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Brian Barnhart named President of Harding Racing
Harding Racing | Published: November 29th, 2017

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – Brian Barnhart has been named President of Harding Racing, effective December 18, 2017. Barnhart, will be based at the Harding Racing corporate office in Indianapolis, Indiana.

"We are thrilled to have Brian join Harding Racing. Brian’s years of experience on both the IndyCar competition side and the operations side makes him an invaluable resource within the league," said Mike Harding, owner of Harding Racing. "We have the legendary Al Unser, Jr., an incredibly talented young driver in Gabby Chaves, a hand-picked winning crew led by team manager, Larry Curry, and now Brian. He is the missing piece that will take Harding Racing to victory lane."

Barnhart’s tenure in the operational side of INDYCAR began in 1997 where he served in various roles, most recently as Vice President of Competition and Head of Race Control. Prior to his move to INDYCAR, Barnhart spent several years as a crew member for multiple race teams including Al Unser Jr.’s winning teams.

"I am so appreciative of my years at INDYCAR and with the Hulman-George family," said Barnhart. "The opportunity from Harding Racing to return to the competition side of INDYCAR racing was too hard to pass. I am very excited about the incredible opportunity to work with Harding Racing and alongside Al Unser Jr. again."

"I’m excited to partner with Brian again," said team executive consultant, Al Unser Jr. "In our younger years, we won two Indianapolis 500s and two CART Championships together. I’m looking forward to celebrating many more victories with Brian and Harding Racing."

Indianapolis based Harding Racing made its Verizon INDYCAR Series debut at the 2017 Indianapolis 500. The team is led by Mike Harding, owner and CEO of Harding Group, a concrete and asphalt paving company based in Indianapolis. Two-time Indianapolis 500 winner Al Unser Jr. serves the team as executive consultant. Gabby Chaves, the 2015 Verizon IndyCar Series and Indianapolis 500 Rookie of the Year, is the driver of the #88 car. In addition to their ninth-place finish in the Indianapolis 500, the team competed at Texas Motor Speedway and Pocono Raceway, finishing fifth and fifteenth respectively. The team plans to compete full-time in the 2018 Verizon INDYCAR season.

Harding Racing is part of Harding Group, a prominent local Indianapolis company that has conducted business in Indiana and surrounding states since 1960. Harding Group’s more than 350 experienced craftsmen, degreed engineers and estimators provide customers with one-stop shopping for their paving needs. Pavement Magazine consistently ranks Harding Group's Asphalt Division in the "Top Ten" of asphalt paving companies in the United States. Over the course of their 50-year history, Harding Group has evolved from a single company to a diverse set of companies including Harding Transport, Harding Materials Inc., Harding Logistics and Harding Snow & Salt.

Gabby Chaves Big Sleeper This Weekend at Pocono
By Eric Smith | Published: August 14th, 2017

INDIANAPOLIS – A race winner for Sunday’s ABC Supply 500 (2 p.m. ET/NBCSN/INDYCAR Radio Network) that no one is talking about is Gabby Chaves. The 23-year old Verizon IndyCar Series driver has three career top 10’s, all three have occurred on superspeedways. Well, with another superspeeday coming up this weekend at the Pocono Raceway, I can make a strong case for a fourth top 10 effort for the young driver.

Gabby Chaves at the Texas Motor Speedway

Chaves, finished 10th at Texas in 2015. That was his first and only top 10 prior to this season. This year, Chaves signed on with a new team in Harding Racing. Results like the ones that he’s had weren’t expected to come this soon. After all, the team hasn’t been in the series at all prior to the Indianapolis 500. 

Chaves finished ninth at Indy.

Then, in the teams’ second race together at Texas back in June, Chaves brought his No. 88 Chevrolet home fifth. Now, in their third race, another superspeedway, will they win?

The law of trends says yes.

From ninth to improving four spots to fifth in the first two races. If he improves four more spots from fifth, he will be the one in victory lane at the Tricky Triangle on Sunday afternoon.

Also factor in this, Chaves has one career Verizon IndyCar Series start at Pocono, that came back in 2015. In that race, Chaves led 31 laps and was in the hunt to win in the end before his engine expired relegating him to an 11th place result. If not for that engine, he likely would have won. Then, in two career Indy Lights starts at Pocono, Chaves has finishes of third and first respectively.

Need I say anymore?

Gabby Chaves at the Texas Motor Speedway

Harding Racing, Gabby Chaves to return to IndyCar series at Texas

By Jim Ayello | Published: Jun 6, 2017

INDIANAPOLIS – After its sterling debut at the 101st running of the Indianapolis 500, Harding Racing is returning to the Verizon IndyCar Series for this weekend’s race at Texas Motor Speedway.

Gabby Chaves, who finished ninth at the 500, will again be in the cockpit of Harding Racing’s No. 88 Chevrolet.

“We went into Indy with the mentality that if we got out there clean, we would try to run Texas and Pocono,” said team manager and competition director Larry Curry. “And we definitely got out of there clean.

“We were just all elated that we had the run that we had. For a new team, you figure we started putting these cars together in January. Built two brand new cars, went down and did a little shakedown test in Texas and then came to Indy and came home with a ninth-place finish.”

The plan for Harding Racing going forward, Curry said, is to join the IndyCar series full time beginning next season with Chaves behind the wheel. Chaves is currently under a two-year contract agreement with Harding Racing, which is owned by Mike Harding, who runs an Indianapolis-based concrete and asphalt paving company.

Curry said that backing up a stellar debut at Indy is priority No. 1 for Chaves and Harding Racing heading to Texas. It will be challenging, Curry concedes, with far less practice time than the team had to prepare for the 500, but he's not letting that hinder expectations. 

“We're keeping our goals high, so we're going down to Texas and we definitely want to back up our top-10 finish at Indy with another top-10 run," Curry said. "If we do that, for a new team going to the first two races and end up with top 10s in both of them, I think we'd feel pretty good about it." 

Ninth-Place Indy 500 Finish Leaves Chaves Smiling

By Joey Barnes | Published: Jun 1, 2017

INDIANAPOLIS – Gabby Chaves and Harding Racing achieved the remarkable in the 101st Running of the Indianapolis 500 presented by PennGrade Motor Oil. Now the hope is to build the program in the future.
Chaves had his best finish in three Indianapolis 500 starts on Sunday and equaled his best Verizon IndyCar Series finish in 24 career races when he placed ninth with the team making its series debut. Starting 25th, Chaves ran a methodical race in the No. 88 Harding Racing Chevrolet, not cracking the top 15 until the final 40 laps at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
Despite a troublesome final pit stop with 30 laps left in the 200-lap race, the 23-year-old Colombian charged from 22nd position to post the top-10 result.
“The guys did a good job every pit stop of dialing the car in,” said Chaves, the 2014 Indy Lights champion and 2015 Sunoco Rookie of the Year for both the Indy 500 and the Verizon IndyCar Series season.
“In the beginning, we struggled. We let the track come to us and made the adjustments. Man, I don’t know if there was anyone else out there at the end that was able to challenge like we did, from mid-pack to closer to the front; so very happy with that.”
Chaves relied on the veteran guidance of team manager/strategist Larry Curry and race engineer Matt Curry, Larry’s son, to make the car better throughout the marathon race. Chaves had risen to 12th – one spot ahead of fellow Colombian Juan Pablo Montoya – on Lap 167 when he pitted under a caution for what he thought was the final time in the race. An airjack malfunction made the stop excruciatingly long and Chaves had to come back two laps later, while still under yellow, to complete things.
“I see Montoya finished sixth (in the race),” Chaves said, wondering what might have been. “We were running in front of him before our last stop. We had an airjack problem, so it’s a little bit of a bummer knowing we could have been even more up front. But for the first time (for the team), hell of a run.”
Chaves also had to take quick action to avoid a pair of crashes during the race. The first was the frightening collision between pole sitter Scott Dixon and Jay Howard that sent Dixon’s car airborne. The second was the Lap 184 five-car pile-up involving James Davison, James Hinchcliffe, Josef Newgarden, Oriol Servia and Will Power.
Showcasing the understanding of a veteran, Chaves preached the importance of charging forward but in measured aggression.
“Twice in a row, big crash right in front of me and missing it by inches,” said Chaves, whose prior best Indy 500 finish was of 16th with Bryan Herta Autosport when he earned top rookie honors in 2015.
“Really, it’s a balance. You’ve got to attack, but you’ve got to know when to be patient. I think it came through (in the race). We’ll come back next year and go for that win.”
The Indianapolis-based team lead by owner Mike Harding is seeking to join the Verizon IndyCar Series full-time in 2018 with Chaves as the centerpiece. Plans call for Chaves to race in the remaining two superspeedway events this season: the Rainguard Water Sealers 600 at Texas Motor Speedway on June 10 and the ABC Supply 500 at Pocono Raceway on Aug. 20.
Chaves wasn’t looking ahead, however. He couldn’t wipe the smile from his face for what Harding Racing’s maiden effort accomplished.
“It was a first-time effort by a brand-new team,” Chaves said. “I think we can be happy with what we’ve done. From the very first day that Harding Racing was established, our main goal was to become a full-time INDYCAR team.”
Ninth-Place Indy 500 Finish

Harding Racing impresses as top rookie team

Sunday, 28 May 2017

One rookie team raced to an impressive top-10 debut and the other two are looking forward to do-overs at next year's Indy 500. Mike Harding's one-car team for Gabby Chaves earned the honors for best rookie team on Sunday as the young Colombian-American driver wheeled the No. 88 Chevy to a superb ninth-place finish.

lepage 170521 indy 3279"I think we did our job," the 2014 Indy Lights champion said. "We took the race one lap at a time. We let the track and the conditions come to us and we dialed in the car every stop. We had a heck of a stint there. I think we were one of the only cars being able to make moves out there and got into a solid top 10 for our first go as a team."

With Harding Racing set to return later this year at Texas in June and Pocono in August, Chaves and the Larry Curry-led team will have more opportunities to shine as they prepare for a possible full-time effort in 2018.

Michael Shank spent decades trying to reach the Indy 500, and after watching his driver Jack Harvey suffer a crash in practice from a mechanical issue and lose a motor as well due to something being ingested by his Honda powerplant, watching Harvey get knocked out of the race through no fault of his own was a tough pill to swallow.

"It's extremely disappointing when what took us out, was out of our control," said Shank, whose No. 50 Andretti-Shank entry was hit by debris from Conor Daly's crash and spun into the wall. "To have that be the cause that ended our day, it's frustrating. I feel bad for Jack (Harvey) and the whole team that did so much work. We were up to 20th on that restart, which was great. It was still early in the race and Jack was doing an excellent job.

"I am just really thankful and proud of everyone on our team. We learned a lot and if we do make it back to the Indianapolis 500 again we have some things that we would do different to improve the process. We can definitely be stronger here, and we will see where our future takes us."

Ricardo Juncos put together an ambitious two-car program for Juncos Racing's IndyCar debut, and while the Chevy-powered cars were turned out in immaculate form, the one ingredient they needed to succeed – ample speed – proved to be elusive all month.

"We have finished what has been a huge effort from so many people," he said. "We brought both cars home in 15th (Sebastian Saavedra) and 18th (Spencer Pigot) place. It was a very tough race; the cars were not as good as they should have been and Spencer's car was really not good, so I am very happy for him because he was so professional to bring it home.

"Sebastian did a good job to finish a team-high 15th. This is the beginning of the future for us, so I have to thank everybody for an amazing job."

Like Harding, the Juncos team could appear at more races late in the year, with Pocono as the most likely candidate. Shank's future in IndyCar is less certain after leasing a car for the month, but the veteran IMSA sports car team owner has expressed an interest in continuing if the budget can be acquired. 

Harding Race Team finishes 9th in Indy 500 with driver Gabby Chaves
Harding Racing Impresses As Top Rookie Team. Images by Scott LePage/LAT

Ninth Place Finish for Gabby Chaves at Indianapolis 500

Indianapolis, IN – May 28, 2017 – Gabby Chaves and the newly-formed Harding Racing team earned a ninth place finish at the 101st running of the Indy 500 on Sunday at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

Chaves started in the 25th spot for the 200-lap race around the historic, 2.5-mile oval. The Colombian American driver battled with understeer for the first half of the race but managed to hover within the top 20.

Consistent pit stops were a factor as the competition went on. The second half of the race was scattered with yellow flags, and Chaves stayed focused while being able to protect his car from incidents on track.

As the final 25 laps of Harding Racing’s IndyCar debut passed, Chaves moved methodically to gain positions, earning the ninth-place spot as he crossed the finish line after 500 miles.

"I think we did our job. We took the race one lap at a time. We let the track and the conditions come to us and we dialed in the No. 88 Harding Racing Chevrolet car every stop. We had a heck of a stint there. I think we were one of the only cars being able to make moves out there and got into a solid top ten for our first go as a team."

Two-time Indy 500 winner Al Unser Jr., who is working with Harding Racing as a team consultant and driver coach for Chaves, added, “I thought the Harding Racing team did a great job for their first race. Gabby especially did a fantastic job driving to ninth after starting twenty-fifth. We all learned a lot for our next race in Texas!”

Next up for the Harding Racing team is a stop at Texas Motor Speedway for the Rainguard Water Sealers 600, taking place on Saturday, June 10 at 8:30 p.m. ET. The 600-mile race will be live on NBC Sports Network and tickets are available online at

The No. 88 Harding Racing car is sponsored by the Harding Group, YP The Real Yellow Pages, Neyra Industries, MacAllister, Jackson Oil & Solvents, Witkemper Insurance, AF Transport, Coldeportes, TKO Graphix and Stoops Freightliner.

Fans can follow all the Harding Racing team action online at, or on social media via Twitter (@HardingRacing88), Instagram (@HardingRacing_88) and Facebook (Harding Racing).
Gabby Chaves and Harding Racing 88 at Indy 500
Gabby Chaves finishes 9th at the 101st Running of the Indianapolis 500 Photo Credit: INDYCAR photo

Gabby Chaves Qualifies 25th for 101st Running of Indianapolis 500

Indianapolis, IN – May 21, 2017 – Harding Racing driver Gabby Chaves qualified 25th on Sunday afternoon in the No. 88 Harding Racing Chevrolet during the second day of time trials at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

On Saturday, rain threatened to cancel qualifying for the first half of the day. The track was officially pronounced dry at approximately 4 p.m. ET and the first round of qualifying began. Chaves had drawn the 33rd spot on Friday and with the final qualifying run of the day, turned in a four-lap average of 226.875, putting him in the 26th spot.

All qualifying times were erased for “Armed Forces Pole Day” on Sunday. Chaves’ group (positions 10-33) was given one, four-lap qualifying run to earn their spots on the starting grid for the 2017 Indianapolis 500. Chaves earned a 226.921, putting him on the inside of row nine for race day.

“We made it through qualifying,” said Chaves. “I definitely felt like the Harding Racing No. 88 car was a 229 car for qualifying but I don’t think we were expecting the change in track conditions and it just caught us out on the wrong turn. I just couldn’t stay in it or put down some good laps. At least, not as good as I would’ve liked to. We’ve worked with our car, we’ve worked through our program and we’re looking forward to our first Indy 500 as a team.”

Two-time Indy 500 winner Al Unser Jr., who is working with Harding Racing as a team consultant and driver coach for Chaves, added, “I feel that the team did a great job qualifying for this year’s Indy 500. This is their first time working together so every day is a learning experience. I’m really looking forward to a great race with the team and working with Gabby. I believe we have a good shot at winning the race.”

The No. 88 Harding Racing car is sponsored by the Harding Group, YP The Real Yellow Pages, Neyra Industries, MacAllister, Jackson Oil & Solvents, Witkemper Insurance, AF Transport, Coldeportes, TKO Graphix and Stoops Freightliner.

The 101st running of the Indianapolis 500 is scheduled to take place on Sunday, May 28. The 200-lap race on the historic, 2.5-mile oval will be broadcast live on ABC at 11:00am ET. Fans can purchase tickets at and follow all the team action online at, or on social media via Twitter (@HardingRacing88), Instagram (@HardingRacing_88) and Facebook (Harding Racing).
Gabby Chaves and Harding Racing 88 at Indianapolis 500 Qualifications
Gabby Chaves Qualifies 25th for 101st Running of the Indianapolis 500 Photo Credit: INDYCAR photo

Chaves, Harding Racing Taking Methodical Approach

Indianapolis, IN – May 21st, 2017 - From journeyman to centerpiece, Gabby Chaves has found a home at Harding Racing.

The 2014 Indy Lights presented by Cooper Tires champion and 2015 Verizon IndyCar Series Sunoco Rookie of the Year when he raced full time with Bryan Herta Autosport, Chaves has endured a tough path since. But he sees this as the perfect opportunity for not only himself, but INDYCAR’s newest team.

“I’ve had my ups and downs, right?” said Chaves, 23. “I’ve won championships, I’ve won plenty of races. I’ve also been out of a car and out of a ride. It’s just finding the motivation to go through the tough times, enjoying and doing the best we can through the good times.

“Right now, I’m facing a fantastic opportunity to really kick-start my career up again and really establish myself as an Indy car driver – which is all I want to be. I’m here, I’ve got a future with these guys. They’ve got a future in the series. I’m just really happy that we’re getting the work done.

“Obviously, we know the challenges that face us as a new team, but we’re prepared to face them and put in all the effort and all the work necessary to become a really competitive team.”

Team owner Mike Harding has been a fixture around Indianapolis Motor Speedway for 17 years. His construction company, Harding Group, was founded in 1960 and has performed asphalt and concrete work at IMS. Harding is an official track sponsor and hosts nearly 4,000 customers and guests on Indianapolis 500 race weekend.

Harding’s race team is set to officially debut in the 101st Indianapolis 500 presented by PennGrade Motor Oil after Chaves qualified 25th today with a four-lap run of 226.921 mph in the No. 88 Chevrolet.

The team also has plans to run the other superspeedway ovals on the Verizon IndyCar Series schedule at Texas Motor Speedway and Pocono Raceway, with a goal of being a full-season entry in 2018. Harding and team manager/race strategist Larry Curry have been methodical in putting the pieces together, with the long-term goal in mind.

That suits Chaves just fine. After driving the full season in 2015, he competed in just seven races last year with Dale Coyne Racing. The search has been ongoing for a full-time return and Chaves hopes it can be with Harding Racing.

“It’s been a process,” Chaves said. “It started with an idea last year between Mike and Larry Curry during the 500 here. It came to life, probably the first week of January, and ever since then it’s been full steam ahead, getting the team together and preparing so that we can start off on the right foot. I think we’ve got plenty more to improve on and work on, but I think we’ve done exactly what we intended to do.”

The team boasts more than 100 combined years of experience and has an added boost in team consultant and driver coach, Al Unser Jr., the two-time Indy 500 champion. Unser (shown above with Chaves) acknowledges the differences in racing from his time to now, but praised Chaves for understands what it takes to run well.

“It’s quite simple,” said Unser. “The fundamentals of the Indy 500 are the same and they’ve been the same from the ‘50s and ‘60s. You first have to finish to finish first. The pit stops have to be made correctly.

“The fundamentals are the same. The formula of the way they’re driving these cars has changed immensely. We never ran wide open from full tanks to empty tanks every stop, and that’s what they do out there. They generally run in packs.

“Gabby’s in tune to that formula of racing. He’s out there, he knows what he needs to do. This is the maturity level that I’ve seen in him. He’s come up the (Mazda) Road to Indy and he’s been around for the last three or four years. He knows what these cars want, what they like and don’t like, so he’s a fantastic driver.”

For any driver, the goal is obvious – win. Chaves is no different. But as Unser said, he first has to finish before he can finish first.

Indianapolis, IN May 21st, 20917“We want to have a competitive car in the race and get ourselves inside the top 10 so that we can be there around the last 30 or 40 laps,” said Chaves. “If we can do that, then we’ve got a pretty realistic shot of finishing in the top five or even winning the thing.”

Al Unser Jr and Gabby

Harding Racing Third Quickest at Indianapolis 500 Debut

Indianapolis, IN – May 16, 2017 – The newly-formed Harding Racing team began its foray into the Verizon IndyCar Series with a fast lap of 223.991 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, claiming the third spot on Tuesday’s charts for the 101st running of the Indianapolis 500.

Driver Gabby Chaves took to the track in the No. 88 Harding Racing Chevrolet as he prepares to make his third start in the Greatest Spectacle in Racing. The Colombian American driver won the 2014 Indy Lights Championship and earned “Rookie of the Year” honors for both the 2015 Indy 500 and 2015 Verizon IndyCar Series season.

When the team completed six laps on Monday, Chaves stated, "Obviously we didn't get as many laps as we would've liked on day one here in the Harding Racing 88 car. But our plan has always been to go through both of our cars and make sure we know they're both working, and we did that. We would've liked to get some more laps but now we're ready to roll first thing tomorrow."

The Harding Racing crew delivered on that promise Tuesday, running 87 laps and jumping up the charts to P3 in the last 15 minutes of practice time.

“We’re very happy with the comeback we’ve made from yesterday when we got only six laps of running,” said Chaves. “To come out today, put in the amount of work that we did and get a little pick me up at the end of the day is definitely a good accomplishment. The Harding Racing crew did a hell of a job. This run doesn’t mean as much as race day, that’s what will count, but it’s a good sign of our potential going forward.”

Team Manager Larry Curry added, “Harding Racing took a great step forward today, the team jelled, Gabby did a great job and we’re really happy.”
Third Quickest at Indy 500 Debut