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Colton Herta: IndyCar’s face of ‘Post-Millennial’ Generation

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ELKHART LAKE, Wisconsin – At home, Colton Herta is a typical 19-year-old kid who lives in his parent’s basement, plays video games on his TV and computer and often gets fussed at for not cleaning up his room by his mother. Sometimes, his buddies come over to play Fortnight, Rainbow Six Siege and Apex Legends on the computer or just hang out.

On the weekends, though, Herta is anything but a typical 19-year-old.

He is one of the top young drivers that has entered the NTT IndyCar Series in years. The son of four-time IndyCar Series race winner Bryan Herta scored a victory in just the second race of his rookie season when he won the INDYCAR Classic at Circuit of the Americas (COTA) on March 24. That was just a week short of his 19thbirthday making him the youngest winner in IndyCar history.

Since that historic win, Herta was one of the fastest drivers during the “Month of May” at the 103rdIndianapolis 500, qualifying fifth on the grid. He had gearbox failure at the start of the race and finished 33rdafter completing just three laps.

Watch Road America race at noon, et on NBC

He continued his stretch of decent qualification results with a fifth-place and fourth-place in the two races at Detroit, before dropping back to 10thtwo weeks ago at Texas Motor Speedway.

Young Herta put on an incredible charge to the front in the DXC Technology 600 and was set to pass Scott Dixon for second place with just 19 laps left in the race when the two cars made contact in Turn 3. Both cars crashed and instead of battling for the win, Herta finished 18thand got a bit of a lecture from Dixon, a five-time champion who is considered to be the “Voice of the IndyCar Garage” because of his unquestioned respect.

“We talked to each other and all I wanted was advice on what he thought happened and what he would have done in my position,” Herta told NBC Sports.com Friday morning at Road America as he prepares for Sunday’s REV Group Grand Prix. “It was a bit of a shock to me what happened, but it was nice for me to talk about it and what he felt.

“He was perfect. He wasn’t a Dick in any way. It’s easy in his position to be that way where he could be a D-Bag. He is very powerful in the series. He has a lot of following, a five-time champion and most successful modern-day driver.

“But that’s not what he’s like. He took the time to talk to me. He didn’t have to, but he did and I respect that.”

Herta is doing all of this at an age where the typical “Post-Millennial” has yet to decide what they want to do for the rest of the lives. He often has to stop back and say to himself, ‘Wow, this is pretty cool.”

“Not even my age, but to be a professional race car driver and this is the way you earn a living, it’s pretty cool,” Herta said. “Even though it’s frustrating and you try to do the best you can, I sometimes step back after a frustrating day and say, ‘This is what I get to do. I’m pretty lucky.’”

Herta, like many his age, don’t have any plans on getting his own place any time soon.

“The basement is my home,” Herta said. “I don’t plan on moving anywhere any time soon because I want to live in California and it’s quite expensive.

“Once I get home, it’s worth it. Honestly, it’s really nice living at home. A lot of older people would like to live at home. My Mom makes my meals for me every night and it’s perfect. I’ve tried to get her to do my laundry, but she doesn’t. Sometimes, she will yell at me for not cleaning up my room.”

Herta isn’t a late-night teenager because he starts his workout at 6 a.m.

“I’m like an old person already,” Herta said. “Early to bed, early to rise. I love video games, though and that sometimes hampers the sleeping schedule because I will stay up until midnight playing video games.

“A lot of my friends like to play golf and now that college is out for the summer, a lot of them come over at night. A lot of college kids don’t have a lot of discipline, but if you love what you are doing, it’s really easy to be disciplined to get to do the job that you love doing.”

Because Herta is now an NTT IndyCar Series rookie, he has to look at his fellow drivers as competitors and not heroes. But growing up, Herta’s heroes on the track included his dad, the late Dan Wheldon and Dario Franchitti.

“They were spectacular in that era,” Herta said. “They dominated for a stretch of time, too. They were also the fastest guys and the ones winning the most, as well.”

Herta is rapidly becoming a hero to a younger group of IndyCar fans, including some who would probably not pay any attention to the sport of auto racing unless a driver from their age group was competing for race wins.

He is hopeful of giving that crowd something to cheer about in Sunday’s 55-lap race at the 4.014-mile, 14-turn Road America race course.

“We’re still competing and we’re still fast wherever we go,” Herta said. “It is important to understand all of the disciplines and get up to speed as quick as possible and go from there.

“This track is very similar to COTA, which is a track where we have won at. Hopefully, the same thing can happen here.”

Karam, Daly get IndyCar rides with Carlin for Iowa

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NEWTON, Iowa – Sage Karam returns for the second-straight race and Conor Daly is back for another race with Carlin Racing at this weekend’s Iowa 300 NTT IndyCar Series race at Iowa Speedway.

For Karam, it’s his third start of the 2019 season and his second straight with Carlin. In his five starts at Iowa Speedway dating back to 2010, Karam has never finished outside of the top three, recording four wins (USF2000 – 2010, Indy Pro 2000 – 2011 and 2012, Indy Lights – 2013) and scoring his first NTT IndyCar Series podium in 2015 with a third-place finish.

“I’m really excited to be back again this weekend with Carlin and SmartStop Self Storage for the Iowa 300. Iowa Speedway has always been a good track for me in the past, so I’m really looking forward to getting back to work there,” Karam said. “Coming off of a very productive weekend in Toronto, I’m looking forward to applying everything I’ve learned and continuing to work with the team to get the best results possible. A huge thank you to everyone at Carlin and SmartStop Self Storage for a great opportunity to race at one of my favorite tracks.”

Daly is back in a second Carlin entry. Earlier this year, the popular driver finished 11th for Carlin in the DXC Technology 600 at Texas Motor Speedway on June 8. At Iowa, he will drive the team’s No. 23 Gallagher Chevrolet.

Daly finished 10th in the Indianapolis 500 presented by Gainbridge for Andretti Autosport.

Daly raced at Iowa in 2016 for Dale Coyne Racing (finishing 21st) and in 2017 for A.J. Foyt Racing (finishing 19th).

The combination gives Carlin two more drivers to gather additional feedback on the car. Max Chilton remains the team’s primary driver but announced recently that he will forego all oval races to concentrate on street and road courses.

That created opportunities for Karam and Daly.

“We were very impressed with Sage’s steady progression throughout the Toronto race weekend and his willingness to learn and adapt,” said Carlin Team Principal Trevor Carlin. “The fact that he hadn’t been on a street course since 2015 and was still able to come right out of the gate confident and constantly improving every session was extremely impressive.

“The SmartStop Self Storage Chevrolet looked great out on track and their group has been a pleasure to work with, so we couldn’t be more pleased to have them back this weekend in Iowa. Sage has done really well in Iowa in the past, so hopefully we can use his experience and our past success at Iowa Speedway to come away with a good result for the team and our partners at SmartStop Self Storage.”

The Iowa 300 at Iowa Speedway will take place on Saturday, July 20th at 7:15 pm ET and will be televised on NBCSN.