IndyCar Austin: Colton Herta becomes series’ youngest-ever winner

Steinbrenner Harding Racing’s Colton Herta became the youngest winner in IndyCar history with victory at Austin in a wild late finish.

The 18-year-old’s victory relied on a stunning restart following a safety car called after James Hinchcliffe nudged the rear of Felix Rosenqvist at Turn 19 – where no track limits were enforced – and sent the Chip Ganassi Racing driver into the wall leading into the pitwall entry.

The timing ruined the race of long-time leader Will Power after he had led every lap from pole for 45 of the 60 laps.

At the point of Rosenqvist’s crash, Power had not pitted for the final time.

When the pits reopened on lap 46, Power dived into change tyres but stalled upon leaving his pitbox and reported a suspected driveshaft failure that forced him into retirement.

His long-time pursuer Alexander Rossi and third-placed Scott Dixon, running a long middle stint on the harder black-walled tyres, were also forced into the pits and out of contention.

That promoted Herta into the race lead with just 10 laps remaining, having spent the majority of the race in a lonely third after starting fourth, ahead of Newgarden.

Despite Newgarden having a push-to-pass advantage of 127 seconds to Herta’s 43, the Harding driver’s superior restart gave him the platform to win as the Penske driver failed to muster a challenge.

The victory meant Herta replaced Graham Rahal as IndyCar’s youngest race winner, who was 19-years-old when he won at St Petersburg in 2008.

Newgarden was a surprise second place considering the fact he had failed to make the Fast Six in qualifying, beginning the race in seventh.

But Penske opted to pit Newgarden early in his first stint after just 10 laps and he ran aggressively with use of push-to-pass to climb to fourth, and then timed his last stop before Rosenqvist’s crash.

Ryan Hunter-Reay was third for Andretti, having held off an aggressive Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing driver in Graham Rahal through the opening series of corners on the restart.

Sebastien Bourdais also took the early stop strategy like Newgarden, finishing fifth for Dale Coyne Racing with Vasser-Sullivan after starting a lowly 17th.

Patricio O’Ward, the driver who defeated Herta to win Indy Lights in 2018, was an impressive sixth for Carlin in his first IndyCar race since an 11th-hour deal gave him a seat after his Harding exit.

Marco Andretti was another driver helped by the late caution and the midfield incident, climbing from 20th on the grid to finish seventh.

Takuma Sato, Jack Harvey and Rossi rounded out the top 10, with race-win contender Dixon recovering to 13th in the last 10 laps.

Arrow Schmidt Peterson Motorsports had looked a dark horse for victory after opting to stop both Hinchcliffe and team-mate Marcus Ericsson early in the race.

Ericsson climbed to the fringes of the top five midway through the race but ended up 15th ahead of his team-mate.

Rosenqvist endured a nightmare race as he spun and lost three places midway through as his Ganassi team struggled with tyre life at the end of the stints.

Simon Pagenaud was another to retire following late contact with Rossi that forced him into the pits inside the final 10 laps, while a messy race from Andretti’s Zach Veach ended in retirement after a lap one off and a puncture following a clumsy failed move on Dixon.

Race result

Pos Driver Team Car Laps Time Gap
1 Colton Herta Harding Racing Dallara/Honda 60 2h00m02.0587ss 2h00m02.0587s
2 Josef Newgarden Team Penske Dallara/Chevrolet 60 2h00m04.7769ss 2.7182s
3 Ryan Hunter-Reay Andretti Autosport Dallara/Honda 60 2h00m05.2898ss 3.2311s
4 Graham Rahal Rahal Letterman Lanigan Dallara/Honda 60 2h00m10.1199ss 8.0612s
5 Sebastien Bourdais Dale Coyne Racing Dallara/Honda 60 2h00m17.4602ss 15.4015s
6 Marco Andretti Andretti Herta Dallara/Honda 60 2h00m21.9081ss 19.8494s
7 Takuma Sato Rahal Letterman Lanigan Dallara/Honda 60 2h00m24.2054ss 22.1467s
8 Patricio O’Ward Carlin Dallara/Chevrolet 60 2h00m25.3215ss 23.2628s
9 Alexander Rossi Andretti Autosport Dallara/Honda 60 2h00m25.5866ss 23.5279s
10 Jack Harvey Meyer Shank Racing Dallara/Honda 60 2h00m26.0119ss 23.9532s
11 Spencer Pigot Ed Carpenter Racing Dallara/Chevrolet 60 2h00m26.4425ss 24.3838s
12 Tony Kanaan AJ Foyt Enterprises Dallara/Chevrolet 60 2h00m29.1155ss 27.0568s
13 Scott Dixon Chip Ganassi Racing Dallara/Honda 60 2h00m33.1264ss 31.0677s
14 Ed Jones Ed Carpenter Racing Dallara/Chevrolet 60 2h00m37.7189ss 35.6602s
15 Marcus Ericsson Schmidt Peterson Motorsports Dallara/Honda 60 2h00m38.2895ss 36.2308s
16 James Hinchcliffe Schmidt Peterson Motorsports Dallara/Honda 60 2h00m38.8286ss 36.7699s
17 Matheus Leist AJ Foyt Enterprises Dallara/Chevrolet 60 2h00m41.3206ss 39.2619s
18 Kyle Kaiser Juncos Racing Dallara/Chevrolet 60 2h00m48.2944ss 46.2357s
19 Simon Pagenaud Team Penske Dallara/Chevrolet 60 2h00m57.0965ss 55.0378s
20 Santino Ferrucci Dale Coyne Racing Dallara/Honda 60 2h01m55.7463ss 1m53.6876s
21 Max Chilton Carlin Dallara/Chevrolet 59 2h00m39.1216ss 1 Lap
22 Zach Veach Andretti Autosport Dallara/Honda 58 2h00m43.1062ss 2 Laps
23 Felix Rosenqvist Chip Ganassi Racing Dallara/Honda 55 2h00m48.6296ss 5 Laps
24 Will Power Team Penske Dallara/Chevrolet 46 1h29m17.1877ss Mechanical

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