Rising IndyCar star Colton Herta signs contract extension with Andretti Autosport

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Colton Herta will be staying in the NTT IndyCar Series for the foreseeable future as Andretti Autosport announced a multiyear contract extension with its young star Friday morning.

Herta, 21, has four victories in 36 career IndyCar starts, most recently winning the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg from the pole position last month. He ranks seventh in the 2021 IndyCar points standings.

Four races into his third full season, his success had prompted speculation about whether Herta would return to Europe (where he raced as a teenager). Racing legend Mario Andretti has advocated for years (including in this “2020 Coffee With Kyle” inteview) that Herta was capable of winning a Formula One championship.

But Friday quashed that notion as Herta said he will remain with the team beyond this year through a two-year deal starting with the 2022 season.

“I’m incredibly happy to be back with Andretti Autosport for the next two years,” Herta said in a release. “I’ve grown so much with this team, so it was a no-brainer when I got the chance to re-sign with Michael. With the support of Dan Towriss and Gainbridge, there’s no doubt in my mind that we’ll be threats everywhere we go.”

The team also announced that primary sponsor Gainbridge will remain with Herta on the No. 26 Dallara-Honda.

“We’re excited to officially welcome Gainbridge and Colton Herta back to the Andretti Autosport family for years to come,” Michael Andretti, Chairman and CEO, Andretti Autosport, said in a release.

“Colton has already shown so much potential in the short time he’s been in the series and having a great partner like Gainbridge recognize and support that potential is great for everyone. If the start to the 2021 season is any indication of the future success for the 26-car’s program, I think we have a lot to look forward to over the next few years.”

Herta was sixth fastest in Friday morning practice on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course, which will play host Saturday to the GMR Grand Prix (2 p.m. ET, NBC).

Teammate Alexander Rossi led the session.