Herta to make 50th IndyCar career start at Texas

Competing in his fourth full-time season in the NTT INDYCAR SERIES, Colton Herta is within striking distance of a milestone start. By taking the green flag in this weekend’s XPEL 375 at Texas Motor Speedway, the driver of the No. 26 Andretti Autosport with Curb-Agajanian Dallara-Honda will reach career start No. 50 in the IndyCar circuit.

A native of Valencia, Santa Clarita, California, and the son of former IndyCar and Champ Car competitor Bryan Herta, Colton made his IndyCar debut at Sonoma Raceway in September 2018, which marked the season finale event. By then, he was competing in his second season in Indy Lights for Andretti Steinbrenner Racing and had accumulated six victories and a runner-up result in the championship standings. Driving the No. 88 Harding Racing Dallara-Chevrolet, Herta started 19th and finished 20th, the final car on the lead lap, in his series debut.

The following season, Herta piloted the No. 88 Dallara-Honda for Harding Steinbrenner Racing on a full-time IndyCar basis. Following an eighth-place result in the season-opening Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg at the Streets of St. Petersburg, Florida, Herta notched his first IndyCar career win in the IndyCar Classic at the Circuit of the Americas in late March. In doing so, he became the youngest winner in IndyCar history at age 18 and 359 days old. Following his maiden IndyCar victory in Austin, Texas, Herta only achieved four additional top-10 results through the next 13 events in the schedule. He managed to conclude the 2019 season on a high note by finishing fourth in the Grand Prix of Portland at Portland International Raceway followed by his second IndyCar career victory in the Firestone Grand Prix of Monterey at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca in Monterey County, California, September. Despite settling in seventh place in the final standings, he fell five points short of capturing the Rookie-of-the-Year title over Felix Rosenqvist.

Remaining as the driver of the No. 88 Dallara-Honda for Andretti Harding Steinbrenner Autosport for the 2020 season, Herta commenced the season with a seventh-place result in the Genesys 300 at Texas Motor Speedway in June followed by three consecutive top-five results. Following an up-and-down shortened season amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, Herta achieved his third IndyCar career victory in the second of a Honda Indy 200 doubleheader feature at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course. He then achieved a runner-up result in the second of an IndyCar Harvest GP doubleheader feature at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Road Course in October before concluding the season in a strong third-place result in the final standings.

For the 2021 season, Herta took over the No. 26 Andretti Autosport Dallara-Honda and entered the season as a title favorite. Despite finishing 22nd following an early crash in the season-opening Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama at Barber Motorsports Park, he rebounded by notching a dominant victory at the Streets of St. Petersburg, where he led all but three of 100 laps. The majority of the 2021 IndyCar season, however, was a difficult season for Herta, who notched two additional podium results through the following 12 events in the schedule. Following an eighth-place result at Portland in September and with two scheduled races remaining, he was in sixth place in the standings and 129 points behind the eventual champion Alex Palou. Herta, though, managed to conclude the 2021 season on a positive note by going back-to-back in victories: the first at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca after leading all but four of 95 scheduled laps and the second at California’s Long Beach Street Circuit, where he held off Josef Newgarden, Scott Dixon and the season champion Alex Palou to grab his sixth career win. The victories moved Herta to fifth place in the standings just as the season concluded.

Through 49 previous IndyCar starts, Herta has achieved six victories, seven poles, nine podiums and an average-finishing result of 10.5. He is coming off a fourth-place result at the Streets of St. Petersburg in February to commence the 2022 IndyCar season.

Herta is set to make his 50th NTT INDYCAR Series career start at Texas Motor Speedway for the XPEL 375, which will occur on Sunday, March 20, at 12:30 p.m. ET on NBC.

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of SpeedwayMedia.com


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