Colton Herta wins inaugural IndyCar Classic at COTA, becomes youngest winner in series history

4 Comments

It was a weekend of firsts in Austin, Texas for the NTT IndyCar Series.

For the Circuit of the Americas, Sunday’s IndyCar Classic was the first visit by the series to the 3.41-mile, 20-turn road course.

For Harding Steinbrenner Racing, Sunday’s victory was the first in team history, and for their rookie driver, 18-year-old-Colton Herta, Sunday’s win is the first in his relatively short IndyCar career.

After qualifying an impressive fourth in only his third series start, Herta ran up front all afternoon, and through the luck of a late caution and a mechanical failure for leader Will Power, the young driver found himself leading the pack to the green flag in the race’s only restart with 11 laps to go.

Herta would not relinquish his lead, and took the checkered flag to become the youngest winner in IndyCar Series history at 18 years, 11 months, and 25 days. The previous record was set by Graham Rahal in the 2008 Grand Prix of St. Petersburg, when Rahal was 19 years, three months and 2 days old.

“We were not expecting that,” Herta, who turns 19 on Saturday, told NBC Sports. “I think we were going to get a podium. We had the pace for that, but holy crap, man. I am worn out!”

Running as high as second to Power in the early moments of the race, Herta made his final pit stop on lap 43 under green. At that point, it had still appeared that Power was on his way to his first win of the season, as the Team Penske driver had led every lap up until then.

However, when James Hinchcliffe and Felix Rosenqvist made contact on lap 44, Rosenqvist’s car hit the barrier and brought out the only caution of the race. Power, as well as Alexander Rossi, Scott Dixon and others went into the pits under yellow to make their final stops, giving Herta the lead. Power’s drive shaft would also break when he attempted to leave his pit box, ending the Aussie’s chances of winning the race and collecting a $100,000 bonus offered by the track to any driver who could win from the pole.

“I just want to have a good run, man,” Power told NBC Sports. “I just want to have a normal run in a season without this sort of crap.”

Josef Newgarden, who won the season-opening Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg, finished second, with Ryan Hunter-Reay, Graham Rahal and Sébastien Bourdais rounding out the top five.

Positions six through 10 were filled by Marco Andretti, Takuma Sato, Patricio O’Ward (in his first start for Carlin), Alexander Rossi, and Jack Harvey.

Zach Veach finished 22nd after spinning off the track and into a gravel pit on Lap 1. Rosenqvist was credited with 23rd and Power was last after his mechanical issues caused him to be the only DNF of the race.

The next race on the 2019 NTT IndyCar Series calendar is the Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama, with will take place on April 7 at Barber Motorsports Park. Coverage begins at 4:00 PM ET on NBCSN.

Official Results

Follow Michael Eubanks on Twitter

Dean Wilson out for rest of Supercross season

SupercrossLIVE.com
Leave a comment

“Such a massive gut punch on Saturday,” Dean Wilson wrote on Instagram on Tuesday. “Just as I was gaining good momentum riding well, feeling good and chasing my first win things turned in the blink of an eye.”

With that post, Wilson announced that he will be out for the remainder of the Supercross season, which includes races at East Rutherford, N.J. and Las Vegas, Nev. An MRI earlier in the week revealed a shoulder injury. He also sustained damage to his kidney in a Lap 8 accident while he was running in the top 10.

Wilson’s injuries will not require surgery.

Wilson’s season began with a lot of promise. Earning the holeshot in the season-opening race at Anaheim, Wilson led for a time before narrowly missing the podium in fourth.

Two weeks later, Wilson finished fifth overall in the Triple Crown event of Anaheim II. Those are his only top-fives of the season.

“The tough part of this is I have been trying so hard this year to be back where I need to be trying to get a job for next year,” Wilson continued.

View this post on Instagram

Such a massive gut punch on Saturday. Just as I was gaining good momentum riding well, feeling good and chasing my first win things turned in the blink of an eye. Started off Denver topping free practice then went on to qualify P1 in qualifier 1. Qualifier 2 didn’t get the cleanest laps but ended with a 4th. On to the main event I was running around 7th on lap 7 moving forward and as I came around for the rhythm section I tripled in and something freak happened causing the bike to nose dive after I tripled in and pile driving me into the ground. The tough part of this is I have been trying so hard this year to be back where I need to be trying to get a job for next year. It’s tough just hoping to have a ride each year. 2nd part is people saying “wilson’s hurt again, big surprise there” when it was something that wasn’t my fault. It’s a tough pill To swallow.. I injured my shoulder and got a contusion on my kidneys. Got MRI and good news is I dodged a bullet on my shoulder and I am just going to give it a few weeks of rest and therapy and see where we are at. Huge disappointment to end my SX season like this. Thanks to my whole team for everything and everybody checking in on me. I really appreciate it. I will be back.

A post shared by D E A N O (@deanwilson15) on

Next Race: East Rutherford April. 27, on NBCSN and on NBC Sports Gold

Follow Dan Beaver on Twitter