INDIANAPOLIS – I’ve been banging the Jack Harvey drum for several years now. Since the young British driver came on the scene in Indy Lights in 2014, I could tell the kid could drive. Harvey, having never been to any of the North American tracks before, had four wins (all in the last five races), 10 podiums and a top five finish in all 14 races during his rookie season in 2014. While that should earn a championship in any series you race in, unfortunately he lost out on a tiebreaker for the title to Gabby Chaves. They each had four wins, but Chaves had five runner-up finishes compared to Harvey’s one.
But, Harvey and Schmidt Peterson Motorsports stayed together for 2015, even with a newer car and more competition. Still, Harvey would shine. He’d earn two more victories, one of which in the Freedom 100 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, including eight podiums, 12 top five finishes and 15 top 10’s in 16 tries. Unfortunately, he’d finish second in the championship again, this time to Spencer Pigot.
That led him to pursue a Verizon IndyCar Series ride but without the Mazda Road to Indy $1-million scholarship. What more could he be left to prove in Indy Lights? Two years, 30 races, two season runner-up finishes in the points, one a tie-breaker, seven victories, one of which at Indy, 26 top five finishes and 29 top 10’s to his credit. His worst finish in two years was 11th.
He quickly found out that it was a tough road to climb.
Harvey, didn’t find enough funding to remain with SPM in the INDYCAR Series as the team paired James Hinchcliffe and Mikhail Aleshin in 2016. Harvey, had no ride. Same would occur in 2017, until Michael Shank took a flier on him. Shank, had always wanted to run the Indianapolis 500. He and Michael Andretti worked out a deal on a sixth car for the team and brought Harvey with them. They’d have a solid month in starting 27th in the race. Unfortunately, he’d finish 31st as he was caught up in a crash not of his doing.
The Shank/Harvey combination wanted to do more races. 2018 was the target. They needed a likely partner though. That’s where Honda came to the rescue. Honda and one of their teams in SPM paired with Shank and will make at least four starts together next season. It’s something that comes full circle for Harvey as he’s back with Shank and also back with the organization that gave him his first shot.
SPM even gave Harvey a two race tryout in replacing Aleshin at the end of last season. He’d come home 14th and 18th respectively in the last two races of the year at Watkins Glen and Sonoma.
Now, Harvey can show us what he’s got with a team that should give him a great opportunity.