IndyCar: Jack Harvey looks to get head start on 2019 with strong finishes in last two races

IndyCar
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While the rest of the IndyCar world is on the verge of wrapping up the 2018 season, Jack Harvey is just getting started.

Harvey will compete in his fifth and sixth races of the season – this weekend at Portland (Oregon) International Raceway, and two weeks later for the season finale at Sonoma Raceway north of San Francisco.

But he’s not looking at it as the end to the 2018 season. Rather, the 25-year-old driver from Bassingham, England, is hoping to do well in the final two races and use them to build momentum for Meyer Shank Racing going forward into 2019.

“Absolutely,” Harvey told NBC Sports. “There’s a certain dynamic between certain types of people, those that aren’t going to win the championship and know they’re okay for next year, you’ve got the people trying to win the championship and then you have people like me who are fighting to stay in a drive or expand a program like now.

“The nice thing for us with these two races back-to-back is hopefully we can build some momentum at Portland and have a good result, and then jump straight into Sonoma. That’s been the hard thing this year, every time we start to build a little bit of momentum and some good rhythm, then we stop with the car for a decent amount of time, where everybody else is either getting rhythm or learning more or just executing well themselves.”

There’s a lot riding on the line for the the first-year Meyer Shank team — which is partners with the veteran Schmidt Peterson Motorsports organization — at Portland and Sonoma.

First, it obviously wants to earn the two best finishes of the season and go into the offseason with momentum in hand. In the four races he’s competed in thus far, Harvey has finished 12th at Long Beach, 16th in the Indy 500, 20th at Mid-Ohio and 23rd in the season opener at St. Petersburg, Florida.

“I think the nice thing for us right now – and this is the goal – is to go out and make sure Portland and Sonoma are our best results of the year because then it does give us some momentum for the off-season,” Harvey said.

Second, the team hopes to increase the number of races it runs in 2019 to 10, perhaps even 12. Strong finishes in the last two races could potentially help attract additional sponsorship that could directly impact how many more races it can compete in.

“It gives us a stronger case to go back to some of our partners and go, ‘hey, the races that were closer together, this is what we achieved and this is what we think we can achieve in a whole season,” Harvey said. “Let’s try to get closer to that.

“If we have a good Portland and Sonoma, that makes our case just a little bit stronger.”

While Harvey and the No. 60 team have their own goals and gameplan in mind heading into this weekend at Portland, one thing they don’t want to do is impact the IndyCar championship battle between Scott Dixon, Alexander Rossi, Will Power and defending Verizon IndyCar Series champion Josef Newgarden.

“I’ve been conscious of that, even back at Mid-Ohio,” Harvey said. “You don’t want to do anything that’s going to swing it one way or other. We just want to go about our day the best way we can, frankly.

“Now, if it just happens we beat someone who didn’t get the points they needed, that’s different. We don’t want to be the person that gets in any silly tangles at the start of any races or any penalties for blocking.

“Honestly, if something is going on on-track, I’m not just going to let people push me around. But like at Mid-Ohio at one point, we were a lap down and I wasn’t fighting for anything, and at that point I moved out of the way (of potential championship contenders).

“If we’re talking about racing hard and there’s an opportunity for us to get on the podium, but it’s a championship contender, if the opportunity is there to overtake them cleanly without any problems, we’re absolutely going to go for it. If it’s 50-50 on the last lap, we don’t want to be ‘that guy’ (that could cost one or more of the four remaining championship-eligible drivers valuable points).”

Speaking of the championship, Harvey was asked who he thinks will take the 2018 title.

“Alexander Rossi has had some momentum with him this year,” he said. “Honestly, he’s had it since St. Pete. He’s been one of those guys every weekend who looks like he can win, which is incredibly difficult to do in a series like this.

“And then you’ve got the Ice Man (Scott Dixon). He’s absolutely named so. It’s hard to write him off. People regard him as one of the best ever.

“So, I think it’s an interesting dynamic you’ve got, momentum and desire for never having won a championship is with Alexander, but I know Scott and I know how badly he wants to keep winning. Plus he’s had the experience and has been there and done it. You have people coming at it from different sides. I don’t know who you’d put your money on but I think it’s interesting the way the season is shaping up.”

And even though they’re 68 and 78 points behind Dixon, respectively, don’t count out Power and Newgarden.

“I think right now, it’s been spoken about that it’s a two-horse race between Alexander and Scott,” Harvey said. “But I’ve seen IndyCar massively shift in the last few races.

“If you’re mathematically still with a chance within a reason, you absolutely have a chance. I think it’ll be really interesting to see what happens in Portland and Sonoma.”

As for what Harvey wants? “We’re going to go and do the best we can. And if we hit our goals and objectives, then happy days!”

Follow @JerryBonkowski

Eli Tomac wins Houston Supercross: Hunter Lawrence takes early 250 East lead

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With his 47th career victory and third of the 2023 season in Houston, Eli Tomac closed to within one win of tying Ricky Carmichael for third on the all-time Monster Energy Supercross list.

Tomac rebounded from last week’s crash by earning the holeshot in both his heat and the Main. At the start of the big show, he couldn’t shake Aaron Plessinger in the first four minutes and actually was in the process of losing the lead as a red flag waved for a crash involving Tomac’s teammate Dylan Ferrandis when he overjumped an obstacle and landed on Ken Roczen’s back fender as they raced for eighth.

“That was a tough race,” Tomac told NBC Sports’ Will Christien, referencing his loss to Chase Sexton in the heat. “And honestly, I was just beat down after that heat race and was searching quite a bit and was basically losing speed everywhere. I just rode better, straight up in the Main. I felt better.”

In their heat, Sexton passed Tomac at the two-minute mark and then simply rode away from the field. At the end, he had an almost eight-second gap on Tomac.

“It wasn’t great by any means,” Sexton told Jason Thomas. “I feel like the strengths I had all day, I really lagged in the Main event between the whoop and the sand section. I think I could have walked through it faster. It was still a good ride; it wasn’t great. I expected after the heat race he would be fired up.”

RESULTS: How they finished for the 450 Main in Anaheim 2

Jason Anderson scored his second consecutive pole, but he was not happy to finish third behind the two points’ leaders.

“We should be thankful every time we get to be up here,” Anderson said. “They’re making it tough on me, but all I can do is give my best.”

Tomac had to withstand a red flag and the distant second place finish in his heat to win the Houston Supercross race. In the post-race conference, he indicated that he did not make any changes to the bike and simply rode better.

Aaron Plessinger and Cooper Webb rounded out the top five.

Ferrandis was fitted with a neck brace, but still able to walk to the medical cart. He was still being evaluated by the medical staff as the night came to a close.


In 250s Hunter Lawrence entered the 250 East opener as the consensus favorite to win the championship this year with Christian Craig making the move into 450s and his brother Jett Lawrence in the West division. He answered quickly with a huge lead in Heat 1, but it almost went awry in the Main.

Lawrence got a good start, but he was passed early in the race by two-time MXGP champion (2020, 2022) Tom Vialle, who was making his Supercross debut this week. Vialle passed Lawrence on the first lap. When Lawrence tried to pass him back, Vialle scrubbed speed off a jump and pushed Lawrence wide, over the Tuff Blox.

Championships are made out of Lawrence’s response. He kept his composure and did not overcorrect before methodically working his way to the front.

“We had a little off track excursion. I wasn’t sure how hard across Tom was coming so I thought I’ll just go left, but then saw that was the side of the track. Thankfully I didn’t hit the Tuff Blox and got back on track safely. … Good start; put myself in position.”

Click here for full 250 East Main Results

Making a move from the 450 class to 250s, Max Anstie had immediate success. He finished second in his heat behind Jordon Smith and lined up with a great gate pick. He had to overtake Vialle in the opening laps and lost ground on Lawrence, that cost enough time to keep him from pressing Lawrence. This is Anstie’s first podium in the United States

“Honestly, I’ve dreamed of this for a long time to come up on these steps and man it’s a great feeling. I’ve really enjoyed the day and being on this 250, I feel like an 18-year-old kid. Everyday I’m learning.”

Smith backed up his heat win with a podium finish.

“It feels good to be back up here again,” Smith said. “It’s been a long time; a lot of injuries.”

Haiden Deegan proved the hype surrounding his debut in the 250 class was not unfounded. He finished fourth in his heat to advance to directly into the Main. During the early laps, he was circling the track in a podium position until a minor mistake sent him off the box. In the closing laps, he narrowly made an aggressive pass on Jeremy Martin and narrowly missed the podium with a fourth-place finish.

Martin held on to round out the top five.

Vialle was running in a podium position when went down with a 1:30 left on the clock. He ended his night seventh.

Chance Hymas was also making his 250 debut and scored a top-10 in eighth.

2023 Race Recaps

Anaheim 2: Triple Crown produces new winners Chase Sexton, Levi Kitchen
San Diego: Eli Tomac, Jett Lawrence double down
Anaheim 1: Tomac wins opener for the first time

Houston coverage

Houston by the numbers
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