IndyCar newsflash: Herta wins and confirms the youngsters’ upswing

IndyCar newsflash: Herta wins and confirms the youngsters’ upswing
Joe Skibinski

Colton Herta dominated the race in St.Petersburg last Sunday ahead of the Penske duo Josef Newgarden and Simon Pagenaud

Colton Herta (Andretti Autosport) took a dominant win at the Firestone GP in St. Petersburg (Florida) ahead of Josef Newgarden and Simon Pagenaud (both Team Penske). With his fourth IndyCar win – and first of the current season – he drew level with father and ChampCar great Bryan Herta.

Rounding out the top five were a strong Jack Harvey (Meyer Shank Racing) and reigning champion Scott Dixon (Chip Ganassi Racing). Dixon hasn’t really made a big impact in the first two races. Yet he is steadily collecting points thanks to his consistency. The Kiwi currently lies third in the championship, only two points behind the leading Alex Palou.

While the IndyCar youngsters were once again rejoicing in Victory Lane, NASCAR legend Jimmie Johnson (Chip Ganassi Racing) was struggling on the streets of St.Petersburg. After two caution periods triggered by the IndyCar rookie following wall contact, he only finished in 22nd position. Finally, the best-placed rookie was Scott McLaughlin (Team Penske) in eleventh place.

Millennial leaves the competition no chance in St. Pete

Herta (born in 2000) was unbeatable on the demanding street circuit in Florida. After pole position and leading 97 out of 100 laps, the second-generation driver delivered a stellar weekend. Even two-time champion Newgarden did not let him get out of his stride in the last third of the race, after two caution phases.

In doing so, the 21-year-old not only made up for his disappointment over the start collision at Barber Motorsports Park. He most certainly underlined his potential once again. It is no surprise that Herta – the youngest winner in IndyCar history since 2019 – was considered to be a red-hot title contender before the season. 

After the surprising opening victory of Chip Ganassi driver Palou, the current upward trend of the youngsters cannot be denied. Dutchman Rinus VeeKay (Ed Carpenter Racing) has also been convincing so far in his second full season with two top-10 finishes.

On Saturday, 1st May, the IndyCar Series will already enter its third round. The first oval race of the season at Texas Motor Speedway is eagerly awaited.

Chris Liemann