Photo by Chris Owens, Indycar
Jack Harvey returns to the scene of his best weekend of his Road to Indy career, where he swept both races. Mid Ohio is also the home track of his car owner, Michael Shank. No pressure there. Still Harvey is excited to return to Mid Ohio and the Honda indy 200, were he started fifth and finished seventh in race 1 last year.
In talking to the media yesterday, Harvey discussed what mid Ohio means to him and the team, and how his 2021 season is going.
“It’s massive, mate. It’s such a special place for the team, obviously it being Michael’s home race, the track that he grew up at, so everyone at Meyer Shank Racing is obviously very excited. Mid-Ohio was a place that I got my first win in North America back in Indy Lights, and just a track that has flowed pretty well for me the whole time I’ve been there.”
Mid Ohio is known to have rain on race weekends. The rain during qualifying for Race 2 last year cost Harvey several positions on the grid., Harvey doesn’t mind rain at this track.
“Honestly I even like it when it’s raining. We had the wrong setting in the car. We still had our dry pedal map in, so just a bit of an oversight on my side but also maybe on the team’s side, as well. Man, it just flows. It’s a super great track. There’s a nice bit of elevation change there, a lot of the corners kind of link together, so you might have three corners that actually all directly feed into the next one, so your car placement, your precision. I feel like I have gone well on tracks like that, been able to like give a little to try and get a little in a certain part of the corner.”
Harvey summed 2021 for him so far as having a competitive pace, but finding misfortune, especially in the last six races. He told the media:
“… we’ve been quick everywhere. Certainly we have momentum. Just things that together as a team we’re learning. I would say we don’t often repeat mistakes. We have an uncanny ability at the minute to find new ones, which I’m hoping that we kind of stop doing that, but just from a sheer pace perspective, we’ve got that at the minute. But like you said, you look at the people around the championship, and it’s an unusual year because there’s a lot of really great drivers who have been on the receiving end of not necessarily bad luck but just unfortunate events, and like I was talking to Michael this week, we started the season well, we’ve had great pace everywhere, but the last six races for us, I mean, have been pretty not awesome.”
An ambitious strategy call at Road America cost Harvey at least 10 spots in the final results. Harvey related, “Looking back at Road America, our strategy call was aggressive, probably more aggressive than what I would have done if they’d have radioed me and asked, but at the end of the day I think it also shows the desire and aspirations of the team that we’re here to try and get really great results. Honestly I really believe that we’re on the brink of it, we just need them pieces to come together on a smooth weekend, and I think we can do it.”
As for having Helio Castroneves as a teammate, Harvey enjoys him, and is looking forward to Indycar’s Nashville debut.
“I just like having Helio around, really. He has enthusiasm. He’s an incredibly nice guy. I don’t think there was one person at the Indy 500 who wasn’t happy to see him win. That’s just the kind of guy he is. You know, one of the things that gets a bit of a challenge, for as great as it is having another car there, attention is all getting pulled a little bit away, but Andretti Autosport have five full-time guys if you include us in their stable, so there’s plenty of data to be looking at. But it certainly doesn’t hurt. I just hope that as a team we have to be ready to put people in place to be able to deal and handle with all the extra work that comes along with that car, but I know we’re talking about Mid-Ohio, but if you look just forward to Nashville just for a moment, I think everyone is so incredibly excited for that race. It would be great to have a great weekend this weekend and take that positive energy, momentum into hopefully a great Nashville because August and September are about as busy as what you can be, I think, in an INDYCAR season.”
Jack Harvey is still seeking his first Indycar victory. This weekend at Mid Ohio might be the track where he sees Victory Circle. A win would be huge for him and Michael Shank. While Mid Ohio is still mainly a tack that roots for the Rahals, Mike Shank and crew may give them a new hometown hero to cheer for.