MOORESVILLE, N.C. — Jack Harvey is one of the many drivers in the NTT IndyCar Series who advanced through the ranks of the Indy Lights Series.
The likeable driver for Meyer Shank Racing’s IndyCar program won six races in Indy Lights in 2014 and ’15 and finished second in the championship both seasons.
The England native is scheduled to run the full IndyCar Series season, beginning with Saturday night’s Genesy’s 300 at Texas Motor Speedway.
Earlier this week, Indy Lights Series announced that it would not compete in 2020 with a focus on a return to racing in 2021. Indy Lights is considered the final rung of IndyCar’s ladder system.
“I was sad,” Harvey said. “I know everything that’s going on is bigger than just motorsports and stuff like that, but it doesn’t take away anything. You hear the news, you think, that just sucks for so many people. I got a lot of friends who are involved in Indy Lights, whether it’s drivers, mechanics, team owners, team managers, whatever.
“The thing is, people have to remember, this just doesn’t affect drivers, it affects everybody on a race team,” Harvey added. “It absolutely sucks. It sucks for the guys that have worked so hard for so many years to be that close to IndyCar, just keep progressing up the motorsports ladders. To finally feel like you’re there, or at least all the offseason work, you’re there ready for the season to start, suddenly that’s taken away, it’s a feeling that is so hard to describe.”
Indy Lights has played a tremendous role in showcasing young talent and grooming them for a potential career at the top level. Two-time IndyCar Series champion Josef Newgarden won the 2011 Indy Lights championship. Spencer Pigot won the title in 2015. Colton Herta finished second in 2017 and ’18.
Patricio O’Ward won the championship in 2018 and Oliver Askew the title in 2019. Both drivers are now driving for Arrow McLaren SP in the NTT IndyCar Series.
For some drivers hoping to use the 2020 Indy Lights season as a springboard into IndyCar for 2021, those plans have been delayed. For other aspiring drivers, it might be the end of the road.
“That’s the cold reality of the situation,” Harvey said. “Both of my years in Indy Lights were very strategical, strategy orientated. We knew we wanted to win Indy Lights. We knew what the big picture was. The series was strong and stable at that time. Those two years are what allowed me to continue to progress.
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