Jack Harvey Joins RLL in Car 45

The announcement isn’t a shock; it has been talked about for months. What is a bit of a surprise is that Harvey will drive the number 45 Hy-Vee car. The 30 is still open, although an announcement for that ride could come soon. The official announcement from Rahal is below:

BROWNSBURG, Ind. (October 11, 2021) – Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing (RLL) announced today that Bassingham, England native Jack Harvey, 28, will pilot the No. 45 Hy-Vee Honda beginning with the 2022 NTT INDYCAR SERIES season in a multi-year deal.

Hy-Vee, Inc., an employee-owned supermarket chain that operates more than 285 retail stores across eight Midwestern states, has been the primary sponsor of the No. 15 and No. 45 entries for 11 races with the team since 2020, and will expand their program to become a full-season primary sponsor of the No. 45 entry beginning in 2022 in a multi-year agreement. They will also be a team-wide associate sponsor.

Hy-Vee first joined the team as the primary sponsor of Graham Rahal’s entry for Race 2 at the Iowa Speedway in 2020 where he finished third. The company was also the primary sponsor of the team’s entry for Spencer Pigot at the Indy 500 and an associate sponsor of Rahal’s entry for the legendary race. In 2021, they have been a primary sponsor at 9 races: the Indy 500, Detroit Grand Prix doubleheader and Mid-Ohio races with Santino Ferrucci, at Road America and World Wide Technology Raceway with Graham Rahal and at Portland, Laguna Seca and Long Beach with Oliver Askew.

In 2022, Harvey will begin his third full season in INDYCAR. His best start to date is second place in the 2021 Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg and his best finish is third in the 2019 Indianapolis Grand Prix. In 2021, he earned four top-five starts with a best of second place on the Indianapolis road course and earned six top-10 finishes with his best coming at St. Petersburg and Portland of fourth place.

The 2022 NTT INDYCAR SERIES season begins with the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg on February 25-27. The 17-race schedule includes the Hy-VeeDeals.com 250 on Saturday, July 23, and the Hy-Vee Salute to Farmers 300 on Sunday, July 24 – both at Iowa Speedway. Hy-Vee will provide broad support for the doubleheader event through a wide-ranging partnership that will bring INDYCAR racing back to the 0.875-mile Iowa Speedway, located near their headquarters in Des Moines, after a one-year hiatus. For more information about the series or team, visit http://www.indycar.com and http://www.rahal.com.

QUOTEBOARD:

JACK HARVEY, Driver of the No. 45 Hy-Vee Honda: “I’m incredibly excited to be joining Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing. I’ve been working towards this moment for my entire career and I’m so honored and thankful for the trust Bobby, Mike, David and Piers (Phillips, president) have placed in me. Hy-Vee has massively committed to elevating INDYCAR as a series and I’m honored to be representing their brand on track in the No. 45. I’m eager to get to work with Graham and the entire team. We have common goals of competing for wins and championships, and I’m confident we’ll be contending from the drop of the green flag next year.  This is an exciting next chapter, and I can’t wait to see what lies ahead.”

RANDY EDEKER, Hy-Vee’s Chairman of the Board, CEO and President: “Our ongoing partnership with Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing continues to be a success. Over the past two years, we’ve enjoyed being a part of a sport that continues to see its fan base grow substantially year after year. Now, as we look ahead to the 2022 NTT INDYCAR SERIES season, we look forward to hosting our own doubleheader event at the Iowa Speedway and seeing the No. 45 Hy-Vee Honda take the track in the nationally televised event.”

BOBBY RAHAL, co-owner of Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing: “I can’t tell you how pleased I am to welcome Jack to our team. I first heard of him during his time in Indy Lights. He has a great record of success over the years in all forms of racing so I’m pleased that he agreed to join our team. He and Graham will work well together and be a strong foundation for our driver lineup that will raise not only the level of each driver individually but of the team as a result. I respect and appreciate his commitment and work ethic to racing on and off the track which is so key. And I also respect the way he deals with people – friendly and respectful. I think we’re going to have a lot of success together and I very much look forward to having him with us.”

MIKE LANIGAN, co-owner of Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing: “I have heard nothing but good things about Jack and I think he will work well with our driver line up. I think its important that they mesh well together, and I know Graham has a lot of respect for him. He has shown a lot of potential and we’re looking forward to building on that. We welcome him to the team.”

About Hy-Vee, Inc.
Hy-Vee, Inc. is an employee-owned corporation operating more than 285 retail stores across eight Midwestern states with sales of $11 billion annually. The supermarket chain is synonymous with quality, variety, convenience, healthy lifestyles, culinary expertise and superior customer service. Hy-Vee ranks in the Top 10 Most Trusted Brands and has been named one of America’s Top 5 favorite grocery stores. The company’s more than 90,000 employees provide “A Helpful Smile in Every Aisle” to customers every day. For additional information, visit www.hy-vee.com.

About Jack Harvey
Harvey will begin his third full season in the NTT INDYCAR SERIES in 2022. The 2021 season marked Harvey’s fifth year of competing with Meyer Shank Racing (MSR). He began his Indy car journey in 2017 with MSR at the Indianapolis 500. The relationship grew into a partial six race season in 2018 which saw Harvey’s best finish of 12th on the streets of Long Beach. In 2019, MSR expanded its IndyCar program to 10 races with Harvey. He got off to a fast start, making his first top-10 finish at the season opener in St. Petersburg. The Brit’s success didn’t end there as he went on to score his first ever IndyCar podium finish during the INDYCAR Grand Prix at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway (IMS) road course. The 2020 season was Harvey’s first full-season IndyCar campaign and he made two back-to-back front row starts at the INDYCAR Grand Prix and Road America. Despite several instances of bad racing luck, Harvey closed out the season with six top-10 finishes. In 2021, he earned four top-five starts with a best of second place on the IMS road course and he earned six top-10 finishes with his best of fourth place coming at St. Petersburg and Portland.

Prior to joining the INDYCAR SERIES, Harvey was the Indy Lights runner-up in 2014 and 2015, winning six races over the two seasons. He is one of six drivers who have won on the oval and road course at Indianapolis Motor Speedway – winning one of the Grand Prix of Indianapolis races and the Freedom 100 in 2015 while racing in Indy Lights. He has won 10 racing championships in his career, including the 2012 British Formula 3 Championship.

About Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing
Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing, based in Brownsburg, Ind., is co-owned by three-time IndyCar Champion and 1986 Indianapolis 500 winner Bobby Rahal, former CBS Late Show host David Letterman and Mi-Jack co-owner Mike Lanigan. In 2022, the team will move to a purpose-build, 115,000 square foot, state-of-the-art racing headquarters in Zionsville, Indiana and compete in its 31st year of competition. The team will attempt to add to its 29 Indy car wins – including the 2004 Indy 500 from pole with Buddy Rice and the 2020 Indy 500 with Takuma Sato — their 33 poles, 108 podium finishes and 1992 series championship.  The team also competed in the American Le Mans Series from 2009-2013 as BMW Team RLL where they won both the Manufacturer and Team Championships in the GT category in 2010 and swept all three GT titles in 2011 – Manufacturer, Team and Driver. In 2012, the team finished second in the Team Championship and third in the Manufacturer Championship and in 2013, the team finished second in the Driver, Team and Manufacturer Championship. Since 2014, BMW Team RLL has competed in the GTLM class of the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship with a two-car program and has brought their total to 22 wins – including the 2019 and 2020 Rolex 24 at Daytona endurance races, 28 poles and 93 podium finishes as well as a second-place finish in the Manufacturer, Team and Driver championships in 2015 and 2017. The team was also the 2020 Michelin Endurance Champions. For 2021, the team is competing for back-to-back Michelin Endurance Championships.

Andretti F1 Could Shake Up Indycar Grid- in 2023

Photo: On which side of the Atlantic will Colton Herta drive in 2022?

Marti Update: I am happy to report that Marti will be coming home Wednesday. She is strong enough that she will be safe at home. It has been a long road, and I thank everyone for their support these past four months. It has meant a lot to us.

Just my opinion:

Michael Andretti is about to take control of the Alfa Romeo Formula 1 team. The news, first reported by my good friends at Pit Lane Parley, gained momentum this weekend with reports from several news outlets. Immediately fans w began hand wringing over Indycar losing Colton Herta and Pato O’Ward for 2022. Relax. I think both will still be around next year, and both drivers should contend for the championship. 2023 might be a different story.

First, O’Ward is only getting n F1 test as a reward for his first Indycar win. I don’t believe McLaren has an opening. There is an open seat at Alfa Romeo for next year, and thus we have the panic about Herta jumping into it.

My first thought is Herta does not have enough points toward the FIA Superlicense needed to drive in F1. While that is technically correct, he can still obtain one.

A Superlicense requires 40 points, obtained through winning series championship and and winning races. Herta currently has 32 points. Driver who have more than 30 points can receive a special dispensation to drive in F1 next year.

The one good thing that could come of Herta jumping to F1 is that the 26 car would be open for 2021 Indy Lights champion Kyle Kirkwood. Kirkwood’s spot on the grid is uncertain at the moment, though I have heard some vague talk about a possible partnership coming together for him. Kirkwood is every bit as good as Herta, and it would be a shame if he were not on the 2022 grid.

I still don’t think either Herta or O’Ward will be in F1 next season. 2023 is more realistic. Whenever they leave, it will be a blow to Indycar to take out two of the best young drivers in a year which could also see retirements among some the older veterans. Will Power will be ending his two year contract with Team Penske in 2023, Scott Dixon will be 42 years old, and Simon Pagenaud will be 39. Helio Castroneves will be 48 after 2023, assuming he is still driving full time after next year.

IMS Tire Test – Looking Two Seasons Ahead

Photo: Pato O’Ward will represent Chevy in today’s test.

Today’s schedule:

Tire testing 9-12

Break 12-1

Tire testing 1-5

Today’s tire test won’t have the drama or excitement of Wednesday’s Rookie Orientation, but it has importance for the next two seasons of the NTT Indycar Series. In addition to testing next year’s tire compound for the Indianapolis 500, Indycar will add weight to the cars, simulating the added weight in 2023 of the larger 2.4 liter engine and the hybrid energy recovery system. The new components should about 125 pounds to the cars. The extra weight will give the series an idea of how the balance of the cars will change under more weight.

I am very interested to hear what Jay Frye and the technical crew says about today’s results. We are a long way from the final configuration for 2023.

Helio Castroneves after winning his fourth Indianapolis 500 in May

Meyer Shank Racing with Helio Castroneves will represent Honda and Arrow McLaren SP with Pato O’Ward will test for Chevy. are the test cars. The oldest driver in the series and one of the youngest drivers providing input reflects the 2021 season and the generational transition Indycar is going through.

As far as I know the turn 2 mounds are open. There is no streaming for today’s activity.

Rain Cuts ROP Short; Grosjean and Johnson Have Long Wait to Finish

The on again, off again rain finally cut short Rookie Orientation at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway around 4 pm this afternoon, leaving Romain Grosjean and Jimmie Johnson short of completing their rookie tests. The drivers, who just completed their first season in Indycar, will have to wait until the open test in April to finish the final laps of phase three of the 40 lap test. The afternoon stoppage was the second one of the day, and there was not enough time to get the track dry for more running.

These photos by Joe Skibinski of Indycar sum up the day. Race cars and dark clouds

Grosjean needs two more laps at 215 mph or better, while Johnson needs about five laps.

Johnson had a bit of an advantage as he remains with his Chip Ganassi Racing team. Grosjean not only had the stress of his first time driving on the IMS oval, but also the concerns of his first day with a new team. It was his first day as a driver for Andretti Autosport.

Romain Grosjean photo by Chris Owens, Indycar

Asked about the stress, Grosjean said,

“I think really the most stressful part was to know what my first lap speed was going to be. You grow up or move from there. I had no idea what to expect to get to 205. Then it went pretty smoothly, enjoyed
it. When you have to go above 215, that’s where the fun starts. ”

Grosjean felt at ease with the support he received

“I got some good explanation, some good tip from the guys, from the engineers also, James Hinchcliffe came in the morning, which I appreciated a lot. Michael was there, as well. When you’ve got those guys, they know what they’re talking about, so that was great to
be with them and to know what to do.”

Jimmie Johnson photo by Chris Owens Indycar

Johnson fuflilled a childhood dream by running the oval in an Indycar.

“… just a special day to drive an INDYCAR at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. I have truly, truly enjoyed it. It was a childhood dream come true. The experience is more than expected and something that I really, really enjoyed.”

He said today has heightened his interest in driving in the 500.

“(My interest) Definitely, definitely increased. I think
the look I had at Texas increased it and brought me here.
A little short on laps for what I wanted to experience today.
As comfortable as I felt my interest is at the highest it’s
been, certainly my comfort is at the highest it’s been. All
that said, there’s still a lot of work between now and really
pulling through with this opportunity.”

In an interview just after the day ended, Johnson’s face lit up when he was asked if today made him want to run the 500. While he admitted there is “still a lot of work to do” for him to be able to run in May, he seems determined to make it happen.

It was an exciting day to see two veteran drivers turn their first Indycar laps on an oval. For Grosjean, it was just the second time he had seen open wheel cars on the oval. Johnson, who has won at IMS four times in NASCAR on the oval, I enjoyed watching him run in a different type of car.

The rookie class for the 106th running of the Indianapolis 500 could be very deep in talent and numbers. In addition to Grosjean and Johnson, there could be up to four drivers from this year’s Indy Lights Series, plus maybe a current NASCAR driver.

Update from IMS- Rain Delays Rookie Tests

A damp morning pushed back the start of on track activity by 10 minutes this morning. Jimmie Johnson left thepits first Romain Grosjean followed. Both drivers did an installation lap and returned to the pits. Johnson left to begin Phase 1 of his roomie test. Grosjean started out, but the yellow light came on for moisture at the south end of the track.

Johnson had completed five laps with a top speed of 208 mph.

Track drying efforts halted after a soaking rain hit the track.

Track drying has just resumed. More rain may arrive around 3:30.

Here are some photos from this morning.

Johnson, Grosjean Take Next Step in Indycar Careers

Photo: Romain Grosjean set for his new team.

Jimmie Johnson and Romain Grosjean hope to complete Rookie Oientation tests at Indianapolis Motor Speedway today in preparation for their Indianapolis 500 debuts next May.

Jimmie Johnson. Indycar photo by Chris Jones

Johnson did not run any ovals in 2021, while Grosjean ran one, At World Wide Technology Raceway. Grosjean did a great job on his initial oval run.

Today’s activity begins at 10:30 am. ROP was originally scheduled to begin at noon, but was moved up because of a chance of rain this afternoon. The Turn 2 viewing mounds are open. There is no streaming of the tests.

Each car gets three sets of tires for the three phase test.

Phase 1- 10 laps 205-210 mph

Phase 2- 15 laps at 210-215 mph

Phase 3- 15 laps at at 215 + mph.

It will be hard to get used to seeing the 28 car with someone other than Ryan Hunter-Reay in it.

Road to Indy Final Day Saw Title Hopes Slip Slidin’ Away

Photo: Will Kyle Kirkwood find an Indycar ride for 2022?

David Malukas slim title hopes for the Indy Lights championship got a bit more life as he won the pole for Sunday’s final race of the season at Mid Ohio. The pole was only one of three things that needed to happen for him to take the crown from Kyle Kirkwood.

At turn 1 after the start, however, it was all over as Malukas overshot the turn and was in last place by turn 4. All Kirkwood had to do was finish the race in virtually any position. Kirkwood finished fifth.

Give Malukas credit. he did not give up. He worked his way through the field on a very slippery track to finish second. Kirkwood won the title by 13 points. Malukas had one of the best Road to Indy drives i have ever seen. it was right up there with Spencer Pigot at Sonoma, who was spun out on the first lap and came from last place to finish fifth, which is where he needed to be to win the championship. Linus Lundqvist won the race, and was third in the season standings. Lujndqvist and Malukas both plan to drive in Indycar in 2022.

Kyle Kirkwood

Kyle Kirkwood is the first driver to win the title on all three levels of the Road to Indy. In a twist of irony, he accomplished that feat on the day he lost a race at Mid Ohio for the first time. Kirkwood had won seven straight open wheel races at this track.

In a normal year, we would definitely see Kirkwood in Indycar next year, but where he drives next year is uncertain. I will have more about that later this week.

USF 2000- Running Out the Clock

Going first can have its disadvantages, and the USF 2000 Series had the worst race and qualifying conditions of the day. Qualifying was abandoned after the time time period ran out. The number of slideoffs and red flags didn’t allow for the guaranteed 20 minutes of green flag running. The grid was set using Saturday’s second fastest qualifying laps.

On lap 1 Josh green got past pole sitter Michael D’Orlando in turn 4 to take the lead. Green kept the position as numerous spins caused the race to run under caution most of the time. The race ended as the time limit expired.

Kiko Porto, Banco Daycoval/Petromega, DEForce Racing, Victory Lane Championship winner

Kiko Porto, the season champion, finished third. Porto will move to Indy Pro 2000 in 2022. It’s nice to see another brazilian driver moving up the ladder.

Indy Pro 2000- Improved Conditions Lead to Best Race of the Day

The final race of the day saw bits of sunshine on a rapidly improving track. It still wasn’t perfect, but the racing was the best of the day. Three lead changes among three driver made for a good event. James Roe won the race for his first victory of the year. He edged Emaan Ahmed by 0.1412 seconds at the line.

Christian Rasmussen claimed the season title just by starting the race. he will be a force in Indy Lights next year.

Christian Rasmussen

Grosjean, Johnson Take IMS Rookie Tests Wednesday

From Indianapolis Motor Speedway:

Indianapolis Motor Speedway & NTT INDYCAR SERIES
Grosjean, Johnson To Take Indy 500 Rookie Test Wednesday at IMS


Grosjean and Johnson, both series rookies in the 2021 season, will attempt to complete the test that involves a series of laps at three controlled speed phases on the 2.5-mile oval. The Rookie Orientation Program is a prerequisite for participation in the 106th Indianapolis 500 presented by Gainbridge on Sunday, May 29, 2022.
Former Formula One standout Grosjean plans to compete in “The Greatest Spectacle in Racing” in the No. 28 DHL Honda fielded by Andretti Autosport, while seven-time NASCAR Cup Series champion Johnson is exploring possible participation in the race in the No. 48 Honda fielded by Chip Ganassi Racing.

Note

I understand that fans may view the tests from the turn 2 viewing mounds.

Wet Qualifying, Dry Races

I woke up to an improved forecast this morning which shows any rain should be gone before 10 am. Some qualifying might be affected, but the races should be dry.

From last night:

Points Leaders On the Verge of Road to Indy Titles

Today’s Schedule:

SUNDAY, OCTOBER 3, 2021
6:30 AM – 3:00 PM TECH OPEN – USF2000 & INDY PRO 2000 (CLOSED FROM 12:00 PM -1:00 PM)
7:00 AM – 1:30 PM TECH OPEN – INDY LIGHTS
7:30 AM – 1:00 PM CREDENTIALS OPEN – MAIN GATE
8:00 AM – 8:30 AM USF2000 QUALIFYING 2 (20 MIN GREEN IN 30 MIN WINDOW)
8:45 AM – 9:15 AM INDY LIGHTS QUALIFYING 2
9:30 AM – 10:00 AM INDY PRO 2000 QUALIFYING 2 (20 MIN GREEN IN 30 MIN WINDOW)
10:15 AM – 10:40 AM SBRS QUALIFYING 2
11:00 AM – 11:40 AM USF2000 RACE 2
12:00 PM – 12:50 PM INDY LIGHTS RACE 2
1:10 PM – 2:00 PM INDY PRO 2000 RACE 2
2:15 PM – 2:40 PM SBRS RACE 2

The Road to Indy tv app will have the action live today.