Sometimes the final box score of an IndyCar race is a poor representation of performance. Jack Harvey and Santino Ferrucci likely never drove harder or better than Saturday afternoon at World Wide Technology Raceway, but wound up 11th and 16th after the yellow flag gods and a poor pit stop (respectively) ruined their race.
Starting seventh in the Meyer Shank Racing Honda, Harvey made a nifty outside pass early on to grab two spots and move into fifth place. At the halfway point of the 200-lap race, he was fourth.
But shortly after making his second pit stop on lap 103, the caution flag waved for precipitation and Harvey found himself back in 18th place – one lap down to the leaders who all got a free, yellow-flag stop on Lap 116.
“Man, we were on track to have a really good day,” said the 27-year-old Brit who finished ninth at the Indianapolis 500. “We were running either fourth or fifth for the first half of the race, the car felt great, and the guys gave me great pit stops.
“But that yellow for rain really turned our race upside down. I’m still trying to to wrap my head around why the yellow was called since there wasn’t any rain I saw on track.
“We’re doing everything we can to try and be competitive,” he said hopefully.
Ferrucci, who missed a good portion of Friday’s one-hour practice with mechanical issues in his Dale Coyne Honda, could only qualify 20th for the first race of this weekend’s doubleheader.
But there is something about this 1.25-mile oval and the 22-year-old American. A year from leading the most laps and nearly winning his first IndyCar race only to be thwarted by an untimely yellow flag, Ferrucci spent the first half of his race dialing in his car’s handling, and then he started passing people.
Ninth at the halfway point, the 2019 Rookie of the Year at Indy made a spectacular restart on lap 122, scooting past four cars to move into fifth place. That’s where he sat on lap 158 as he made his final pit stop.
A problem with the wing nut, though, dropped him all the way back to 17th.
“With limited practice yesterday, it took me the first stint to get used to the car,” he said. “We went with a different fuel strategy, which, with a late caution, played in our favor. It put us up to 10th. We had a killer restart, moved into fifth and rode there. Things were looking real promising – until the final pit stop.”
Ferrucci will have to come from 16th in Sunday’s second race but Harvey lines up fifth and can’t wait for the green flag.
“We know we have a good race car for tomorrow’s race,” he said. “So we’ll focus on that, and getting the result we deserve.”