Castroneves will go for pole on Sunday: Harvey locked into 20th for the 500 mile race
Indianapolis, Ind. (22 May 2021) – Meyer Shank Racing (MSR) qualified for the 105th Running of the Indianapolis 500 on Saturday with both of the team’s cars making it into the 500-mile race.
Jack Harvey locked the No. 60 AutoNation / SiriusXM in 20th place for the Memorial Day Weekend race while Helio Castroneves closed out the day sixth in the No. 06 AutoNation / SiriusXM Honda. The three-time Indianapolis 500 winner will have the chance to fight for his fifth Indianapolis 500 pole position during Sunday’s Fast Nine qualifying session (3:00pm ET, NBC).
High intensity is the only way to describe qualifying for the Indianapolis 500 and this year’s first day of qualifying was no different. Castroneves was fourth to roll out for qualifying and utilized the cloud cover and cool track temperatures to lay down a four lap average of 231.164 mph. That speed kept him firmly in the top nine speeds through the rest of the day.
Castroneves made a second attempt in hopes of moving even further up the order, but was unable to improve. Castroneves’ first qualifying run was good enough for him to advance into the Fast Nine qualifying on Sunday which will see the three-time Indianapolis 500 winner go for pole position.
“The AutoNation / SiriusXM car was very solid,” said Castroneves. “Qualifying went exactly how we practiced it yesterday – we were actually a bit quicker than we anticipated which was perfect. Our goal was to get in the top nine so that we could have a shot at pole tomorrow and we did that. Tomorrow is a different day though and we’ll work to find some more speed overnight and be back at it for qualifying tomorrow.”
After topping the speed charts during Saturday morning practice, Harvey went into his first qualifying attempt hoping to achieve his best qualifying position since his Indianapolis 500 debut in 2017.
Unfortunately Harvey got off to a rough start after experiencing a vibration on lap 1 of his qualifying run. Hanging tough to produce a four lap average of 225 mph, MSR quickly found the source of Harvey’s vibration troubles when the team discovered his right rear tire severely damaged. With no apparent cause for the tire’s deterioration, the crew got to work to send Harvey back out for a second run.
Harvey’s second run saw a big improvement with him banking a four lap average of 230.191 mph. The team hoped to get Harvey back out for a third run to improve his 20th place ranking, but then elected to stand on the time to confirm its position on the starting grid for next Sunday’s INDYCAR classic.
“Today was definitely a bit of a hectic day,” said Harvey. “I’ve never seen anything like that with the tire and I honestly just tried to bring it home. I’m just glad that we were able to do four laps at a decent pace to get us in the show. When you have an issue like we had this morning, it puts everyone in a high pressure situation. But everyone at Meyer Shank Racing dealt with it very well, they stayed as calm as you can while trying to quickly get the car ready again. So I have to say a big thanks to the team for working as hard as they did to get us back in for another go at the Indy 500.”
Sunday will see Fast Nine practice at 11:30am ET which will roll into Fast Nine Qualifying starting at 3:00pm ET with live coverage on NBC / Peacock TV. The field of 33 Indianapolis 500 entries will head back out on track for a final practice from 5:00-7:00pm ET.