Jack Harvey is ready for a fresh start following his move to Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing. (IndyCar Photo)
Jack Harvey is ready for a fresh start following his move to Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing. (IndyCar Photo)

Harvey Ready For Fresh Start At RLL Racing

MOORESVILLE, N.C. – Jack Harvey is ready for a fresh start in the NTT IndyCar Series with Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing.
 
When the deal was announced on Oct. 11 that Harvey would leave Meyer Shank Racing, the team that gave him his IndyCar start with three races in 2017, it was hardly a shock. After Helio Castroneves drove to victory in the No. 06 Honda to win the 105th Indianapolis 500 on May 30, Harvey admitted to having very mixed feelings.
 
He was happy that his team was finally able to get its first win in IndyCar but upset that he wasn’t the driver to deliver it. Harvey believed he had put in the work that laid the foundation for a winning effort, but it was another driver that got to celebrate.
 
For Castroneves, it was a record-tying fourth Indianapolis 500 win joining legends A.J. Foyt, Al Unser and Rick Mears.
 
Meyer Shank Racing offered Harvey a new contract, but he turned it down because he was ready for something different, something new.
 
That is the No. 45 Hy-Vee Honda at Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing, where Harvey signed a multi-year contract.
 
“I don’t have the words to really explain it, mate,” Harvey said. “I’ve been working for this kind of opportunity since I was nine years old at my local go-karting track in the United Kingdom, so all of those years, days, hours, high moments, down moments have been trying to get to this level of opportunity that I’m so thankful and grateful to Bobby, Mike (Lanigan), Dave (Letterman), Piers (team president Piers Phillips), everybody at Hy-Vee for showing me that interest and ultimately that trust and support of putting me in the car.
 
“I haven’t really got a great one-word answer for that, it’s just I’ve been dreaming of this my whole life.”
 
His former team will move forward with Castroneves signing a full season deal midway through the 2021 season. He will be reunited with former Team Penske teammate and 2019 Indianapolis 500 winner Simon Pagenaud on the Ohio-based IndyCar team.
 
Meanwhile, Harvey is set for a three-driver effort at RLL. The driver from Brassington, England, will join veteran driver Graham Rahal and rookie driver from Denmark Christian Lundgaard for a team that is building a new race shop in Zionsville, Ind.
 
Rahal is also bringing in a sponsor that wants to play an active role in the NTT IndyCar Series. It’s supermarket chain Hy-Vee, which is based in Des Moines and has a footprint of stores that are located in the Midwest. Hy-Vee is also playing a major role in revitalizing Iowa Speedway and bringing it back to the NTT IndyCar Series schedule with a doubleheader in 2022.
 
“With Graham, and then of course now Jack Harvey and we’ve got three young guys that can stand on the gas,” Rahal said. “This is a big moment for RLL, in the history of RLL. Yes, the new shop is certainly a big one, but developing the relationship that we have with Hy-Vee, which started last year, and here we are going forward together on a full-time basis.
 
“Really for me when it came down to who are we going to get to drive this car, I’d had interest in Jack before. He showed his pace. He showed he had a lot of good races. He had some very good races that didn’t end up so well, which that happens in racing, but through no fault of his own I might add. But that happens.
 
“Our goal, Mike’s, mine, Dave’s, our goal was to really put forth the strongest three-car program we could for 2022 and beyond, and certainly Hy-Vee was a huge component of that or is a huge component, and then bringing Jack in to the team is just as much of a huge one.
 
“I think for sure Jack, Graham and Christian will push each other. That does great things for a team because it just raises the competitiveness of the team. All you have to do is look at Roger Penske, what his team has been like over the years, or Chip Ganassi. You’ve got to have guys within the organization that are pushing each other and really trying to make it better, and so I’m really pleased that Jack agreed to come along with us.
 
“I can’t think of a better representative for Hy-Vee and RLL, both on and off the track.”
 
With Harvey behind the wheel of the No. 45 Hy-Vee entry, Rahal believes the handsome driver from England can bring home the groceries.
 
“So, to speak, right?” Rahal quipped. “I’ve seen his pace on the tracks, and I’ve seen what he can do, in qualifying and in race day. I just think that — I don’t think there’s any question that he has the capability, and for us now, it’s all about giving him the team around him to really take it to the next level, which is to put it in Victory Lane, and I think there’s no doubt that he can do that.
 
“That excites all of us within RLL, because again, it’s all about putting our best foot forward, and I think Jack is an example of that.”
 
Harvey admits it was difficult to tell team owners Michael Shank and Jim Meyer that he was not going to sign a contract to remain with that team because he still considers both very close friends. But once Harvey made the decision he would not return to Meyer Shank Racing in July, paddock insiders immediately connected the dots that Harvey was heading to RLL.
 
For their part, Harvey and Rahal never officially confirmed the deal, despite close to three months of questions, but it was pretty obvious RLL would become Harvey’s new home.
 
That was finally announced in early October.
 
“I think one of the things I most respected about Bobby straight away was his respectfulness towards me, towards all the teams in the IndyCar paddock, towards the drivers,” Harvey said. “He answered it really well. Everyone kept asking, but to try to carry on, on that nice path that we have started in our relationship together was respect, I would say, and until the time was right, it wasn’t appropriate to announce it.
 
“It was great that everyone keeps asking. It was nice it was on everyone’s mind. I think being in the 45 maybe was a little bit of a surprise for people, so maybe not a total surprise that we ended up where we did, but maybe a little surprise on the car we’re going to be driving.
 
“My personal feeling on silly season is it’s silly, but it certainly makes for good drama for everybody, and if that’s what keeps IndyCar in everyone’s attention and thoughts in the off-season, then happy to go through it.”
 
Harvey made the move to Rahal’s team because it is well-established, proven on the track and has won a lot of races, including the 2004 Indianapolis 500 with Buddy Rice and the 2020 Indianapolis 500 with Takuma Sato.
 
Harvey believes this is the team that will power him to victory lane.
 
“I really enjoyed my initial chats with Bobby and with Mike, the ambition of the team,” Harvey admitted. “What really drew me to the team was they were having a good season, but that wasn’t enough. That’s really how I felt, as well.
 
“I’m ready to have an expanded role. I’m excited to get on track. I feel that my time at MSR has served me really well, and I feel ready to win.
 
“The things I loved about to the team was there’s still things I need to work on, and I feel like the team has a lot of infrastructure and support to help me grow both as a driver and as a person. But to me it wasn’t one thing that hammered it home. It was from the get-go, from our first conversations to now, I’ve just been so impressed with the hunger and desire of the team. Hy-Vee’s commitment has been incredible.
 
“There are so many things to look forward to with this team, and I’m just really grateful to be a small part of it but a big part of it come race day.
 
“But it takes a village; you can’t just do it on your own. A lot of people have helped me to get here, and just excited for the future at this point.”

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