PLYMOUTH, Wis – Pole sitter Colton Herta was hoping Sunday’s REV Group Grand Prix at Road America would be the race that ends his recent slump. On Saturday, he became the youngest pole sitter in the history of the NTT IndyCar Series. Back on March 24, he became the youngest winner in the series too.
Can he get his second career Indy Car win in Sunday’s 55 Lap race?
Two of the three years that the series had been coming back to Elkhart Lake, the pole sitter won. The odds were in his favor. But, Herta had the wrong strategy from the get go. He started off on scuffed Firestone Alternate tires. When everyone else around him was on fresh rubber, it was hard for him to hold off Alexander Rossi at the start.
Rossi, got by Herta on the first few corners and checked out. Herta, was just holding on past that point. His tires fell off quicker than everyone else’s as he even made contact with Will Power while trying to hang onto the second spot.
The next lap, he hit pit lane.
Then, while on pit lane, they had a fuel hose issue which cost him dearly. The lengthy stop took him from second to outside of the top five. From there, Herta was trying to push too hard and made contact with Simon Pagenaud while battling for sixth. Herta, would briefly go off track and lose a couple of spots by virtue of that.
He would rebound due to having a quick race car, but have to settle for an eighth place finish in his No. 88 Honda. While it’s not a podium like he wanted, he’ll take it, especially how the last few months have gone for him.
But, it as a finish of what might have been. Herta, was running on Firestone Reds at the end so he went from sixth after the final pit sequence to fifth. But, those tires fell off so quickly, he was holding on at the end again. Unfortunately, he made a mistake which cost him a finish of fifth to eighth.
“Tough day at Road America today,” said Herta. “We struggled on the Firestone red (alternate) tires, which caused us to lose a few spots at the end of the race. But overall, the No. 88 GESS RNG Biogas Capstone Honda guys were great all weekend. The car was so quick, it was a lot of fun to drive it. Now we shift focus to street course racing in Toronto.”
The races between his win at COTA and this one have been anything but memorable for the Harding Steinbrenner Racing driver.
At Barber, he qualified ninth but had an electrical issue early on and would finish 24th. A week later, he started 10th in Long Beach but made a mistake and finished 23rd.
In the INDYCAR Grand Prix he qualified fourth but was involved in an early race incident. He’d finish 23rd again. For the Indy 500, he started fifth but an electrical issue cost him dearly as he’d finish 33rd. He only completed 18 laps for the entire Month of May in race conditions.
At Belle Isle, he started fifth and fourth respectively but only finished 12th in each race. In the last race at Texas, he qualified 10th but was involved in a crash with Scott Dixon with 20 laps-to-go and would finish 18th as a result.