Colton Herta, Harding-Steinbrenner, IndyCar, Circuit of the Americas, 2019

Herta takes shock maiden win after Power stalls in pits


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IndyCar rookie Colton Herta scored a shock win in IndyCar’s first race at the Circuit of the Americas after long-time leader Will Power hit trouble in the pits.

Power dominated much of the race after starting from pole position, but lost what seemed a certain win when he stalled in the pits.

Herta, the 18-year-old son of IndyCar race-winner Bryan Herta, became the championship’s youngest-ever winner and handed Harding-Steinbrenner racing their first IndyCar victory.

While Herta profited from Power’s demise, he also made his pwn moves to reach the front having qualified an excellent fourth. He moved ahead of Ryan Hunter-Reay early on and pounced on the other Andretti of Alexander Rossi following a pit stop.

Round one winner Josef Newgarden extended his points lead with second place while Hunter-Reay completed the podium. Graham Rahal, formerly IndyCar’s youngest race-winner, claimed fourth position from 10th on the grid.

Rossio, who started alongside Power on the front row, slipped to ninth at the flag behind Sebastien Bourdais, Marco Andretti, Takuma Sato and Patricio O’Ward. Jack Harvey completed the top 10.

Felix Rosenqvist crashed out of the race after tangling with James Hinchcliffe in the run-off area at turn 19, and spinning into the barrier on the inside of the track.

Video: 2019 IndyCar round two: Circuit of the Americas

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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44 comments on “Herta takes shock maiden win after Power stalls in pits”

  1. Let the rumours begin…
    Which F1 team will Colton test for?

    1. To be frank, why should he? He’s currently second in the IndyCar series championship, and he’s unlikely to get a seat at Mercedes, Ferrari or Red Bull, so really, his chances of winning a race any time soon in F1 are pretty minimal, let alone be in contention for the championship.

      Sure, F1 is bigger globally, but IndyCar is on the upswing in the USA.

      I’m not seeing the incentive for him to test, except to pull a Jeff Gordon (ie, test for the fun of it).

    24th March 2019, 20:08

    Power claimed he felt something break when he dropped the clutch, theorized it was possibly an input shaft.

  3. Dutchguy (@justarandomdutchguy)
    24th March 2019, 20:21

    Very surprising twist at the end. I took my opportunity to take a bathroom break and when I came back, they were interviewing Power in the pitlane….

  4. So does this also make Steinbrenner the youngest team owner to win an Indycar race?

    1. I would think so.

  5. Really didn’t like how they let them just go wherever they wanted within the barriers, turn 19 looked ridiculous to me.

    1. Dutchguy (@justarandomdutchguy)
      24th March 2019, 20:47

      Better than F1, where drivers are at times free to battle each other so far off the track they are almost out of the facility, whislt another driver gets a time penalty for crossing the live by 1 cm…

      It looked a bit silly, but at least it was fair

    2. And despite being allowed complete freedom to exceed track limits, Will Power could only set a pole time of 1 minute, 46.0177 seconds; Hamilton managed 1:32.237 in 2018.

      14 seconds is a HUGE margin.

      1. Dutchguy (@justarandomdutchguy)
        24th March 2019, 21:09

        Yeah? And your point is ….?
        F1 cars have long been faster than their American counterparts…
        and both can make for good racing. Why do they always have to be compared?

        1. Indycar and F1 are perfect compliments, and learning to love them both will really even out your consumption of racing. You’ll have some quality, open-wheel racing every weekend that has the best of both worlds: a level playing field where 12+ drivers have a shot at victory one weekend and the glamorous pinnacle of motorsport technology the other.

          1. Well put.

          2. +1 this

            I’ve really enjoyed Indy these past few years, when you add it to FE (which is fast becoming my favourite single seater) there is good action almost every weekend now.

            While Indy is slower I would argue at tracks like COTA there is far more action than F1, so what it doesn’t have in speed it makes up in entertainment.

        2. IndyCar is not F1’s “American Counterpart”. They are two very different racing series with very different rule sets. IndyCar all use a spec Dallara body and chassis with a choice of roughly equal Chevy or Honda power as opposed to being constructors in their own right. In addition to being vastly less expensive, it is designed to lead to closer racing between teams. Additionally, IndyCar has to compete on a mix of oval, road course, and street course tracks. They are limited on the aero development and do not have the downforce that F1 cars develop, nor do they have the electric hybrid power to fire them out of the corners as F1 does. I’ve been to an F1 race at COTA and I just went to the IndyCar race there and I found both to be equally entertaining. In fact, F1 could learn a lot from Indy about fan involvement. Check out the IndyCar app; you get live timing and scoring, selectable driver telemetry, and real-time race commentary as well as driver/pit wall communications…for free. Really enjoyed Indycar’s inaugural COTA race and will go back!

      2. The slowest F1 car at the Circuit of the Americas Qualifying session for the F1 GP in 2018 was Stoffel Vandoorne’s McLaren which achieved a fastest lap time of 1:35.735, meaning every car on the F1 grid would have beaten Will Power.

      3. Indycars have about 700 HP, F1 has about 900 + 160 (depending on who you ask).

        Indycar also has substantially less downforce, which I suspect is the reason for the turn 19 silliness.

        Personally, I was waiting for someone to straight-line turns 3 – 7, and say “but you said there was no track limits….”

    3. GtisBetter (@)
      24th March 2019, 21:19

      I loved it. Just use all the tarmac you want 😆

    4. are you kidding?! it showed how completely absurd F1’s obsession with track limits has got over the past 4-5 years. just let them choose how to take a corner and play chicken with the outside of the tarmac. you don’t have to be a genius to see when someone has cut the inside if the track and needs to be penalised.

      superb race. gotta feel sympathy for Power and Rossi, but that’s the strategy element of Indycar – yes there’s a luck involved with the yellows but you can play it safe with strategy, and they didn’t.

      1. @graham228221

        it showed how completely absurd F1’s obsession with track limits has got

        It actually made me really appreciate F1’s approach to track limits a lot more than I did & I now want F1 (And other categories) to start taking a much more hardline approach to them.

        For me if you put 4 wheels over the white line regardless of by how much that lap in qualifying should be deleted & in the race you get 2 warnings & if you do it a 3rd you get a penalty. That should apply at every corner for both the inside kerb & outside.

        I thought Indycar ignoring track limits made a total mockery of the track layout, Potentially affected the safety requirements needed at that corner, Led to an accident & just looked totally ridiculous.

        1. petebaldwin (@)
          24th March 2019, 22:11

          If I was to order it in terms of my preference, it would be:

          1. Enforce track limits.
          2. Indycar’s approach – the drivers can do whatever they like.
          3. F1’s approach – no rules. The stewards will make it up on the weekend.

  6. I like to see a family rivalry in F1. Would be interesting if Verstappen and Herta cross paths in the future.

    I only wished if Haas F1 would have picked up Colton instead of Santino “Cobra Kai” Ferrucci.

  7. Obviously well done to Colton Herta for that drive. He had a pinch of luck, not unlike Verstappen in Spain, but made his own fortune especially on the restart where he built a 3 second gap over Newgarden even though the Penske driver had 3 times as much push-to-pass. He’s had flashes of brilliance in these first two races, but those last ten laps must have been the most blinding. That’s a Hamilton move. Bravo to his ex-teammate Pato O’Ward as well. Keep in mind, O’Ward lost his drive at Harding-Steinbrenner(read: Andretti sister-team with some of the best kit and engineers) this winter, subsequently missed testing and the St. Pete Grand Prix, and debuted here at CoTA with Carlin. This was his first race of the season with an unfamiliar team and he really delivered.

    As an aside, Will Power’s race-ruining trouble didn’t strictly start with the mechanical issue; he was forced to pit after a full-course yellow–grace à Hinchcliffe and Rosenqvist– which in this series effectively strips anyone who hasn’t yet pitted of their track position. Indycar closes the pit-lane during cautions meaning the drivers who pitted before the yellow gain an advantage since those who were staying out are forced to pit after the rest of the field catches them under the safety car. Apparently, Indycar has been looking at changing this since at least the end of 2017 per an Autosport article.

    1. Yeah, F1 learned the closing the pit lane during an SC was a bad idea after Alonso + Piquet Jr. demonstrated how it could be abused.

  8. Reading this just makes me feel old.

  9. I hated how they just let them ignore track limits, Really started to annoy me after a bit because of how utterly ridiculous it looked seeing them just ignore the corner & drive miles into the runoff at T19.

    It ended up making what it usually a fairly tight tricky little corner a lot more straightforward & less of a challenge due to how much more open the exit was with them getting on the throttle & straightening the steering at the apex rather than the exit as they would have needed to to stay within the white lines.

    And in the end it contributed to a silly looking bit of contact/accident which likely would not have happened had track limits been enforced.

    I also saw Karun Chandhok bring up a good point in that by running as far out into the runoff as they were they were altering the necessary safety requirements as the runoff & barriers are setup based around where the track is. By running as wide as they were the cars were going faster with quite a bit less room between them & the wall than everything there was configured for.

    I love Indycar but today the abuse of track limits made them look silly, Really didn’t like it at all.

    1. In addition seeing this today actually makes me want to see a much more hardline approach taken to track limits across every category with more done in terms of circuit design to prevent abuse.

      If you put 4 wheels over the white line regardless of by how much that lap in qualifying should be deleted & in the race you get 2 warnings & if you do it a 3rd you get a penalty. That should apply at every corner for both the inside kerb & outside.

      1. petebaldwin (@)
        24th March 2019, 22:13

        I 100% agree with your 2nd post. That’s how track limits should be managed. It’s the same in any other sport – if the ball goes over the side line, it’s out of play. No sport says “well… you went over the line but I don’t think you really gained an advantage so it’s ok this time.”

    2. No track limits with low downforce was a unique feature of the race. Made for some interesting moves.

      Put on your big boy pants and get over it.

  10. Echoing many comments, I too hated to see the disregard for track limits. It was patently absurd… like the rule on the pits being closed for yellow flags: makes those results farcical as far as I’m concerned. It’s so bad & random that teams often pit in hopes a late caution will catapult them to the top or near it. I can hardly take those race results seriously. It shouldn’t be that a driver can dominate the race (sometimes while being miserly on fuel, stretching the stint while still going fast… a skill that should be rewarded, IMO) but someone else bins it & all of a sudden the leading driver has to wait until the safety car bunches the field up before he can make his stop. I guess the powers that be enjoy the randomness it leads to, but motor racing has enough random for my liking as is. I’m aware it’s supposedly for safety but F1’s VSC shows at least one other alternative.

    1. I think the pits being closed for yellows until the field bunches would make more sense to you if you were to watch an oval race. It is a safety issue.

  11. Fantastic race! Colton Herta – PHENOM.

  12. Just an off the cuff comment about Sky Sports announcers and their suits and ties. Don’t get me wrong, they look really sharp, but come on, this is a “casual dress” event. How about some slacks and polo shirts?😜😜

  13. pastaman (@)
    25th March 2019, 2:13

    Power had already lost the race due to an untimely yellow flag. Stalling in the pits wasn’t the reason he lost the race, it was the reason he retired from the race.

    1. pastaman (@)
      25th March 2019, 2:17

      And I guess I should add that he didn’t actually stall the car, it was another issue on the car. If this site is going to cover the Indycar series, can we please get the facts straight (and also stop comparing lap times)

    2. Yeah, his day was basically done the moment that yellow came out. Maybe the fact that his final pit stop would likely have seen him retire even without the caution took some of the sting out of it, but I doubt it.

  14. Watching the highlights, I regretted skipping this race after watching that borefest at St Pete 2 weeks ago. Congratulations to Colton, looks like #88 is more successful in Indycar than in F1. Cries in wkwkwk kurwa

  15. Hinchcliff should have a penalty for taking out Rosenqvist.

    Yes, Felix was turning in, but he must do that, otherwise he goes into the barrier.

    If that was legal, anyone can take out the car in front with a nicely put front wheel bump.

  16. I enjoyed that, there was lots of close racing going on all throughout the field, some incredible saves from pushing the grip (just beyond) the limits, good strategy calls and the youngest ever winner in Indycar

    What’s not to like :)

  17. I really start to get into this indy thing, the races really are great, and i really like the way the drivers need to fight to keep the car on track. Congrats to Herta, we will definitely see more of that guy in the future.

    It was nice to see Marcus showing great race pace, from 16th up to 5th. Then due to a unsafe release in the pits at the end of the race he got relegated to the back of the grid, only to fight back up to 15th passing his team mate. Sad for him since he could have ended the race close to the top, but looks good for the upcoming races..

  18. And this is precisely the reason for not putting Bottas at the Australian GP to set the fastest lap on new tires.

  19. Even without Power’s retirement Herta would’ve won. He and Rossi were caught out by the full track caution and lost the big gap they’d built up. Great job from Herta in keeping Newgarden at bay.

  20. I had a look at the IndyCars’ race pace, to see if they could improve on their qualifying deficit to F1 (almost 14.2%).
    According to the official results, Colton Herta’s race-winning average speed of 102.271 mph (=164,589 kph) was a whopping 19.2% slower than Kimi Räikkönen’s at the 2018 United States Grand Prix.
    However, this comparison is unfair, as it does not reflect the IndyCars’ real race pace – the Safety Car period near the end of the race has to be taken into consideration. For this purpose, I calculated Colton Herta’s average speed at the time of his final pit stop, which he made just before the race was neutralised: If my math is correct, his average speed at that time was 175.329 kph (I didn’t bother with mph), i.e. 11.9% slower than the race-winning pace in F1.
    In terms of lap time this means that IndyCars’ deficit decreased from 13.2 seconds in qualifying to 12 seconds in the race.

    Two obvious factors play into this equation: Re-fuelling and tyres. IndyCar has a clear advantage in the race, as the cars do not need to drag the fuel load for an entire race distance with them. Even though their pit stops are considerably slower than F1’s, the advantage gained by being able to lap with a much lighter car more than compensates for this disadvantage. In fact, it is rather surprising to see that IndyCar didn’t manage to make larger inroads on F1 on race day. Even more so if you consider the fact that F1, unlike IndyCar, relies on hybrid power trains whose largest contribution to the total propulsion is greater in qualifying than in the races, as the cars usually cannot recharge their batteries completely in a single lap and therefore can only use a smaller amount of energy per lap on average.
    The answer to this puzzle has to be in the tyres. Despite the bad reputation of Pirelli’s desinged-to-degrade collection, last year’s F1 race was a trouble-free one-stopper for two thirds of the finishers. By comparison, IndyCar had to make do with tyres made of chewing gum, which allowed the teams to choose between a 3- or a 4-stopper, which meant that they inevitably ran out of fresh tyres before the final stint. Now, there was extremely little talk of tyre management in the broadcast, but I would put it down to the fact that this aspect of racing simply hasn’t reached the same level of awareness on the other side of the Pond. By looking at IndyCars’ lap times, however, it would seem that the tyres played a major role, even more so than in F1.

  21. IndyCar tires are designed to highly degrade also to make the racing better and more challenging. The number of pit stops are dependent on race length and the cars fuel economy. Some cars at the back of the grid may make the decision to go with a different strategy and try to “save fuel” and try for a 3 rather than 4 pit stop race where possible to have a shot at winning. This means short shifting and coasting when possible rather than all out speed.

    The bottom line is they are completely different formulas. IndyCar costs a fraction of F1, have less HP and down force, are MUCH harder to drive (ask Marcus Ericsson), and produce consistently better racing. Stupid to say one is better than the other. If you love open wheel racing love them both. There’s more to watch and love!

  22. I think because they know they are coming in for fuel 3-4 times already during the race, they can afford to be more carefree with tires. In F1 tire wear + mandatory change rule is the only thing that dictates your pitstops. They did talk about tire management a little on the US broadcast: reds vs blacks, cold tires needing to come to temperature after pitting (no warming allowed), and tires dropping off at the end of a stint, but your correct that it isn’t as nuanced/end-all be-all as it is in F1.

    As far as lap time discrepancies, you might also consider downforce produced for cornering and overall peak BHP, which I’ve heard favors F1 by something like 900+hybrid to 650.

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