IndyCar

IndyCar: Jack Harvey debuts clever new series ‘You Don’t Know Jack’

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There’s nothing wrong with self-promotion in motorsports, particularly if it brings greater awareness of and fan interest to a certain driver.

And the more creative the self-promotion, the more attention the driver hopes he will get from fans and media.

Such is the case with IndyCar driver Jack Harvey, who this past week debuted a new mini-series of sorts about himself as a driver, his personality and interests, and behind-the-scenes scenarios of his team, Meyer Shank Racing with Schmidt Peterson Motorsports.

Harvey is quickly becoming a fan favorite in IndyCar.

The new monthly get-to-know-me series of videos is cleverly dubbed, “You Don’t Know Jack.”

The goal of the videos is ultimately to get you to know a lot about Jack. The plan is to have a new video released on the third Thursday of every month throughout the off-season and into the 2019 season.

Harvey competed in six races for the Meyer Shank operation in 2018, with a top finish of 12th at Long Beach. He also was in contention for the Indianapolis 500 before falling back late in the race to a 16th-place showing.

But really, who is Jack Harvey? That’s where “You Don’t Know Jack” comes in. With Harvey and MSR set to do as many as 10 races next season – up from six in 2018 – and potentially a full-time effort in 2020, he’s hoping to attract more fans and interest to his team and himself.

Here’s the first video, followed by a Q&A with the 25-year-old Bassingham, England native on his thoughts behind the series.

Q) How did “You Don’t Know Jack” come about?

Harvey: It’s something my dad and I had been talking about for a while, like a website feature. It’s always been one of those things that has been on the back-burner, but we wanted to put something out there where people might not know or have easy access to – and give people a different insight – but it just never really happened.

But this year, our following is growing and it seems like people are always commenting or saying something might be a cool idea, or they’d like to learn more about something that we can’t always say. I thought that was a great idea, kind of like our old website idea. It kind of spiraled from there and into this. We kind of wanted something that would be funny and people would take it light-heartedly, but also informative and give people insight into what I have to do, what I want to do, all the people we work with, people you see at the track and don’t see at the track, the unsung heroes.

Q) The first video is very well done. It was the perfect balance of light-heartedness as well as informative-ness.

Harvey: That’s what we’re trying to strike. Some episodes may have a slightly heavier feel to them, but honestly, we just wanted to hopefully get a bit of traction, people might share it and retweet it. We felt that if we could just get it out there, hopefully it will go very well. It’s meant to be consistent every month, the third Thursday of every month. It’s one of those things where you want your personality to come through a little bit, and also know there’s a serious side to it. I was thrilled when I saw what was put together for Episode 1.

Harvey prepares for the 2018 Indianapolis 500

Q) How many episodes do you plan on doing? Will this just be during the off-season or will it continue into the season?

Harvey: Honestly, this is sort of a thing that we’d like to do every month (including into next season). With the (2018) season now finished, we don’t want to spank people with just rubbishing their time. We want to make sure we have something that’s worth looking at and it’s worth everyone’s time and the investment into to hope it goes well. Certainly, the goal is just to get the first video up and running. And we’re excited about the next one that will come out next month, and a different video every month after that. That kind of combination, if they start to fall the right way and get the traction we’d like to see, people will look at it.

It covers a lot of ground. It allows people to get inside the team and me, and also allows us to give back a little bit to our sponsors, to publicly acknowledge the support we get from them. It gives insight for people into me as a person. One of the things we might do in an upcoming episode is to do a shop tour of Meyer Shank Racing, as well as Schmidt Peterson Motorsports, to show both of our teams. People don’t always know those things, they don’t always see it.

So we may have someone follow me around the race weekend and see from when I get up in the morning until I go to sleep. Another one might be what I do across an average week. I mean, I like to go to the movies. Maybe we could have a section on that.

I’d like to give them more than just what we do at the track. I’d also like to maybe do something on my fitness trainers and the importance of training, or some of the things our sponsors are doing because some of those things are pretty cool.

Q) Any other clever ideas on the horizon?

Another idea may be, my manager bought me a guitar for my birthday this year. He said I have too much free time on my hands, especially during the off-season. So one of the things we might do in an episode is, ‘Jack learns how to play guitar.’

Q) Given Will Power plays drums and Mikhail Aleshin (sat out this past IndyCar season) plays guitar, maybe you guys could form a band? 

Who knows, Will could play drums, Mikhail could play guitar, I could play bass because it’s easier to play than guitar, and then all we’d need is a singer. So if you know anybody, let me know. I’m not a very good singer (he said with a laugh). I feel like Josef (Newgarden) should be the singer because he just has that look (another laugh).

But given Will was singing the Red Hot Chili Peppers and did part of a rap song at Sonoma, maybe we can have him on drums and lead vocals. That would be awesome.

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Graham Rahal’s ‘Weighty Issue’

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MONTEREY, California – Graham Rahal admits that he can’t wait until the day he doesn’t have to worry about his weight. Being a 6-foot-2, big-boned individual can have its advantages, but not when it comes to fitting into an IndyCar.

That is why the son of 1986 Indianapolis 500 winner and three-time CART IndyCar champion Bobby Rahal has begun a body shaping therapy known as “Sculpting” that uses lasers to trim away body fat.

“Honestly, it is no secret, I’m not shy about this, that I’ve struggled with my weight,” the 201-pound Rahal told a group of reporters during INDYCAR’s Open Test at Laguna Seca on Thursday. “I can guarantee you that from a strength perspective and a stamina perspective, there’s very few guys out here that can keep up with me. I’m just not a super skinny build. It’s never been my thing.

“I’ve tried. We’ve kind of looked around. There was some mutual interest from them to look into trying this, see if it works. I’ll be honest. I was always very skeptical of the stuff. Where I’m at, I’ve done one treatment. I can’t even tell you today if it’s something that really works or not.”

That led Rahal to try out the sculpting process that was invented by a doctor who found it with swelling in kid’s cheeks. The “Sculpture” process uses a laser that kills the fatty cells.

“It takes a long time, I think,” Rahal said. “It’s going to take multiple I think to get there.”

Watch Sunday’s Firestone Grand Prix of Monterey on NBC at 3 p.m.

A race driver needs to be thin, yet very strong to have the physical strength and stamina to compete at a high level in the race car. When it comes to the NTT IndyCar Series, it’s even more important because of the size of the cars and tight cockpit.

Additionally, the extra weight can impact the performance of the race car. The lighter the driver, the less weight inside of the car. In INDYCAR, drivers are weighed and for the lighter drivers, lead weight is added to the car to meet a requirement.

But in Rahal’s case, the lead weight ballast has to be reduced and that sometimes throws off the center of gravity in the car.

“The facts are it’s not going to work if you don’t work out, too, and eat well,” Rahal said. “It doesn’t do anything. But earlier this year, man, I had given up drinking completely for three, four months. I was working out every day, twice a day on most occasions. I went to a nutritionist, doing everything. I literally was not losing an ounce. It was the most frustrating period of time for me.

“I am the biggest guy here. Is it ever going to be equal for me? No matter what these guys talk about with driver ballast, it’s a whole different thing, where my center of gravity is.”

That is what led the 30-year-old driver from Ohio to study the “Sculpting” procedure. He realizes he is never going to have the metabolism of some of the thinner drivers, but he needs to maintain a weight that minimizes his disadvantage.

“It is a challenge,” he admitted. “Ricky Taylor and Helio Castroneves (on Penske Team Acura in IMSA) weigh 60 pounds less than me or something. There is no ballast there. That’s a big swing, a lot of weight to be carrying around.

“We have to try anything we can. If you’re going to be serious, try to find the performance advantage and the edge, you’ve got to look outside of the box.

“It is something new for me. But the fight I guess against being an ultra-skinny guy.

“I fly home with most of these guys after races, I see most of these guys a lot of times, they’re sitting there eating In-N-Out Burger, whatever else. Literally I cannot do it. If I do it, it immediately reflects for me. These guys you see them the next weekend, they’re like this big.

“It’s like, (crap), it’s not my build.”

Because of Rahal’s height and size, he chose to step away from the endurance races for Team Penske in IMSA at the end of last season. He was replaced at the Rolex 24 at Daytona and the Mobil 1 12 Hours of Sebring by fellow IndyCar driver Alexander Rossi.

Rahal complained that the steering wheel actually hit his legs inside of the Acura, making it difficult for him to drive on the challenging road courses. Since that time, Acura Team Penske has moved the steering column up by a few inches, and it no longer impacts a driver the size of Rahal.

For the IMSA season-ending Petit Le Mans at Road Atlanta on Oct. 12, Rahal will be back in the Team Penske Acura.

“Back in the (Team Penske) shop three weeks ago, I could actually turn the steering wheel, which I was shocked about,” Rahal said. “My head touched the roof, whatever, I’m used to that. Physically being able to steer, which I now should be able to do better.

“So I’m excited about it. It’s another great opportunity obviously with Penske. But more importantly for me is Acura, Honda. It’s a great thing to be back in.

“But that wasn’t a weight thing. It’s purely size. They just don’t build cars for guys my size. I used to talk to J.W. (Justin Wilson) about that. It’s the facts of life. Even the GT cars. You would think a GT car would be big. I don’t know if I’ve ever been in a GT car, I was comfortable in either. They’re built for small guys. That’s the way it goes.”

Rahal is taller than his father, Bobby, who is also his IndyCar team owner along with David Letterman and Michael Lanigan.

“I blame my dad,” Rahal said. “I do. You can tell him I said that. I told him, ‘It’s a genetic thing. I got good genes in some ways.’

“I told my wife this the other day, I’m very excited for someday when my career ends just to have a ‘Dad Bod,’ be able to let go for a minute, see how things turn out, because this is getting a little bit exhausting.

“We’re going to stay committed through the winter. I try my hardest every year, but I never tried harder this year to be thin. I weigh about the same as last year, but it took so much effort to get there, I just have to think outside the box.”