Colton Herta adds to rich family legacy with win at Laguna Seca


MONTEREY, California – Colton Herta is like many 19-year-old kids who still live at home with Mom and Dad and have their buddies over to play video games and raid the family fridge.

But his father, Bryan, likes to point out that his young son is not a basement dweller.

“We don’t have a basement,” Bryan Herta told “We live in California. But he still lives at home. He’s still a great kid. His buddies still come over to our house, eat all of our food and drink all of our drinks out of our refrigerator. They just graduated high school together.

“I’m proud of him because despite all the success he has had, he is still the same good kid that he grew up as. That is as important to me as all of the wins in the world.”

This is where Herta is not the average 19-year-old.

He drives a race car in the NTT IndyCar Series and on Sunday, the son of four-time IndyCar Series race winner Bryan Herta capped off his rookie season with his second victory of the year in the Firestone Grand Prix of Monterey.

It was a season where Herta exceed his rookie promise with three poles and two wins. He won Sunday’s race at WeatherTech Raceway at Laguna Seca from the pole, celebrated the win in victory lane, then joined his buddies and drove back to his home in Santa Clarita, California.

Sunday night meant Taco Night with his buddies.

Colton Herta is living the dream – win an IndyCar race on Sunday afternoon on the Monterey Peninsula and then drive home to Southern California to hang out with his friends and family Sunday night.

“I love living at home, and I love having home-cooked meals,” Colton Herta told “I love it so much because I have time away. I lived in Europe for two-and-a-half years, and it was like going to college for me. Every college kid learns it’s not fun not being at home.

“It was great to be back, and I do love being at home, but I don’t know how long I’ll be at home for.”

From the mid- to late-1990s, Bryan Herta was the most dominant driver at Laguna Seca Raceway. He won three consecutive poles from 1997-99 with back-to-back victories in 1998 and ’99.

From 1995-99, he never qualified lower than second place and could have won in 1996 if not for Alexander Zanardi pulling off “The Pass” in the “Corkscrew” section on the final lap.

Sunday was IndyCar’s return to Laguna Seca for the first time since the 2004 Champ Car Series race. So, it was only natural that a Herta return to victory lane.

“It’s amazing,” father Bryan said. “This track, so many memories here. I think back to a year ago I drove the California 8-hour race here and shared a car with Colton, and we won that race and now he wins this race today.

“I could not be happier with what he has done. He has done amazing.”

His first career victory came in the IndyCar Classic at Circuit of the Americas (COTA) on March 24. Team Penske driver Will Power dominated that race until he waited too long to pit and was caught out of position by the only caution period of the race. After Power pitted, that put Herta in the lead, and he went on to become the youngest winner in IndyCar Series history just one week short of his 19thbirthday.

Sunday at Monterey, Herta’s Honda started on the pole and led 83 of 90 laps at the 11-turn, 2.238-mile road course.

“We had the dominant car and the dominant pace the whole time, so this does mean a lot to me,” Colton said. “I don’t want to say it was handed to me at COTA because it wasn’t. I had to work for it at the end. This still means a lot, and it means even more being at Laguna.”

He held off three of this sport’s great drivers, 2014 IndyCar Series champion Will Power, five-time IndyCar champion Scott Dixon and 2016 champion and reigning Indianapolis 500 winner Simon Pagenaud.

“He was under pressure the entire race, intense pressure from the very best guys in the sport,” Bryan Herta explained. “He was able to withstand all of it and not put a wheel wrong. I think he can be very proud of his performance today.

“It’s hard to rank them because it’s so hard to win. It’s so hard to win anywhere. He had to fight off Dixon for a lot of the race. He had to fight off Power. He had to fight off Pagenaud at one point. He was able to fend off all the challenges they had for him.”

Colton Herta entered the season with lofty expectations as a highly touted Indy Lights Series driver.

He exceeded those expectations in his rookie season.

He was not the Rookie of the Year, however as Chip Ganassi Racing’s Felix Rosenqvist finished sixth in the NTT IndyCar Series standings, one position ahead of Herta in the final standings.

“All credit to Felix,” Bryan said. “Felix had a great rookie season. This was an amazing rookie class. All four of the guys that were in it for the season, I think you are going to hear a lot more from in IndyCar. It didn’t go Colton’s way in the rookie of the year championship, but three poles and two wins, I think he can hold his head high.

“Colton had an amazing rookie season.”

The history of IndyCar racing includes some great second-generation drivers including the Vukoviches, Bettenhausens and Unsers.

Add the Herta name to that list, but that doesn’t mean the son drives the same as his father.

“I don’t know at my peak how it compared to what he does out there now, but he is not a different version of me,” Bryan said. “He does his own thing. He has his own driving style. He is a lot more aggressive than I was. He is maximizing what I do in the car, and he showed that today.”

Next season, Herta and his Harding Steinbrenner team move over to Andretti Autosport, where five drivers will operate out of the same racing shop. He expects to be even better next season and believes an Indy 500 victory and a series championship are realistic goals.

“I think it helps having everyone under the same roof,” Bryan said. “Everything this program was intended to do this year it did and more. It has worked so well for everybody involved. We just said, let’s make this more formal. Let’s bring it all together and let’s remove whatever separation still exists and make it one team.”

The offseason begins for young Colton, who will focus on his punk rock band, “The Zibs.”

“I have a punk band with some buddies of mine, and we have a West Coast Tour coming up,” Colton said. “It’s November 22 to 27 and we play Phoenix, San Diego, Los Angeles, Fresno, Sacramento and San Francisco. Be on the lookout. We’ll announce some details soon.”

Colton Herta represents the bold new future of IndyCar. He father represents the recent past.

On Sunday, past and future, father and son converged on the Monterey Peninsula in Victory Lane at Laguna Seca.

“It was so cool, and it was so awesome,” Colton said. “Twenty years ago, was his last win here. It’s really cool.

“I’ll put this suit up next to his suit from his 1999 victory.”

Follow Bruce Martin on Twitter @BruceMartin_500

IndyCar champion Will Power completes ‘Victory Lap’ at ceremony in Indianapolis

Will Power Victory Lap
Chris Owens/Penske Entertainment

INDIANAPOLIS – Will Power went on his “Victory Lap” last week to celebrate his second career championship as the 2022 NTT IndyCar Series champion.

It began with several media interviews in Monterey, California, the day after he won the championship with a third-place finish in the Sept. 11 Firestone Grand Prix of Monterey.

From there, it was off to Los Angeles for more interviews and personal appearances that included a VIP Tour at the Petersen Automotive Museum, several appearances on SiriusXM and lunch at The Ivy, where the Team Penske IndyCar Series driver was treated to Wagyu Beef.

“It was one of the best steaks I’ve ever had in my life,” Power told

From L.A. back to Power’s North Carolina home, near Team Penske’s home base of Mooresville, there was one stop left on Sept. 17 — the Victory Lap Celebration at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Museum, an invitation-only banquet where Power and his No. 12 Verizon Chevrolet crew at Team Penske were honored for the 2022 NTT IndyCar Series championship.

They didn’t even have to check into a hotel and spend another night on the road. Power and his team left on a Team Penske plane from the Statesville, N.C., airport at 4 p.m. ET Saturday to fly to Indianapolis. On arrival an hour later, a limo bus took the team to IMS.

Power led the 2022 season with five NTT P1 Awards for pole, earning the NTT P1 Award as the best qualifier of the season for the fifth time in his career. Power also made history with his 68th career pole, breaking the all-time mark held by the legendary Mario Andretti.

Power and Scott Dixon also became just two of only five drivers to complete every lap of every race in IndyCar Series history.

“What a year,” Power said as he was awarded his personal Astor Cup trophy (the second in his collection after the 2014 championship. “What a phenomenal year coming off one of my worst seasons personally. We came back with a vengeance.

“I want to thank Roger and Kathy Penske for everything they have done for me over the years. I wouldn’t be standing here and have the numbers I have without what Roger has done for me. I’m given a car every week that is capable of winning the pole, races, championships, and Indianapolis 500s. I’m so grateful for that.

“Also, to Greg Penske, you are there every week now at every event and I know we will be in good hands moving forward with the Penske Family.”

There are many on Power’s team and at home, that helped support Power throughout his career. None is bigger than Power’s wife, Liz, who told Power before the season that he would win the championship and break Andretti’s record.

“I must thank my wife. I’m so lucky to have a wife with that crystal ball that can tell me what is going to happen,” Power said. “I can’t think you enough, babe. I love you so much and you have been a big support to me my whole career. We’ve been together 17 years, and I’ve been in the series 17 years. She has been such a huge support to me. The mother of our child and she is a fantastic mother.

“She can’t tell the future. She just had faith in me.”

Liz Power’s premonition came true and that allowed Power and his No. 12 Dallara-Chevrolet team to celebrate Penske’s 17th IndyCar championship and 42nd title in the racing team’s history.

“The 12 crew this year, I’ve never had such a great group of guys,” Power said. “Trevor Lacasse (chief mechanic) is such a calm guy, but he does such a meticulous job on the preparation of the car. He is very, very good at keeping the whole crew happy. It feels as if there is no pressure on us. That’s a huge part in getting the most out of people. It was our first year together with you as a crew chief. What a great year to start our relationship.

“Dave Faustino (Power’s longtime engineer), we’ve worked together for 15 years. He’s almost like a wife to me, a partner … apart from sleeping together. We have a very good working relationship. Sorry Dave, I’m an awkward person and you are not.

“The things we have been through in our years together, it’s crazy that we continually improve and get better. We are standing on the podium after winning the championship and we are talking about the car, the race, and the tires. We weren’t talking about the championship.

“We never stop. The other boys were laughing at us, but I’m already thinking about next year.

“Ron Ruzewski (Team Penske IndyCar Managing Director and strategist) on the radio, always calm. He has actually made me a calm person. I rarely get upset on the radio anymore.”

Power also recognized the fans who helped boost attendance at many venues on the schedule this season as NBC Sports enjoyed its largest IndyCar audience yet.

“This series is growing,” Power said. “With open wheel racing now so popular because of Formula One, it’s really our time to push and put money behind it and go now and take IndyCar to another level because we have the best racing product in the world.

“I have to thank my teammates and (Team Penske president) Tim Cindric. I can’t tell you how hard we push each other. We are ultracompetitive and love each other and push each other hard, so thank you.”

Power won the championship by 16 points over hard-charging teammate Josef Newgarden, who finished second in the standings for the third year in a row.

“Overall, I’m filled with a lot of pride for our team and what we were able to do this year,” Newgarden said in his banquet address. “Any year that you step in the championship, you can easily see the challenges it presents everybody.

“It’s a very difficult challenge for the teams and drivers. To be a part of it, make it through it and for us at Team Penske, to topple it, is a very big deal. We’re all competitive.

“The tough thing about being in a championship fight, especially with teammates is we all want to be the best. That’s how it should be. We are competitive people and want to be the best. But it’s a team sport.

“Will, tremendous season, great, great job. I think the world of everybody on our team. It’s a big group. I’m so happy for all of you on the 12-car crew. There is so much we can take into next year.”

Six-time NTT IndyCar Series champion Scott Dixon was unable to attend the banquet because of the Goodwood Festival in England but sent congratulations to Power via a video message.

“I really want to congratulate Will Power,” Dixon said. “You drove a tremendous season this year. Even with some of the lows that you had, some of the mistakes with qualifying, you bounced back tremendously. I know how tough these championships are and to see you do it in the style that you did it in the last race of the season, massive congratulations.”

Power’s championship formula included one victory, nine podiums and 12 top-five finishes. Teammate Josef Newgarden was second in the championship with five wins but only six podiums.

Cindric saluted Power’s season in accepting the championship team owner award.

“Will, you took it to another level this year,” Cindric said. “You are the complete package. You completed every lap, had nine podiums, finished out of the top 10 just four times, broke Mario Andretti’s record, and you did it all without cussing at the officials on national TV.

“One complaint I do has is while most of us think you might be from another planet, you never told us your wife was a fortune teller.”

Cindric also honored the seasons of Penske drivers Newgarden and Scott McLaughlin, who won three times in his second full season (“You are one of only two full-time IndyCar drivers that has driven for us in the past 23 years that hasn’t won an Indy 500 or an IndyCar championship. Your time is coming.”).

Kyle Moyer was named team manager of the year (his fifth time and Penske’s sixth). Pennzoil presented Lacasse with the chief mechanic of the year for the first time, the sixth time for Team Penske. The No. 12 crew also won the Firestone Pit Performance Award for the most pit stop performance award points in 2022.

Power, Newgarden and McLaughlin delivered nine of Chevrolet’s series-leading 11 victories this season, helping Chevy win the Manufacturer Award for the seventh time since it returned to the series in 2012 and the first time since 2017. Jim Danahy, U.S. vice president, Competition Motorsports Engineering for Chevrolet, accepted the award on behalf of his team.

Christian Lundgaard was honored as the 2022 NTT IndyCar rookie of the year. Lundgaard, from Denmark, scored one podium, two top-five finishes and seven top-10s in the No. 30 Honda fielded by Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing. He edged David Malukas of Dale Coyne Racing with HMD by 18 points in the standings for first-year series drivers.

Christian Lundgaard (Chris Owens/Penske Entertainment)

“It’s been a tough season and looking at how it panned out, we struggled so much at the beginning of the season and how we were able to turn it around means so much to me and the team,” Lundgaard said. “It’s the one thing that you only get one shot at. I’m happy to have it.

“Being the first Dane at the Indy 500 certainly helps. Competing here for me is quite important and also special. To win this award and to be here in future years means so much to me. I have a chance to compete for wins and championships.

“This team gave me this opportunity at this track one year ago. We came back and got redemption. We got our first podium here. This year was 40 years ago that Bobby Rahal won the same award. It’s pretty special to keep it among the team.”

Sweden’s Linus Lundqvist was honored as Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires champion after a dominant season for HMD Motorsports with Dale Coyne Racing. Lundqvist won a series-high five races in the No. 26 HMD Motorsports with Dale Coyne Racing entry and clinched the Lights championship with a race to spare, ending with a 92-point advantage over Sting Ray Robb. HMD Motorsports with Dale Coyne Racing owners Henry and Daiva Malukas accepted the team championship.

“I’m very proud of that,” Lundqvist said. “It’s cool to see. We are starting to look to the future, and this might not be doing too bad. It’s been great. As most of you can guess with Henry and Daiva Malukas (team owners), it’s been an incredible journey. So much fun that we’ve had. To be on the grid this year was so much of a struggle for us. I didn’t even know I would be doing this until January.

“To be able to pull out the season that we had, I cannot thank this team enough. We will celebrate this for a long time. I’m so happy and proud about that.”

Outgoing IndyCar Director of Medical Affairs Dr. Geoffrey Billows also was honored as he is leaving that role while battling cancer.

“When I think of Dr. Billows, I think of two words,” IndyCar president Jay Frye said. “One is selfless and the other is tough. He’s gone through a lot these last couple of years, and he didn’t want anybody to know. He’s an amazing man, and we are very grateful for what you have done.”

Dr. Geoffrey Billows with IndyCar president Jay Frye (Chris Owens/Penske Entertainment)

Billows was presented with a framed checkered flag signed by all drivers in the series as well as other IndyCar officials and dignitaries.

“I was not expecting this at all,” Billows said. “This means so much for me to be part of this family for the past 30 years. I’ve been presented with opportunities I never thought I would ever have. I can’t tell you how much I love all of you guys and care for all of you guys.

“Thank you so much. I want to also thank my wife, Tammy, who has been a pillar of strength as I continue on this journey with cancer for the past two years as well. You will still see me as a consultant because I love this too much to quit altogether.”

When the evening concluded, Team Penske boarded a bus to the airport for the short return flight to Statesville. They were home by midnight.

Power’s Victory Lap was complete.

“The best thing about this is I get to sleep in my own bed tonight,” Power said.

Follow Bruce Martin on Twitter at @BruceMartin_500