Birmingham, Ala. (18 April 2021) – The Meyer Shank Racing team can check the first race of the INDYCAR season off the list after Jack Harvey drove to an eleventh place finish during Sunday’s Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama.
Harvey qualified the No. 60 AutoNation / SiriusXM Honda on the inside of the sixth row on Saturday for the start of the 90 lap race. Shortly after taking the green flag, an opening lap melee ensued going into Turn Five as several cars were collected right in front of the No. 60. Quick thinking and fast hands by Harvey saw him maneuver around the carnage and he escaped without damage.
Once back to green, Harvey managed the Firestone alternate tires as best that he could. While they demonstrated pace in qualifying, the alternate tires fell off fast during the initial stages of the race. Once Harvey transitioned to the Firestone primary tires during a lap 34 pit stop, he was back on the charge to get within the top ten and posted his fastest lap of the race on lap 59.
Harvey drove to as high as seventh, but with several different pit strategies in play he was on the tail end of the train of top ten cars. The team’s strategy called for Harvey to save fuel during the final stint of the race in order to have extra fuel left at the end to attack. Unfortunately lapped traffic in the last six laps of the race hindered Harvey’s progress and he crossed the checkers eleventh in the order.
“We started 11th and finished 11th,” said Harvey. “We had a pretty exciting start there dodging Josef (Newgarden). Our pace on Firestone reds was definitely not as strong as we would have hoped that it would have been and it definitely put us back compared to the cars ahead. But on the flip side we were flying on (Firestone) blacks. The guys did a mega job on the pit stops today and we have a lot of positives to take away from today and now we’re just going to roll onto St. Pete.”
“Jack drove a great race today,” said Mike Shank. “He executed our strategy perfectly. I know at the end there, it was tough trying to save fuel while keeping the top ten in sight, but he did everything that he could and we ended up with P11.”
INDYCAR continues three straight weekends of running with the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg staged for next weekend, Sunday April 25.