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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Justin Grant prevails over Kyle Larson in the Turkey Night Grand Prix

Grant Larson Turkey Night / DB3 Inc.

On the heels of his Hangtown 100 victory, Justin Grant worked his way from 13th in the Turkey Night Grand Prix to beat three-time event winner Kyle Larson by 1.367 seconds. The 81st annual event was run at Ventura (Calif.) Raceway for the sixth time.

“My dad used to take me to Irwindale Speedway, and we’d watch Turkey Night there every year,” Grant said in a series press release. “This is one of the races I fell in love with. I didn’t think I’d ever get a chance to run in it, never thought I’d make a show and certainly never thought I’d be able to win one.”

With its genesis in 1934 at Gilmore Stadium, a quarter-mile dirt track in Los Angeles, the race is steeped in history with winners that include AJ Foyt, Parnelli Jones, Gary Bettenhausen and Johnnie Parsons. Tony Stewart won it in 2000. Kyle Larson won his first of three Turkey Night Grands Prix in 2012. Christopher Bell earned his first of three in 2014, so Grant’s enthusiasm was well deserved.

So was the skepticism that he would win. He failed to crack the top five in three previous attempts, although he came close last year with a sixth-place result. When he lined up for the feature 13th in the crowded 28-car field, winning seemed like a longshot.

Grant watched as serious challengers fell by the wayside. Mitchel Moles flipped on Lap 10 of the feature. Michael “Buddy” Kofoid took a tumble on Lap 68 and World of Outlaws Sprint car driver Carson Macedo flipped on Lap 79. Grant saw the carnage ahead of him and held a steady wheel as he passed Tanner Thorson for the lead with 15 laps remaining and stayed out of trouble for the remainder of the event.

“It’s a dream come true to win the Turkey Night Grand Prix,” Grant said.

Kyle Larson follows Justin Grant to the front on Turkey Night

The 2012, 2016 and 2019 winner, Larson was not scheduled to run the event. His wife Katelyn is expecting their third child shortly, but after a couple of glasses of wine with Thanksgiving dinner and while watching some replays of the event, Larson texted car owner Chad Boat to see if he had a spare car lying around. He did.

“We weren’t great but just hung around and it seemed like anybody who got to the lead crashed and collected some people,” Larson said. “We made some passes throughout; in the mid-portion, we weren’t very good but then we got better at the end.

“I just ran really, really hard there, and knew I was running out of time, so I had to go. I made some pretty crazy and dumb moves, but I got to second and was hoping we could get a caution to get racing with Justin there. He was sliding himself at both ends and thought that maybe we could get a run and just out-angle him into [Turn] 1 and get clear off [Turn] 2 if we got a caution, but it just didn’t work out.”

Larson padded one of the most impressive stats in the history of this race, however. In 10 starts, he’s won three times, finished second four times, was third once and fourth twice.

Bryant Wiedeman took the final spot on the podium.

As Grant and Larson began to pick their way through the field, Kofoid took the lead early from the outside of the front row and led the first 44 laps of the race before handing it over to Cannon McIntosh, who bicycled on Lap 71 before landing on all fours. While Macedo and Thorson tussled for the lead with McIntosh, Grant closed in.

Thorson finished 19th with McIntosh 20th. Macedo recovered from his incident to finish ninth. Kofoid’s hard tumble relegated him to 23rd.

Jake Andreotti in fourth and Kevin Thomas, Jr. rounded out the top five.

1. Justin Grant (started 13)
2. Kyle Larson (22)
3. Bryant Wiedeman (4)
4. Jake Andreotti (9)
5. Kevin Thomas Jr. (1)
6. Logan Seavey (8)
7. Alex Bright (27)
8. Emerson Axsom (24)
9. Carson Macedo (7)
10. Jason McDougal (18)
11. Jake Swanson (16)
12. Chase Johnson (6)
13. Jacob Denney (26)
14. Ryan Timms (23)
15. Chance Crum (28)
16. Brenham Crouch (17)
17. Jonathan Beason (19)
18. Cade Lewis (14)
19. Tanner Thorson (11)
20. Cannon McIntosh (3)
21. Thomas Meseraull (15)
22. Tyler Courtney (21)
23. Buddy Kofoid (2)
24. Brody Fuson (5)
25. Mitchel Moles (20)
26. Daniel Whitley (10)
27. Kaylee Bryson (12)
28. Spencer Bayston (25)