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Jack Harvey still chasing full-time IndyCar seat

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BIRMINGHAM – 2014 and 2015 Indy Lights runner-up Jack Harvey is working on securing a drive with either Dale Coyne Racing or Bryan Herta Autosport for the 2016 Verizon IndyCar Series season.

Harvey lost the 2014 Indy Lights title on a tiebreak to Gabby Chaves before being edged out by Spencer Pigot in 2015, narrowly missing out on an assured place in IndyCar on both occasions.

Speaking to MotorSportsTalk on Friday at Autosport International in Birmingham, England, Harvey confirmed that he is working hard to secure a place on the IndyCar grid for 2016 with either Dale Coyne Racing or Bryan Herta Autosport, and has one particularly in mind.

“You can look through the grid and realize who’s not signed drivers yet,” Harvey said.

“I’ve had conversations with Dale and I get on really well with Bryan. He’s been a great guy who’s helping me talk to some of my sponsors.

“We’re hopeful that something could happen with one of them. I know where I would like to end up. I’d like to be on the IndyCar grid, that’s the priority.

“But if I could do it with one guy in particular that would be very good.”

Ironically, Chaves drove for Herta this past season and won both Indianapolis 500 and season-long rookie-of-the-year honors. While Chaves has been reportedly close to continuing for months, it’s understood nothing is finalized for him to continue in a second year just yet.

Harvey had been close to moving up within Schmidt Peterson Motorsports to race alongside the returning James Hinchcliffe in 2016, only for Russian racer Mikhail Aleshin to secure the seat.

“I thought we were looking quite good for the seat,” Harvey said. “Then I got a call from Sam and some of the team members like ‘hey… you know, Mikhail’s talking to us’ and I knew he had been, but it seemed like his conversations seemed to pick up.

“I was like… ‘OK, well, what do I need to do?’ I think it had already not necessarily slipped away because we were still talking to them and trying to agree the budget.

“I think Mikhail came in with a sizeable amount more than we did, but I had a great two years with everyone at Schmidt Peterson Motorsports.”

Should an IndyCar seat fail to materialize for 2016, Harvey would be open to moving into either the FIA World Endurance Championship or IMSA in the short term.

“If we can’t get a drive, then I think the next best thing would be WEC, obviously,” Harvey said. “Le Mans would be great to do, or something in IMSA because I’ve really enjoyed America and I’d like to continue racing out there.

“The beauty is that if I can’t get into IndyCar then all three of those programmes could run parallel together. Definitely options, a couple of things we could exercise quite quickly if I needed to.

“Even if I did take a year in WEC or sports cars, I’d be quickly looking to step back in [to IndyCar]. We’ll take the opportunities we get as they arrive and hopefully make the most of it.”

Steve Torrence takes NHRA points lead with Gatornationals victory

NHRA Gainesville Steve Torrence
Jeff Robinson/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images
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GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Two-time defending NHRA Top Fuel champion Steve Torrence took the points lead Sunday in the AMALIE Motor Oil Gatornationals, beating his father, Billy, in the final round at Gainesville Raceway.

Torrence had a 3.809-second run at 322.11 mph to win for the third time this year and 39th overall. He is now on track for another championship despite missing the season opener.

“We’ve got some good momentum and to be in the points lead, it’s a testament to how hard these guys work,” Steve Torrence said after the NHRA Gainesville victory. “We’ve just got to stay focused and concentrate on what the task at hand is, and that’s trying to win a championship. These guys give me an unbelievable race car and you just try not to screw it up.”

Ron Capps won in Funny Car, Alex Laughlin in Pro Stock and Matt Smith in Pro Stock Motorcycle.

Capps raced to his second win this year and 66th overall, beating Tim Wilkerson with a 3.937 at 323.12 in a Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat.

Laughlin topped Aaron Stanfield with a 7.068 at 204.76 in a Chevrolet Camaro for his first win this season and fourth in his career. Smith rode to his first victory in 2020 and 25th overall, topping Andrew Hines with a 6.843 at 196.99 on an EBR.