INDIANAPOLIS – Drivers and teams have a variety of reasons why they compete in the Indianapolis 500 presented by Gainbridge or other NTT IndyCar Series events.
Maybe it’s love of the sport or love of the world’s largest single-day sporting event. For some, it can be for something bigger than themselves. That’s the case for Meyer Shank Racing, driver Jack Harvey and sponsor AutoNation, whose “Drive Pink” cause to raise awareness and funds for the fight against breast cancer is most evident in Harvey’s bright pink and black No. 60 AutoNation/SiriusXM Honda.
Partnering with the Breast Cancer Research Foundation, AutoNation has donated more than $18 million to the initiative.
Harvey met Marc Cannon, executive vice president and CMO of AutoNation, in 2015, sparking the relationship with driver and team. Awareness of the program is aided by “DRV PNK” decals on Harvey’s Indy car. Cannon believes the partnership has provided a great opportunity for the Drive Pink initiative.
“The team has been incredibly supportive and committed to our ‘DRV PNK’ mission and raising awareness amongst fans,” Cannon said. “They’ve embraced our philanthropic cause and serve as our brand ambassadors. The team is fully integrated with our branding.”
Harvey and MSR are scheduled to compete in 10 NTT IndyCar Series races this season, but the Indianapolis 500 – where Harvey finished 21st on Sunday – is by far the biggest. Cannon said the entire month of May activities that included Harvey’s third-place finish in the INDYCAR Grand Prix on May 11 deliver tremendous exposure for what the initiative hopes to accomplish.
“Between the (car) livery, in-car camera in Jack's car and driver appearances, AutoNation and ‘DRV PNK’ receive a ton of exposure in the iconic 500-mile race,” Cannon said.
Harvey is proud to serve as an ambassador for the Drive Pink initiative and appreciates how important AutoNation has been to his up-and-coming career.
“Without AutoNation, I would have never received my first opportunity in INDYCAR,” the two-time Indy Lights presented by Cooper Tires championship runner-up said. “I owe a lot of my career to Marc Canon and everyone at AutoNation. They are fundamental people and partners, and if we didn't have them, we wouldn't be racing. The support from them is what allows our program to happen.
“Drive Pink is AutoNation's No. 1 charitable campaign,” Harvey added. “It is aimed at helping people who suffer from breast cancer, but on a wider scale, all those who suffer from cancer. Directly or indirectly, everyone knows someone who has suffered from cancer or is suffering from one of those terrible illnesses.
“If we can bring as much awareness as we can, then I want to help and be a part of raising that awareness. Our car is pink, my helmet, crew shirts, etc., are all pink to help spread awareness.”
Harvey called his run to 21st place on Sunday “a very trying day.”
“This was the most challenging Indianapolis 500 that I have been a part of,” the Brit said of his third attempt. “We started off the month with a podium at the INDYCAR Grand Prix, and we were hoping to continue that momentum into the Indianapolis 500.
“Halfway through the race, I thought the car was going to end up in the wall because of how unbalanced it felt. We didn't have the pace that we had all month in practice, and during the race is when you need it the most. It was an overall average result and an average day.”
Harvey and MSR aren’t scheduled to race again until the REV Group Grand Prix at Road America from June 21-23.
The next NTT IndyCar Series event is this week, the Chevrolet Detroit Grand Prix presented by Lear. The doubleheader race weekend takes place Friday through Sunday at Belle Isle Park. The races air live at 3 p.m. ET Saturday and Sunday on NBC and the Advance Auto Parts INDYCAR Radio Network.