By Joey Barnes, Editor-in-Chief
LONG BEACH, California – Andretti Autosport has announced that Jack Harvey will pilot a fifth car for the 101st Indianapolis 500.
The two-time Indy Lights presented by Cooper Tires championship runner-up will make his Verizon IndyCar Series debut in the No. 50 AutoNation Honda
“The Indy 500 is easily the biggest race I have entered in my career so far,” said Harvey, the 2015 Freedom 100 winner at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
“It is one of the most iconic races in the world and I feel extremely privileged to be taking part in it. To have the opportunity to do this with one of the best teams on the grid – a team that has won two of the last three races there – is more than I could have dreamed of. We have been working incredibly hard over the last 18 months to make this happen and it’s hard to put into words what this means to me.
“I want to thank the whole Andretti Autosport team for this opportunity. I also want to thank everyone that has supported me over my racing career; especially my family, friends and my manager.
“Finally, this wouldn’t be possible without the support of AutoNation, so I am very grateful for them helping me put this together.”
Team owner Michael Andretti announced his excitement for adding Harvey to the lineup, which includes last year’s Indy 500 champion, Alexander Rossi.
“Jack is a rising talent in open-wheel racing,” said Andretti.
“He’s had an impressive career in the Mazda Road to Indy ladder and the British F3 series and we’re really pleased to be able to give him a shot in an Indy car at this year’s Indy 500.”
Despite a heavy and successful background in road racing, Andretti elected to start the Brit on the oval instead of the road course, which plays host to the INDYCAR Grand Prix of Indianapolis. The reason: more sessions on track and an opportunity to grow as a driver.
“I think as a rookie at Indianapolis, the oval is a great place to start because you get a lot of track time,” said Andretti.
“At a place like the Grand Prix, you literally get two 45 minute sessions and then you’re almost getting ready to qualify. Indy (the oval), you can take your time leading up to things and things like that. I think it is a much better environment for a rookie, so I never have a problem starting a guy on the Indy oval because of all the track time you get.”
AutoNation, a longtime partner with Andretti Autosport, will serve as the primary sponsor for Harvey and has also teamed with Ryan Hunter-Reay’s Racing for Cancer to help drive out cancer. This May, AutoNation will celebrate the sale of its 11th million vehicle, a stat that they share alone as the only automotive retailer to achieve this milestone.