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.”

Houston Supercross by the numbers: Five riders begin to gap the field

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Chase Sexton stumbled in San Diego and Eli Tomac had a hard fall in Anaheim 2, but the Monster Energy Supercross numbers for Houston suggest they will continue to be the ones to beat in Houston. To do so, they will have to turn back challenges from another pair of riders who have swept the top five in the first three rounds and another with a worst finish of sixth.

Houston Supercross numbers
Cooper Webb’s ability to close races makes him a Houston favorite. – Feld Motor Sports

Despite an accident in his heat in San Diego that sent him to the Last Chance Qualifier (LCQ), Sexton recovered to score a top-five that weekend. His podium finish in Anaheim 1 and overall win last week in Anaheim 2 makes him one of the three riders with a perfect top-five record. He is joined by Cooper Webb, who finished second in the first two rounds and fourth last week, and Ken Roczen, whose consistency in the first three races contributed to him grabbing the top spot in this week’s NBC Supercross Power Rankings.

There are reasons to believe Webb and Roczen can keep those streaks alive.

Webb is the only multiple winner at Supercross’ current Houston stadium. His pair of wins came in 2019 and 2021, the same year he won his two 450 championships.

Clinton Fowler points out this week, that Webb has carried that strength into 2023. Webb had a late surge in Anaheim 1, advancing from fifth to second in the final six laps. In San Diego, he set his ninth fastest lap with two to go and his eighth fastest on the final lap. He posted his fastest lap of Anaheim 2 on Lap 12 while the rest of the field did so on Lap 6 on average.

By comparison, Tomac set his 14th fastest lap on the final circuit in route to winning the Main at San Diego while he was trying to keep Webb at bay.

With a sixth at San Diego, Dylan Ferrandis barely missed sweeping the top five in his first three races as did Tomac with a sixth last week at Anaheim 2.

This will be the 46th year Supercross has visited Houston and with 55 races the city is tied for the second-most with Detroit.

Jim Pomeroy won the first race in the Astrodome during the inaugural season of 1974 on a 250, which was the premiere class at the time. Houston was one of three races held that year along with events at Daytona International Speedway and the Los Angeles Coliseum. All three venues return in 2023 with the first SuperMotocross championship finale returning to the famed LA Coliseum in September.

Webb won most recently in 2021 in the final race of three held there that year as the series executed a strategy of racing in residencies to limit travel during height of the COVID-19 pandemic. Tomac and Justin Barcia also won in Houston in 2021.

Two privateers have started the season on a high note.

Joshua Cartwright and Joshua Varize have each made the last two Mains. Cartwright finished 18th in San Diego and 21st last week in Anaheim 2 – all while working fulltime as a Business Intelligence Analyst at the University of Texas, Dallas. Varize earned a top-15 (12th) in San Diego and was 21st in Anaheim 2 in his third season on a 450.

Michael Mosiman scored his first 250 win last year in San Diego. – Feld Motor Sports

The numbers show none of the active 250 Supercross East riders have won in Houston, so no matter who steps on top of the box, there is going to be a fresh face. That is not surprising since most of the top competitors have not raced at this venue yet.

Michael Mosiman has a pair of top-fives there, however. His best finish was a second in the second 2021 race. Garrett Marchbanks scored a top-10 in his rookie season of 2019 in Houston.

In the 250 East division, Hunter Lawrence is one of the favorites to win the title now that Christian Craig has moved to 450s. Last year he had four wins and nine podiums, but failed to set a fast lap in a race.

The other 250 riders with 2022 wins this week are Mosiman, who earned his first Supercross win last year in San Diego, and Nate Thrasher, who became the fifth new class winner at Daytona.

Jeremy Martin will attempt to extend a record this week in Houston. His division leading SuperMotocross podiums number 65. He has 26 wins in the combined sessions, which ranks fourth all time.

Last Five Houston Winners

450s
2022, no race
2021, Race 3: Cooper Webb
2021, Race 2: Eli Tomac
2021, Race 1: Justin Barcia
2020, no race
2019, Cooper Webb
2018, Jason Anderson

250s
2022, no race
2021, Race 3: Colt Nichols
2021, Race 2: Jett Lawrence
2021, Race 1: Christian Craig
2020, no race
2019, Dylan Ferrandis
2018, Aaron Plessinger

By the Numbers

Anaheim 2
San Diego

More SuperMotocross coverage

Supercross unveils 16th edition of a Ricky Carmichael designed Daytona track
Power Rankings after week 3
Malcom Stewart out for “extended duration” after knee surgery
Haiden Deegan makes Supercross debut in Houston, Justin Cooper to 450s
Talon Hawkins set to relieve injured Jalek Swoll in Houston
Jalek Swoll out for an indefinite period with broken arm
Ken Roczen urgently needed a change
Chris Blose joins Pro Circuit Kawasaki in 250 East opener
Seth Hammaker to miss Houston with wrist injury
Jo Shimoda joins Seth Hammaker, Austin Forkner on injured list
Injury sidelines Austin Forkner for remainder of 2023 SX
Chase Sexton wins Anaheim 2 in 450s; Levi Kitchen takes 250s
Results and points from Anaheim 2