After entering six NTT IndyCar events in 2018, Meyer Shank Racing is increasing their schedule to 10 races in 2019 with Jack Harvey back behind the wheel once again. The driver of the No. 60 Honda took some time to share his thoughts with POPULAR OPEN WHEEL.
POPULAR OPEN WHEEL: What are your thoughts entering the IndyCar season?
JACK HARVEY: Honestly, it’s difficult to put into words how excited we are for the upcoming season. Not just because I love racing and it’s more opportunities to get behind the wheel, but because our program has been expanded and everything is headed in a really good direction. A lot of things to be grateful for, excited about; we just can’t wait to get going.
POW: What are your goals and expectations?
JACK: It’s tough a question to answer, really. Of course, I want to say we’re here to win – and that’s true as we do want to try and achieve that. However, I think the key is because we’re running a limited schedule, so I think we have to have realistic expectations. So based on last season, if we can qualify inside the top-12 and try to race in the top-10 consistently, that’d be a great weekend for us.
I still go to the track trying to win no matter what, I think qualify top-12, race in the top-10 would be a fantastic result for us.
POW: What track are you most looking forward to?
JACK: Honestly, the Indy 500 is such a special place so I think that’s the race that I look forward to the most every single year. That being said, I’m really looking forward to be going to COTA and Laguna Seca – one returning track, one new track on the schedule. I think some of the best tracks in the world are in North America, so it makes sense that IndyCar being a premier category that it is that we’re going to these circuits.
I think everybody at IndyCar is doing a great job because if you look across the calendar for the whole year, you can say you’re excited about this one, this one, and this one – you could practically say every race that’s coming up. So I think again because it’s a limited schedule, we’re excited for all of them, but I still think the Indy 500 is the crown jewel of the year.
POW: What is one track that you wish was on the IndyCar schedule that currently isn’t?
JACK: I’m certainly biased on this, but I’d love to see IndyCar race at Silverstone. I’d love to see them do a race back in the UK. Looking outside of the UK, honestly, I know the crowd wasn’t all that big but I thought Watkins Glen was a great race and an iconic track close to home.
It sounds like everyone had a great time when they were at Surfer’s Paradise, but I’d like to drive Bathurst because of how awesome that circuit looks as well. I don’t know. I think there’s a lot of great tracks out there. But if I was going to say absolutely just one, I’d have to say that I’d love to see IndyCar race at Silverstone.
POW: Looking back on last year, what do you feel that you and the team need to do to be stronger this year?
JACK: I think last year, I think every part of the weekend we did something very good. I think the difference is this coming season is do it more often. We need to figure out what works, why it works, and then had a better system in place so we can replicate it – and the same with the bad in identifying what didn’t go well and why.
There are obviously things that we are working on over time, but if I’m being frank, I thought it was good bits of every weekend last year. We just need to find a way to execute that more often and more consistently.
POW: How close, in your opinion, do you feel that you and Michael Shank are to running the full season?
JACK: That’s a tough question to answer because in some situations and aspects, I think me and everyone at MSR are pretty close frankly. That being said, the amount that would be required to do it would be huge. So I think we’d be extremely close in some ways, but in other ways, an enormous amount of work to get there. So it just kinds of depends what aspect you’re talking about.
But if I was to summarize it overall, I don’t think we’re that far away.
POW: Who is your racing hero?
JACK: That’s a fun question because when I was younger and started go-karting, Michael Schumacher was my hero because of what he was achieving when I started go-karting. So he was a racing hero of mine.
Then as you get older, you start to look back more at history and I always thought James Hunt was an absolute character. I think he had that raw speed so I just thought he was someone that was a cool guy. I’m not sure he’d get away with his off-tracks exploits anymore, but I think he had quite a lot of character at the time.
Graham Hill, Jimmy Clark – all those guys that you look at and if you could even replicate a little success they had, that would be absolutely amazing. I mean, there’s so many fantastic drivers out there. The more time I spend in North America, the more I learn about American history and the heritage here. That list keeps growing, actually, of people that I admire and respect and would love to just cherry pick some of the attributes that they have.
POW: We’ve seen a lot of drivers running different cars and series recently. What is a series/type of car that is on your bucket list to one day try?
JACK: To be honest with you, I’d love to drive any Formula 1 car from the 60’s through to the middle of the 90’s. I thought that period of time was sort of cool and so pure and raw speed, engineering was evolving all the time.
Even I’d love to race an IndyCar from the same period of time at the speedway, just because I think we all look at it and those guys were – for the lack of a better word, they were total bad asses. That’s when men were real manly, they were brave, and just a period of time that I would love to be able to tap into and get that perspective of how cool a period that was.
POW: What would your advice be to someone looking to get started in racing?
JACK: The thing that I have learned as I’ve gotten older is you get out what you’ve put in. So if the team asks a driver to give a 110(%) and you’re not, you might inspire just 95% of effort across the board. You have to inspire as a leader of the team, as essentially you are. I think you have to drive and approach the weekend in that role and inspire and rally the people around you. I think that will come down to how much work ethic and just sheer amount of dedication you can put into the program.
I think it’s easy for people to say, ‘Oh, he’s just the driver for the team, whatever,’ but I think we play a huge part in not just the performance on-track, but inspiring the people around you to give the best as well.
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