Jack Harvey on ninth row for dream Indy500 debut
Following two days of qualifying, the Bassingham racer secured 27th place on the grid in the number 50 Michael Shank Racing with Andretti Autosport Honda for Sunday’s iconic race.
On Saturday, Harvey posted a four-lap average speed of 226.894mph to lock in a position on the Indianapolis 500 grid.
And there was more progress on Sunday when Harvey clocked a fast lap speed of 231.433mph in practice.
With positions 10-33 up for grabs and looking to make the most of the opportunity to score a strong position on the grid, Harvey came out of the box strong with a first fast qualifying lap timed at more than 228mph.
But that run was slowed dramatically after he made a glancing contact with the wall at the exit of turn two on his second flying lap.
Despite the smeared paint on the side of the car, Harvey kept his nerve to complete his final two laps and a position on the ninth row after posting a four lap average of 225.742 mph in the adventurous run.
“It’s a dream come true to have qualified for the Indy500,” he said. “We were hoping for a higher qualifying position considering the speed we had in this morning’s practice session.
“We were able to run a 231 (mph lap) on our own, so we just missed the balance a little bit during qualifying. It might have been a combination of the change in track temperature and the change in wind.
“I want to take this chance to thank everyone from Michael Shank Racing and Andretti Autosport for all their hard work; it really is a team effort.
“I also want to thank everyone back home for their ongoing support! We will be aiming for a clean race and to make up some places from our ninth row starting position.”
Team Owner Michael Shank commented; “We had a little brush with the wall and it was impressive that Jack was able to keep on it.
“We freed the car up a lot from yesterday and it was very quick this morning. But in the conditions we had for qualifying, the balance just went away on us, so I am disappointed for Jack.
“Now we will focus on the race. We have a few days this week to get ready and work on getting a really good race balance so that Jack can race with people in traffic.”