing was fourth fastest in the first group of round one of qualifying and set the third fastest time in the second round of knockout qualifying, advancing to the Firestone Fast Six.
The twice runner-up in the Indy Lights presented by Cooper Tires series has victories on the road course and the 2.5 mile oval at Indianapolis and has had productive track time at Indianapolis in the past.
“The baseline car has been very good,” said Harvey. “We tested well last week, we came into the weekend fairly optimistic. I think good results like this really are massive for our program still only doing the 10 races, so still fairly part-time. It’s nice in moments like this that maybe we can apply a little bit of pressure to a few of the people to say, why don’t we do this full-time.
I don’t know if we expected to be third today, but I certainly will take it, and everybody I’m around, I know how good all the guys are.”
Harvey’s team is only doing 10 NTT IndyCar Series races out of 17 this season, up from six races the team did last year. Team co-owner Michael Shank was adamant that this result was about the people that work all day and night to prepare for Indianapolis.
“It’s a little goose-bumpy moment,” said Shank. “You know we’re just a new team at this, a lot of experienced people are helping but I mean it’s an absolute full circle commitment from everybody just to get better and be better. We’re just gaining time and experience, Honda came with great stuff, our team did, SPM did, I think the team and Jack particularly and engineer Mike Colliver were really on point today. They made great great decisions at the right time which is not always easy.”
Shank’s team will enjoy a good dinner ahead of the INDYCAR Grand Prix, but business picks up Saturday for the Ohio-based team.
“Tomorrow we’ve got to focus on finishing in the top five or six,” said Shank. “That’s where we need to be for the year and get everybody refocused, but tonight it’s just being happy, thanking all the people [and] sponsors that have gotten us here.”
Shank saw the No. 60 on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway scoring pylon in third place and realized mid-sentence that there was an immediate priority change.
“Oh shoot, I’ve got to get that, man!”
Lifting up his phone, Shank snapped a few photos for posterity.
“That’s forty years for me, forty years of racing and trying to get up on that pylon.”