(via INDYCAR.com) – The first top-10 finish in his NTT IndyCar Series career provided validation for Jack Harvey and Meyer Shank Racing with Arrow SPM in Sunday’s Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg.
Driving the No. 60 AutoNation/Sirius XM Honda, started a career-best seventh and finished 10th – the 25-year-old Englishman’s best result in his 10th NTT IndyCar Series race. Harvey felt it showed the next step in the young team’s progression.
“I think the most important thing: we didn’t show everybody else, we showed ourselves,” said Harvey. “Before the weekend, … we said if we qualified in the top 12 and we finished in the top 10, we’d call it a successful weekend.
“We lacked some pace, totally fair to say, in the race, so now obviously we’re going to work hard to try and address that in COTA (the next race on the schedule at Circuit of The Americas), but I think on the whole, really difficult to say that wasn’t a solid weekend.”
Harvey is slated to run a 10-race schedule in 2019 with MSR compared to six races in 2018. While it’s not a full-season schedule, Harvey is placing emphasis on race as if it were.
“I think the thing that’s hard, and me and Michael (Shank, team co-owner) have spoken about it, we have expectations and desires of that as a full-time car,” said Harvey. “Doesn’t matter whether you’re in 10 races or 17, you know, we want to win and we want to compete at this level. So, expectations are high because that’s where they need to be to compete in this series.”
For Shank, a former driver himself, 2019 couldn’t have started better for the NTT IndyCar Series portion of his race team that includes an IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship operation. Harvey ran was high as sixth place for some 25 laps during his second stint, but couldn’t climb back that close to the front in the final half of the 110-lap event on the 14-turn, 1.8-mile temporary street course.
“It was a good start. From qualifying on, we felt really good about our car,” Shank said. “First 30 laps, solid P6, but at the end of the day we need to get the car a little bit better for him. (We) made it a little hard on old Jack to try to keep it up there. Couple of little things we maybe could’ve called a little bit better, but again, this is our seventh race ever, seventh total race as a group.
“Our pit-stop work was really good, had two really good stops, so everything’s going the right direction here. We can go to COTA, try to transfer again in qualifying (to the second of three knockout rounds) like we did this time and try to keep building on that. It’s a good sign for the future.”
That next race is the highly anticipated INDYCAR Classic at Circuit of The Americas from March 22-24. Practices will stream live on INDYCAR Pass on NBC Sports Gold, starting at 11:15 a.m. and 3:05 p.m. ET Friday, March 22 and 11 a.m. Saturday, March 23. Subscribe to INDYCAR Pass here.
NTT P1 Award qualifying airs live at 3 p.m. Saturday, March 23 on NBCSN and INDYCAR Pass. The 60-lap race on the 3.41-mile permanent road course airs live Sunday, March 24 on NBCSN, beginning at 1 p.m.