As MotorSportsTalk continues its driver-by-driver review, next up is Carlos Huertas, who won a race, finished 20th in points, and managed to remain the Colombian man of mystery throughout the year.
- Team: Dale Coyne Racing
- 2013: Did Not Participate
- 2014: 20th Place, 1 Win, Best Start 10th, 1 Podium, 1 Top-5, 3 Top-10s, 7 Laps Led, 17.9 Avg. Start, 15.9 Avg. Finish
The driver I had jokingly referred to as “TBA” throughout the offseason, Carlos Huertas made way more of a mark on the IndyCar paddock than I or probably a majority of observers thought he would, and in mostly good ways.
The young Colombian did basically all you can ask for in the second Dale Coyne Racing car. He brought the car home to the finish in all but two road or street races, he didn’t have any major accidents and you rarely made any mistakes. Pace-wise, he was never out of his depth in either qualifying or the race, and when you have Justin Wilson as a measuring stick, that’s a job well done. However he struggled on ovals, with two retirements due to dizziness, and that was really his only poor mark.
It still seems hard to fathom but yes, Huertas won a race this year, with a strategic gamble that paid off in Houston race one. It may fall on the “Mario Dominguez at Surfer’s Paradise” level of obscurity, and it was tainted afterwards for a slightly over capacity fuel tank, but it was still a lead he hung onto even when pressured. Other than the fact he rarely looked happy – some in the paddock referred to him as “Grumpy Cat,” to his dismay – Huertas was largely a pleasant surprise this season.