Photo: Indianapolis Motor Speedway, LLC Photography

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.

F1 2017 driver review: Lance Stroll

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Team: Williams

Car No.: 18
Races: 20
Wins: 0
Podiums: 1
Best Finish: P3 (Azerbaijan)
Pole Positions: 0
Fastest Laps: 0
Points: 40
Championship Position: 13th

Lance Stroll’s arrival in Formula 1 at the start of the 2017 was a far from smooth one despite a significant private testing program being undertaken in the months leading up to his grand prix debut.

Even with older hand Felipe Massa at Williams, Stroll looked uneasy behind the wheel of the FW40 car through the opening run of races as he failed to reach the checkered flag in any of his first three starts.

The Canadian was left deflated after his first decent effort in Bahrain was cut short after a clash with Carlos Sainz Jr., calling it his “rock bottom” moment – but things would turn around on home soil.

Stroll produced a stunning fight through the field to take an excellent P9 in Canada, proving his talent seen in Formula 3 the previous year and shushing many of his critics.

Better would follow two weeks later in Baku when Stroll became the youngest rookie in F1 history to score a podium, dodging a crazy race to finish third. It would have been second had he not lost a drag race against Valtteri Bottas to the line.

Stroll’s form then fluctuated greatly. He was sublime on occasion, the best examples being Monza, when he started a remarkable P2 on the grid and ended as the top midfielder in P7, or Mexico where he took a brilliant sixth.

But there were too many weekends he was a little anonymous. Sure, Williams didn’t have the best car this year, but perhaps a little better was expected from Stroll.

2018 will be an even bigger challenge as he looks to the lead the team when a new teammate arrives – and at only 19, it is a lot to handle. Nevertheless, there are positive signs to be found; you just need to look for them a little.

Season High: Taking a shock podium in Baku after dodging chaos in front.

Season Low: A poor opening two races in Australia and China.