INDIANAPOLIS – For as defeated as Scott Dixon looked while sitting at the podium Saturday after finishing second for a third straight year in the IndyCar Grand Prix, third-place finisher Jack Harvey was beaming.
The part-time driver – who had never raced in the rain – notched his first career podium finish at the sixth annual race on a wet and cold afternoon at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
“It was a bit more of a handful than I probably would have hoped for,” Harvey said.
The Meyer Shank Racing driver, who started third in the 85-lap race, conceded his second-place spot to eventual winner Simon Pagenaud.
“There was a few laps where I thought we could hold him off, and then you talk about a bright car, into Turn 1 I saw this yellow dart suddenly just like arrive straight at the apex and thought, man, that was pretty brave,” Harvey said.
With the rain ranging from a light sprinkle to a heavy pour at times, drivers faced a tough decision all day – when, and if to switch from the Firestone slick tires to the wet ones.
“Indiana weather really played its part today, and I think the day, (the team) timed it perfect,” Harvey said. “As I was coming out of the pit lane is when I think there was a yellow flag, and at that point the rain kept coming, and I thought we must be in good position now.”
Despite it being his first podium finish, the 26-year-old Brit has found success at the IMS before. He's one of five drivers who have won on the oval and road course at IMS – winning a Grand Prix of Indianapolis race and the Freedom 100 in 2015.
“I feel like the Indianapolis Motor Speedway is a racing driver's Neverland. It's where we come to try and not get old,” Harvey said.
Harvey's success could potentially mean more races and possibly a full-time ride in the future.
“You're trying to take as much risk as you can without jeopardizing anything because you're doing 10 races, but at the same time, in the same breath, we don't just want to be one of the cars. I think we showed that today,” Harvey said. “Yes, we're happy to finish third, but we're going to push, and if second is available, we're going to go for it.”
Harvey placed 31st in his first Indianapolis 500 in 2017 and placed 16th a season ago.
Harvey's proud to be mixed in the conversation with Team Penske stars Dixon and Pagenaud, who have won all six IndyCar Grand Prix's.
“To share the podium with both of those guys I think is pretty special,” he said. “Our first podium in IndyCar today, and hopefully it's the first of a few, and we're just going to keep using it to keep learning, get more experience, and hopefully it won't be as much of a shock when we get in here again.”
Harvey and Meyer Shank Racing are off to a strong start to May and are hoping for another podium finish May 26 at the 23rd running of the Indianapolis 500.
“I think we've been on the edge of a good result like this for a while, but actually trying to gel those pieces, put it all together have been tricky, so that's why I think you have to enjoy every podium,” Harvey said.