This is a moment more than just two years in the making, or four, or seven, or any amount of time that Jack Harvey has competed in North American open-wheel racing. This is nearly a lifetime of hard work paying off.
On Monday, Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing announced Harvey will drive the team’s No. 45 Hy-Vee Honda in 2022, a third full-time car for the organization that has fielded two full-time entries since 2018.
For Harvey, it’s the payoff for the dedication he’s shown toward achieving his lifelong goal of competing for a well-established NTT INDYCAR SERIES organization. Harvey, 28, first started his march toward this goal in the United States seven years ago. He competed two seasons in Indy Lights and scored six wins for Schmidt Peterson Motorsports from 2014-15.
He parlayed that four years ago into a part-time NTT INDYCAR SERIES ride for a new team entering the sport, Meyer Shank Racing. Harvey was a part-time racer from 2017-19. Then, in 2020, Harvey and Meyer Shank went full time in the NTT INDYCAR SERIES.
Now, after two seasons with Meyer Shank, England native Harvey signed a multiyear deal to drive for three-time INDYCAR SERIES champion Bobby Rahal, businessman Mike Lanigan and television personality David Letterman.
“I don't have the words to really explain it,” Harvey said. “I've been working for this kind of opportunity since I was 9 years old at my local go-karting track in the UK. All of those years, days, hours, high moments and down moments have been trying to get to this level of opportunity. I've been dreaming of this my whole life.”
In 49 NTT INDYCAR SERIES races, which include two races with what was then Schmidt Peterson Motorsports and a Meyer Shank Racing alliance with SPM, Harvey has a best finish of third in the 2019 GMR Grand Prix on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course.
The 2021 season was admittedly an up-and-down year for Harvey. He started the year strong, with two top-10s in the first three races in the No. 60 AutoNation/SiriusXM Honda before struggling through the summer. On the season, Harvey scored two top-five finishes, six top-10s, had an average start of 12.7 and an average finish of 13th.
Still, he finished a career-best 12th in the championship, and a late-season charge saw him score four top-10 finishes in the final five races.
Harvey insisted leaving the organization where he has spent most of his NTT INDYCAR SERIES career wasn’t an easy choice. After what has been a journey full of learning for both sides, he said he believes Meyer Shank Racing has prepared him to start a new, and hopefully winning, chapter at Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing.
“It was a tough decision, but ultimately where I was before, MSR, I've been there a long time, I know a lot of people there, it would have been easy to have stayed,” he said. “Ultimately, I wouldn't have just left that organization for anything, but I was really excited about this project, this opportunity, and I wanted to be a part of it.”
Harvey said what tipped the scales in favor of joining Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing was the team’s strong 2021 season, specifically driver Graham Rahal.
Rahal drove the No. 15 Honda to one podium finish (third at Texas-2), seven top-five’s, 11 top-10’s, an average start of 12.7 and an average finish of 9.9.
“I look at our season, and it was filled with a lot of potential,” Harvey said. “Too many coulda-woulda-shouldas, and I would look every weekend and watch the races back, and I always felt like Graham's race pace was exceptionally strong, and as a team they always found a way to get their drivers to the front. There’s definitely been a few races where I was envious of that.”
Harvey’s new ride, the No. 45 Hy-Vee Honda, ran a part-time season with several drivers and a fair amount of success, specifically with Santino Ferrucci behind the wheel. Over the summer, Ferrucci scored four top-10s and an average finish of 8.4 in five races.
Harvey feels the success of his car and Rahal’s could mean he finds Victory Lane for the first time in his NTT INDYCAR SERIES career in 2022. Specifically, Harvey thinks he can deliver strong qualifying performances, an area where Rahal has said the team can improve.
“I feel like what I can bring to the team is obviously trying to qualify, keep our qualifying performances going, but also be able to improve on our race pace, which I feel like between me and the team, we should be ticking a lot of those boxes,” Harvey said.
“I think the team expanding to three cars is a great move for everybody. But their consistency, and when you see all three cars be quick and have the opportunity to be quick, that's what you want to be a part of. There's just a lot of really great things that everybody at RLL is doing.”