St. Petersburg, Fla. (10 March 2018) – After a long road to make it to the IndyCar field, Michael Shank Racing has successfully completed its first qualifying run of the 2018 Verizon IndyCar season with driver Jack Harvey putting the No. 60 AutoNation / SiriusXM Honda on the 10th row for the start of the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg on Sunday.
Three practice sessions started off the IndyCar race weekend as Michael Shank Racing gained confidence through its first race weekend of the 2018 season. Harvey – who has a strong history at the St. Petersburg race course, with three Indy Lights podiums at the track – entered the weekend looking to learn as much as possible to be able to give the No. 60 AutoNation / SiriusXM Honda a shot at a solid finish.
Harvey posted quick lap times during the practice sessions ahead of qualifying, building the pace to occasionally sit within the top ten and then at one time setting times just four tenths off of the leader during the final hour long practice session on Saturday morning.
A threat of rain showers loomed in the sky for the ten minute qualifying session as Harvey stepped in his vibrant pink AutoNation / SiriusXM machine for the first qualifying run group. Alternating between two sets of Firestone reds, Harvey pushed to get the most out of the tires but was left wanting more at the close of the session as he posted the 19th fastest lap time of 1:01.0270.
“Our first set on reds went pretty well,” said Harvey. “We just couldn’t improve the right amount on the second set to progress. For now, we will just try to understand why that happened and how we can work on that for next time. Where we are starting will give us the opportunity to move up which is great. Now we will just look at strategy and try to see what we can do to have a good race.”
Ever-competitive team owner Mike Shank was hoping for a shot at the fast 12 but is highly pleased with what the team and Harvey have accomplished so far this race weekend. With his focus on learning and making progress for the whole program in its debut weekend, Shank feels that the team is right on track for a positive race result.
“We are right where we need to be,” said Shank. “We would have liked to have qualified a little bit better but we are all pushing the same direction – it’s all positive stuff. We have a long race, this race is treacherous, so we will just try to stay clean and get a good start at it. We will keep trying to get the car better for Jack (Harvey), but it is still going according to plan. There is nothing to be bummed about, we are in good shape and ready for the start of the race.”
The season opener of the Verizon IndyCar season at St. Petersburg will go green at 12:40 p.m. on Sunday, March 11th with live race coverage beginning at 12:30 p.m. on ABC.