The Meyer Shank Racing-Honda driver was among the stars of qualifying, on a day when two Team Penske-Chevrolets failed to graduate from Q1 without a Chip Ganassi Racing-Hondas made it outside Q2.
Harvey put his best lap on Lap two in the Firestone Fast Six, and was beaten by semi-teammate, Andretti Autosport-Honda’s Colton Herta, who conducted four laps. However, the 28-year-old Briton was able to border this weekend’s past pacesetter, Josef Newgarden, to grab second on the grid. This will be his third front-row start from the series.
However, Harvey was absurdly unfortunate in 2020, his initial fulltime season in IndyCar, often fared nicely but not finishing better than sixth, and finally finishing only 15th in the tournament.
Asked if that would make a difference in the way he races tomorrow GP of St. Pete, and whether he would just settle for a podium, he responded:”If the opportunity is there to win, we’ll go for it… I think at this stage of the year, for anybody, if you can win, that would be epic.
“If we came out with a podium — ideally no less than this [given] where we are beginning — which would also be a very fantastic result for everyone. It just keeps the season going in a positive way.
“I think last year we did really have some great qualifying performances. I think some of the bad luck was self-inflicted with some strategy calls and whatnot. Some of them were maybe just bad luck.
“Like I mentioned to the guys, the more times we place ourselves in a good place to have a fantastic race, it is going to come our way. I am happy that coming to this weekend we place ourselves again in a good position to have a great race.
“After that, we just have to try and execute what we think is the best tomorrow. If it’s good, then we’ll pat ourselves on the back. If it’s not good, we’ll try to learn from it, go again next weekend.”
On the topic of how competitive he might be with Herta — what Harvey described as a”pseudo teammate”, awarded Meyer Shank Racing’s technical relationship with Andretti Autosport — Harvey said he would race him”as hard as we can without crashing really.
“The thing is, most of us want to get through the first lap safely. We all want to get through it P1 clearly but if we settle into P2, attempt to escape from others, that would be a terrific outcome. It is the third time today the #60 has started on the front row, constantly starting P2 to some really great driver…
“I am pretty respectful to all the guys. I think that’s the nice thing about working together as a team… I always really enjoy racing with Colton.
“I don’t think getting through Turn 1 is going to be any huge issues or large dramas. Surely, like I said, if the chance is there to win, we’ll go for it. If it’s not there to win, we will consolidate hopefully as large as you can.”
Harvey does have a podium finish to his name, finishing third in the wet on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway’s road course two years ago. Asked what made him such a good qualifier, Harvey’s initial response was,”I enjoy the red tires. Give us a bit more traction, we’ll try to extract the maximum we can!
“The thing is, it’s not just me, it’s a team effort. With our technical partnership with Andretti Autosport, you see all their guys always being very quick no matter what.”
He added: “I think normally we hit our theoretical lap [combining all the best sectors into one lap] pretty well. I think that helps. After that, it’s a team effort. The car has always been very good. I trust my engineer a lot to give us a good car.
“I’ve got great teammates who are likely to do well. After each session, even if you’re the quickest guy or the 2nd quickest guy, there is still a lot to look at and learn from.”
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