Tony D's blog
Colton Herta takes historic win at COTA, hungry for more
(Chris Jones/Indy Car)
It's been said over and over how historic of a win it was for 18 year old Colton Herta yesterday in Austin, Texas. The second generation driver became the younger winner in Indy Car history, but the win meant more to so many people.
-Tony D talks with co-owner George Steinbreen IV about this historical win -
I am hesitant to call it the most popular victory of all time, but today's social media world where people can express their interest immediately, it certainly has to be up there. Herta spent two season in Indy Lights, racking up 6 wins including all three at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway a year ago.
The talent for Colton speaks for itself, which makes his win at Circuit of the Americas not a total shock, but the elements around it made it suprising for some. Racing for Harding-Steinbrenner Racing, the team had a rocky off season, signing Colton to drive it's #88, while also adding a second car with promising rookie Patricio O'Ward. After a falling out, O'Ward was released from his contract and landed a 10 race deal at Carlin Racing where he made his debut Sunday with a 6th place finish.
Herta and George Michael Steinbrenner have been tied at the hip since the beginning of last season. The young owner has eyed being on the top podium of an Indy Car Race since he way young, the same goal Colton Herta has had since his mohawk days following his dad and Dan Wheldon around the paddock at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. The passion, around with a technical alliance with Andretti Autosport and the watchful eyes of 2 time Indy 500 winner Al Unser Jr. and Brian Barnhart atop of the pit boss, shows the commitment Mike Harding and Steinbrenner have to the #88, it showed at COTA as the caution fell when Herta needed it, allowing him to pull away from the pack on the final restart of just his third career race in an inaugural event at one of the biggest road courses on the schedule.
Colton is a special talent, another american driver on the rise. Road and street courses are the great equalizer in Indy Car, and allows most of the field a chance to take the checkered flag. This is a rookie class filled with talent. O'Ward, Marcus Ericcson & Felix Rosenqvist have shown they have the talent to compete all season long, and don't forget about Santino Ferucci from Connecticut who found himself inside the Top 10 at races end in the opener at St. Pete.
The hard part for Colton Herta now is to live up to some of the unrealistic expectations that will be put on the first time winner. With a name famous in Indy Car like Herta, it reminds me of the success off the bat Marco Andretti had in 2006, and don't forget Graham Rahal's breakout win to open the season at St. Pete in 2008. Knowing how well liked Colton is in the paddock, he has plenty of knowledge to lean on outside of the cockpit, and plenty of talent inside to compete for the top step of the podium for years to come.