IndyCar rookie sensation Colton Herta finished his roller-coaster rookie campaign in spectacular fashion — with a dominating victory in the Firestone Grand Prix of Monterey Laguna Seca in Monterey, California on Sunday afternoon.
Herta entered the weekend with the announcement that car owners Mike Harding and George Steinbrenner IV would join forces with Michael Andretti to create Andretti Harding Steinbrenner Autosport and, in doing so, inked Herta to a multi-year agreement to pilot the No. 88.
The record-breaking 19 year old from Valencia dominated the final weekend of the 2019 NTT IndyCar season, claiming fast time in 2 of the three practices and claiming his third NTT P1 Award of the year, claiming pole position 20 years after his father, Bryan Herta claimed his third consecutive pole at Laguna Seca.
“It obviously means a lot with the family history,” Herta said to the media after qualifying. “Fifty percent of (my father’s) Indy car wins came here. It means a lot to kind of keep on the family tradition.
“I’m doing something right, the team is doing something right,” he continued. “We obviously had a great car this whole weekend, and after leading coming just straight off the truck and leading, being P2 in the morning and Thursday, leading the day Thursday and leading practice 1, being there in practice 2 and 3 and obviously getting the pole, it just shows the charisma of the team and everything we’re doing has been in the right directions. Obviously it feels great, now it’s two poles in two weekends.”
Herta’s domination of the weekend continued on race day where he led 83 of 90 laps including holding off veteran Will Power for much of the final leg of the race, en route to his second career IndyCar victory.
“It was a perfect race,” Herta told the media following the race. “Whenever you win an INDYCAR race, it has to be a perfect race. You can’t really make mistakes and get away with it, just because there’s always two or three other guys on that day that can win. For sure there was a few guys that could win today, and we just outdid them. We had the pace on them, and we were definitely the best today, so we definitely deserved to win.”
Herta will join new teammates Alexander Rossi, Marco Andretti, Ryan Hunter-Reay and Zach Veach on March 15, 2020, at the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg in St. Petersburg, Florida to kick off the 2020 NTT IndyCar season.