Add Gabby Chaves and Harding Racing to the 2018 Verizon IndyCar Series lineup.
The team, owned by Mike Harding in conjunction with former IndyCar head of race control Brian Barnhart, announced on Friday that Gabby Chaves will run for the team full-time in 2018 as Harding Racing prepares for its first full season stint.
Chaves and the No. 88 team ran three races last year, beginning with the Indianapolis 500, seeing positive results. A ninth-place finish at Indy in May propelled the team to a fifth-place finish at Texas Motor Speedway followed by a 15th-place run at Pocono Raceway.
“After the success we had in our three races of 2017, the next logical step was to take the team to a full season.” said Harding. “During the off-season we have continued to build Harding Racing by adding key people to key positions to become a strong contender in the Verizon IndyCar Series.”
For Chaves, it will be the young driver’s second chance at a full-time ride in the series. He ran full-time as a rookie in 2015 for Bryan Herta Autosport. Since then, he’s taken partial driving roles, but now gets to put his feet back in a car for the entirety of a year.
“I really can’t begin to express how happy and excited I am to get back on track full-time with Harding Racing.” said Gabby Chaves. “We built a really strong team in a very short amount of time in 2017. I’m looking forward to building on that and will be excited to see what our new team members will be able to do to take us to the next level.
“Most of all, I’d like to thank Mike Harding for believing in my potential and for giving me this opportunity. I can’t wait to see what we can do and believe we can have a lot of success together.”
Al Unser, Jr., a two-time former Indy 500 winner who acts as a driving coach for Chaves and the team, thinks big things are ahead for the team.
“We’re a quiet powerhouse. This offseason we worked diligently to make sure that Harding Racing will be strong in 2018.” said Al Unser Jr. “The team had a fantastic start in 2017, and we are completely focused and prepared for this upcoming season. We have Brian Barnhart as Harding Racing team president and Gabby Chaves is back. I know the team is motivated, passionate and hungry for success this year.”