Honda Wins IndyCar Classic at Circuit of the Americas
Honda couldn’t quite top the timesheets during Saturday qualifying at the Circuit of the Americas, with Team Penske’s Will Power just barely edging out Andretti Autosport’s Alexander Rossi, but was able to get the job done on Sunday thanks to the outstanding efforts of Colton Herta, who became the youngest winner in IndyCar history.
Herta, son of former Honda IndyCar and Acura sports car racer Bryan Herta, had started fourth, and had been able to stay with the lead pack throughout the first 43 laps with smart tire management. When James Hinchcliffe and Felix Rosenqvist collided and triggered the race’s only caution period, Herta had already made his last scheduled pit stop and was able to cycle to the front of the field as the other leaders came in for fresh rubber.
When the green flag came out on lap 50 — with just 10 more to go — Herta immediately pulled away, creating a 2.5-second gap to the cars behind. He then further extended the gap to four seconds while second-place Josef Newgarden could do nothing but attempt to stave off the charging Ryan Hunter-Reay.
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Rossi, who had been 14th at the restart, meanwhile managed a beautiful recovery drive that brought him back to ninth, giving Honda eight drivers in the top 10.
Aged 18, Herta broke the record previous held by Graham Rahal, who had taken victory at the 2008 Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg at 19.
“Holy cow, I am worn out!” Herta said after the race. “That restart at the end [with 10 laps to go] just finished me off. After the last restart, I knew we had good pace. All day long, we were fast in the early laps, then faded towards the end [of a stint]. So on the restart, we were really quick. Just a spectacular day.”
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