Gabby Chaves secures Indy 500 ride with Harding Racing

Photo: Joe Skibinski/INDYCAR)

By Aaron Bearden, Motorsports Editor

Gabby Chaves will return for his third Indianapolis 500 this May as part of a new venture within the Verizon IndyCar Series paddock.

The 2014 Indy Lights champion will compete for Harding Racing, a new technical alliance between Mike Harding, owner of Harding Group – a concrete and asphalt company known for their use in paving projects at Indianapolis Motor Speedway – and Dreyer & Reinbold Racing’s Dennis Reinbold. The company will field a Chevrolet, with Larry Curry serving as the team’s manager and competition director.

The team will make their IndyCar debut on Wednesday, participating in a series test at the newly-repaved and restructured Texas Motor Speedway to give Chaves an oval refresher.

“I’m excited to be working with car owner Mike Harding on forming his new Indy car team and we are very lucky to have driver Gabby Chaves, along with Chevrolet,” Curry said in a release. “We have assembled a great team and are looking forward to our shakedown test in Texas on Wednesday.”

Chaves made his first Indy 500 start in 2015 as part of a season-long venture with Bryan Herta Autosport (BHA) wherein the Columbian earned rookie-of-the-year honors in both the race and the greater IndyCar Series championship.

In many way Chaves exceeded expectation in his debut season, completing 99.1% of all laps ran and finishing 15 of the year’s 16 races. However, the 23-year-old’s financial woes, married with those of BHA, led to the Columbian’s ouster after the season and paved the way for 2016 Indy 500 champion Alexander Rossi’s entrance.

2016 saw Chaves run a part-time schedule with Dale Coyne Racing, competing in seven races with a best result of 12th, but the Mazda Road to Indy graduate hasn’t been seen on-track since the rain-delayed Aug. race at Texas.

“I’m extremely delighted to have the opportunity to get to challenge for my third Indy 500,” Chaves said. “I am very excited to be joining a new team with our new owner, Mike Harding, and everyone involved, including Larry Curry, who has been instrumental in getting the team together and guiding it.”

“I have complete faith and confidence that our engine partner Chevy will give us the best package and support to give our Harding Racing machine a chance to challenge for the win. I’ve had good races at IMS, although the result has never come together. But I think this is the year that I really have to put it together to get the result. That’s my main focus, and I definitely think I’m going to have one of the best programs out there among those focused on Indy only.”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *