(via INDYCAR) – Each year, diehard Verizon IndyCar Series fans flock to Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course and make the track a weekend camping home for the Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio. For the third year in a row, race title sponsor and INDYCAR engine manufacturer Honda has invited campers to have a little extra fun by joining in on a weekend theme.
This year, #campingwithhonda asked Mid-Ohio attendees to channel their inner swashbuckler and become the “Pirates of Mid-Ohio.” In addition to a Saturday night bonfire and live music on the track grounds, the annual campsite decorating contest was held – with Meyer Shank Racing with SPM driver Jack Harvey serving as the deciding judge.
Harvey, driver of the No. 60 AutoNation/Sirius XM MSR with SPM Honda, toured the track to check out the three finalists in each category (RVs and tents) following Verizon P1 Award qualifying on Saturday afternoon. The winners, as decided by the 25-year-old Brit, were Camp Howard J (Jim and John Howard) for RVs and Mid-Ohio Treasure (Josh Renicker and Eric Dalpiaz) in tents.
The diehard fans did not disappoint with the creative decoration of their sites. Harvey left impressed and appreciative of the time devoted to creating the decorations, as well as the fans’ commitment and loyalty to the Verizon IndyCar Series.
“I think this was so awesome,” Harvey said, “with so many people camping and so many people getting into the pirate theme. I even saw some people wearing pirate gear in the pits. It adds another atmosphere here.
“I think everyone will associate Mid-Ohio as a top place in America to come to a track and camp out,” added Harvey, whose Meyer Shank Racing team considers Mid-Ohio its home track since the team shop is based an hour away. “I think having these themes only adds to the atmosphere and excitement that they have here.
“To be able to come out and interact with these fans is amazing. If we didn’t have them, we wouldn’t have a sport. It’s awesome to interact with everybody.”
The Mid-Ohio Treasure team had an extensive display of a map site for Harvey to travel through. Winning co-designer Renicker was pleased and excited to have the INDYCAR driver stop by and inspect it.
“It’s cool to be able to do something artistic,” Renicker said. “We have a wide range of people to help us with this operation. We do this to have some fun and we get rewarded by meeting an INDYCAR driver and hang out with him for a little bit.
“For us, coming to an INDYCAR event and being able to interact with the drivers is so cool! They’re all just normal people and easy to interact with. They’re like our peers in a sense. This drives us more to be out here and do things like this.”
Harvey hopes his fan interaction brings him luck in Sunday’s race. He starts 20th in the Honda Indy 200 that airs live at 3 p.m. ET on CNBC and the Advance Auto Parts INDYCAR Radio Network. A same-day encore telecast airs at 6:30 p.m. on NBCSN.