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Jack Harvey set for Indy 500 debut with Andretti Autosport

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LONG BEACH, Calif. – After more than a year out of the cockpit, Indy Lights presented by Cooper Tires veteran Jack Harvey will make his Verizon IndyCar Series debut in one of the best seats on the grid.

Harvey has been confirmed with Andretti Autosport to drive its fifth Honda-powered entry for this year’s 101st Indianapolis 500 presented by PennGrade Motor Oil, alongside the team’s full-season quartet of defending Indianapolis 500 champion Alexander Rossi, 2014 winner Ryan Hunter-Reay, Marco Andretti and Takuma Sato.

He’ll be in the No. 50 Honda with support from AutoNation, a longtime Andretti Autosport partner.

“The Indy 500 is easily the biggest race I have entered in my career so far,” Harvey said in a release. “It is one of the most iconic races in the world and I feel extremely privileged to be taking part in it. To have the opportunity to do this with one of the best teams on the grid – a team that has won two of the last three races there – is more than I could have dreamed of.

“We have been working incredibly hard over the last 18 months to make this happen and it’s hard to put into words what this means to me.  I want to thank the whole Andretti Autosport team for this opportunity.  I also want to thank everyone that has supported me over my racing career; especially my family, friends and my manager. Finally, this wouldn’t be possible without the support of AutoNation, so I am very grateful for them helping me put this together.”

“AutoNation is excited to build on our partnership with Andretti Autosport through the sponsorship of Jack Harvey,” added AutoNation CMO and EVP Marc Cannon. “Jack is a talented driver who will be joining AutoNation in the fight against cancer by supporting our Drive Pink initiative. By racing the No. 50 car, Jack is celebrating the 50 million customers AutoNation has serviced over the last 20 years, who show their encouragement through their Pink Plates to benefit breast cancer research. The entire AutoNation team will be rooting for Jack Harvey and Ryan Hunter-Reay on race day.”

He won the 2015 Freedom 100 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, thus far his career highlight after coming up short of winning the Indy Lights titles in both 2014 and 2015 in challenging, heartbreaking fashion.

Harvey has had multiple tests with Schmidt Peterson Motorsports in IndyCar over the last couple years on road courses. He has served as a driver coach with SPM in Indy Lights and additionally serves as Neil Alberico’s coach this year, for the Rising Star Racing-supported driver at Carlin.

Ferrari teammates Vettel and Raikkonen fastest in rainy final practice at Australian GP

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MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) — Ferrari drivers Sebastian Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen went one-two in the final practice session ahead of qualifying at the water-logged Australian Grand Prix on Saturday.

Vettel set a best-lap time of 1 minute, 26.067 seconds, more than 2.4 seconds faster than his teammate in second.

Both Ferrari drivers switched from their intermediate tires to the super-fast, ultra-soft tires for the final few laps of the session, testing conditions on the track after a day-long downpour left it slick and filled with small puddles.

Mercedes drivers Valtteri Bottas and Lewis Hamilton did not opt to try out their soft tires, sticking to the intermediates for the entire session. They had the seventh- and eighth-fastest times, after topping the leaderboard in practice in dry conditions on Friday.

The heavy rains subsided by early afternoon, allowing the track to rapidly dry during the third practice session and making conditions safe for drivers to test their soft tires.

Still, only a few drivers completed a timed lap with the softer compounds, with Mercedes, Red Bull and most of the others staying with their intermediates.

Sauber’s Marcus Ericsson had the third-fastest time of the session on ultrasoft tires, followed by Red Bull’s Max Verstappen on intermediates.

Hamilton remains the favorite to capture his fifth straight pole position at the Australian Grand Prix in qualifying later Saturday. He had the fastest laps on ultrasoft tires in the two practice sessions on Friday, though Verstappen was right behind him.

Verstappen and Vettel both slid on the slick track early in the third practice session, but maintained control and completed their runs without incident.

Verstappen’s teammate, Daniel Ricciardo, had the sixth-fastest time of the session. The Australian’s chances of winning his fifth career Grand Prix on his home track in Melbourne took a hit late Friday when he was assessed a three-place grid penalty for Sunday’s race.

The Australian driver was penalized for driving too fast under red-flag conditions during Friday’s second practice session because of debris on the track.