Rockin’ and Racin’: Colton Herta and ‘The Zibs’ to tour this month

Photo Courtesy of Jon Graber

Colton Herta may be best known as one of the rising stars of the NTT IndyCar Series, but away from the track, the 19-year-old Californian can be found in a loud, fast-paced environment of a completely different kind.

In his spare time, Herta plays drums in the Zibs, a punk rock group he helped start a year ago with a few of his friends from high school.

Later this month, the Zibs will go on their first tour, with five stops in California and Arizona within a five-day stretch. 

Hetra takes pride in his drumming abilities, but don’t think he’s going to trade in his already successful racing career to pursue a full-time musical career. Despite the Zibs’ rising popularity, racing still remains Herta’s first passion.

“It definitely started as a hobby,” Herta told NBC Sports. “Obviously, it’s grown a little bit more serious with us getting booked for shows and stuff, but we still all do it for fun.

“Racing is the priority and it always has been, but this is kind of a fun thing to do with the time off that I get.”

Herta isn’t the only racer who enjoys jamming out on the drums. Fellow IndyCar competitor Will Power is also a talented drummer, as is NASCAR’s Bubba Wallace. 

But in the Zibs, Herta isn’t the only star of the show. He is joined by guitarist Adam Snow, bassist Chris Broadbent and lead singer Jon Graber.

Prior to the formation of the Zibs, none of the members aside from Snow had ever played in a band before, and Graber said he remembers what inspired the original trio of him, Herta and Broadbent to create the band.

“We played a lot of RockBand, the video game,” Graber said “We decided that we wanted to just start a band because we got bored of the video game.”

“I picked up drums when I was about eight or nine and then I stopped playing for a bit,” Herta said. “I thought it would be fun to just try and play again.

“Chris and Jon actually did not know how to play an instrument in the beginning and so they learned from the ground up.”

Now, a year later, the Zibs is ready to embark on their first tour. The band will perform alongside “I Set My Friends on Fire” and “Everyone Dies in Utah” during all five stops, and Graber, who is studying music in college, is looking forward to hit the road for a week. 

“It’s super exciting,” Graber said. “Super nervous, but it’s mostly exciting. I just can’t wait for it.”

Graber also said that the band is planning to release an album online before the tour, and is hopeful to perform more shows following the tour, but the main goal for the group still remains the same: to have fun and make music that they enjoy.

“We just love playing,” Graber said. “That’s like our main thing.

“We’re friends playing music together. We’re not like a band that became friends. We’re friends that became a band. That’s what we like to stress.”

With their first show just three weeks away, the Zibs hope to draw a great crowd for each performance, and although Herta’s involvement with the band is completely different from his racing duties, IndyCar fans are more than welcome to attend any and all of the Zibs performances.

“I’d love to see some people out if they’re interested and have the time off,” Herta said.

The Zibs’ 2019 tour is below. Music by the band can also be found on Apple Music, Spotify and Youtube

Nov. 22: The Boardwalk – Orangevale, CA

Nov. 23: Downtown Santa Ana – Santa Ana, CA

Nov. 24: 1720 – Los Angeles, CA

Nov. 25: Full Circle Brewery – Fresno, CA

Nov. 26: Club Red – Mesa, AZ


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IndyCar Power Rankings: Pato O’Ward moves to the top entering Texas Motor Speedway


The NBC Sports IndyCar power rankings naturally were as jumbled as the action on the streets of St. Petersburg after a chaotic opener to the 2023 season.

Pato O’Ward, who finished second because of an engine blip that cost him the lead with a few laps remaining, moves into the top spot ahead of St. Pete winner Marcus Ericsson and Alexander Rossi, who finished fourth in his Arrow McLaren debut. Scott Dixon and St. Pete pole-sitter Romain Grosjean (who led 31 laps) rounded out the top five.

St. Pete pole-sitter Romain Grosjean (who started first at St. Pete after capturing his second career pole position) Callum Ilott (a career-best fifth) and Graham Rahal entered the power rankings entering the season’s second race.

Three drivers fell out of the preseason top 10 after the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg – including previously top-ranked Josef Newgarden, who finished 17th after qualifying 14th.

Heading into Sunday’s race at Texas Motor Speedway, here’s NBC Sports’ assessment of the current top 10 drivers through the first of 17 races this year (with previous preseason rankings in parenthesis):

NBC Sports’ IndyCar Power Rankings

1. Pato O’Ward (5) – If not for the dreaded “plenum event” in the No. 5 Chevrolet, the Arrow McLaren driver is opening the season with a victory capping a strong race weekend.

2. Marcus Ericsson (7) – He might be the most opportunistic driver in IndyCar, but that’s because the 2022 Indy 500 winner has become one of the series’ fastest and most consistent stars.

3. Alexander Rossi (10) – He overcame a frustrating Friday and mediocre qualifying to open his Arrow McLaren career with the sort of hard-earned top five missing in his last years at Andretti.

4. Scott Dixon (3) – Put aside his opening-lap skirmish with former teammate Felix Rosenqvist, and it was a typically stealthily good result for the six-time champion.

5. Romain Grosjean (NR) – The St. Petersburg pole-sitter consistently was fastest on the streets of St. Petersburg over the course of the race weekend, which he couldn’t say once last year.

6. Scott McLaughlin (6) – Easily the best of the Team Penske drivers before his crash with Grosjean, McLaughlin drove like a legitimate 2023 championship contender.

7. Callum Ilott (NR) – A quietly impressive top five for the confident Brit in Juncos Hollinger Racing’s first race as a two-car team. Texas will be a big oval litmus test.

8. Graham Rahal (NR) – Sixth at St. Pete, Rahal still has the goods on street courses, and Rahal Letterman Lanigan remains headed in the right direction.

9. Alex Palou (4) – He seemed a step behind Ericsson and Dixon in the race after just missing the Fast Six in qualifying, but this was a solid start for Palou.

10. Will Power (2) – An uncharacteristic mistake that crashed Colton Herta put a blemish on the type of steady weekend that helped him win the 2022 title.

Falling out (last week): Josef Newgarden (1), Colton Herta (8), Christian Lundgaard (9)