St. Petersburg, Fla. (11 March 2018) – As the first race of the 2018 Verizon IndyCar season got underway in St. Peterburg Florida, Michael Shank Racing driver, Jack Harvey, gave it everything he had, but was knocked out of the race following a sudden loss of tire pressure that sent him spinning into the wall and ended the race early for Harvey and the No. 60 AutoNation / SiriusXM Honda.
Harvey was on the fast track right out of the gates in the 110 lap Verizon IndyCar season opener. Tiing his start to perfection, Harvey picked up four spots in his first lap around the 1.8-mile circuit.
After opting for an alternate strategy, Michael Shank Racing called Harvey into the pits for a new set of Firestone black tires on lap four. Harvey returned and set his sights on the front of the field. After the frantic race action saw a series of full course cautions, Harvey played it smart on the restarts and turned up the pace well into the first quarter of the race. In no time the young rookie was sitting in fifth place, running on the same pace as the lead pack of experienced drivers.
On lap 38 an unexpected rear tire issue saw Harvey forced into a spin as he made contact with the wall on a high speed section of the circuit, ending the day for the team and the No. 60 AutoNation / SiriusXM machine.
Understandably frustrated with the early end for his 2018 season debut, Harvey knows that the team did everything they could to give him a fast race car which visibly showed on track.
“We had a good start and gained a few positions on the actual start,” said Harvey. “We aren’t exactly sure what happened just yet. I was in the middle of Turns 11 and 12 and I just lost the car big time and it got away from me. I think overall we had a pretty good weekend, obviously not the best weekend that we were hoping for. It was right where we expected to be and we found areas where we need to do some more work. We didn’t achieve the objective this weekend because we didn’t see the checkered flag which was frustrating. But the guys have done a really great job and we will just keep moving forward. The fact that we are here and giving it our best shot is where we all want to be. I have a great team of people behind me and we will come back strong at Long Beach.”
Mike Shank who has worked for years to assemble the partners and team to compete in IndyCar, was disappointed with the outcome of the weekend but is proud of the team effort and what Jack has produced throughout the weekend.
“We were on an alternative strategy along with I think three or four other cars and it was playing out very well for us,” said Shank. “Jack (Harvey) was able to run in the top six pretty easily. We are not sure what caused the problem. The right rear tire was down. I just don’t know how or why it was down but when he went to go back to the left, the tire was gone-it was off the rim and that spun us and put us in the wall. It is really too bad. Everyone involved with this program-AutoNation and SiriusXM- they are going to support us through bad times and good times but they are there for us. We’ll just go back and regroup and fix the car. We’ve got the test for the Indianapolis 500 coming up and then on to Long Beach.”
The next Verizon IndyCar race for the Michael Shank Racing IndyCar squad will be the third round of the Verizon IndyCar Series at the Grand Prix of Long Beach on April 11th.