Talented 16-year-old teenager Colton Herta, son of Indianapolis 500-winning team owner Bryan Herta, will make his return Stateside in the 2017 Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires season.
The junior version of “Hertamania” has starred in Europe the last couple years with Carlin, and this year won four races in the EuroFormula Open championship. He has raced in the Mazda Road to Indy presented by Cooper Tires before, competing in all but one weekend of the 2014 Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship Powered by Mazda season. He missed the St. Petersburg weekend that year as he wasn’t 14 yet.
Now set to become one of the youngest drivers in Indy Lights history, Herta’s confirmation at Andretti Autosport is brought together following a linkup between the Andrettis and the Steinbrenner family.
The No. 98 Dallara IL-15 Mazda entry will be branded as a joint Andretti Autosport/Steinbrenner Racing effort, run by George Michael Steinbrenner IV, Hank Steinbrenner’s son and a grandson of longtime Yankees owner George Steinbrenner. Sean Jones, the youngest Steinbrenner’s stepdad, is a business partner of Bryan Herta’s, notably on the Bryan Herta Rallysport Red Bull Global Rallycross program.
“The Andrettis want to be partners with Steinbrenners; the Steinbrenners want to be partners with the Andrettis,” Hank Steinbrenner told the New York Times, in a piece which was first to announce the news this morning. “It’s a natural match.”
Herta completes Andretti’s expansion to a four-car lineup for 2017, along with previously announced teammates Dalton Kellett (No. 28), Nico Jamin (No. 27) and Ryan Norman (No. 48).
Lewis Hamilton and Sebastien Vettel are the two most decorated drivers currently on the Formula 1 grid, with seven World Championships between them (four for Vettel, and three for Hamilton).
However, their paths have rarely crossed on the track, and only in 2010 did both drivers battle each for a World Championship in the same year. They also battled Fernando Alonso and Mark Webber that year, with Vettel emerging on top to claim his first World Championship.
However, the 2017 season sees Hamilton and Vettel in the two best cars on the grid, and they have gone head-to-head multiple times already this year, with each claiming two victories through the first five races. Currently, Vettel leads Hamilton 104-98 in the world championship, and the two men are developing a strong on-track rivalry.
Monaco Grand Prix coverage continues with FP3 and qualifying on Saturday. Full times are linked here.
In Friday’s NASCAR AMERICA Motorsports Special on NBCSN, we take you behind the scenes during F1 superstar Fernando Alonso’s qualifying runs for the Indy 500, including when he was on the pole for a brief period. He’ll eventually start fifth.
On Friday’s NASCAR AMERICA Motorsports Special on NBCSN, Parker Kligerman and his backseat driver, Kyle Petty, took to the iRacing simulator to make a mock run around Indianapolis Motor Speedway in preparation for Sunday’s Indianapolis 500.
They look at the challenges of IMS, as well as the challenges two-time Formula One champion Fernando Alonso will face in the first oval track race in his illustrious career. Alonso is among the favorites in the race and will take the green flag from the middle of Row 2 (fifth position).
Check out the above video.
Sunday is the biggest day of the year in motorsports, starting in the morning with Formula 1’s legendary Monaco Grand Prix.
Then, at Noon ET, it’s the 101st running of the Indianapolis 500 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
The final part of the tripleheader of racing is NASCAR’s longest race of the season, the 400-lap, 600-mile Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway.
Newly-named NASCAR Hall of Fame Class of 2018 inductee Ken Squier gives you a great primer for what promises to be a memorable day around the world (see video above).