You are only young once, and Colton Herta is making sure everyone remembers his youth.
Three months after becoming the youngest winner in NTT IndyCar Series history at Circuit of The Americas back in March, Herta became the youngest driver to ever win a pole Saturday when he captured the pole for Sunday’s Rev Group Grand Prix at Road America. At 19 years and 83 days old he tops the previous record set by Graham Rahal (20 years, 83 days).
Herta’s car was slow off of the truck Friday, as he was only able to post the 16th-best time in Practice 1. Saturday was much better, and by Practice 3 he’d moved up the speed charts to third, behind Josef Newgarden and Alexander Rossi.
When it came time to qualify, he was the class of the field, reaching the Fast Six for the fifth time this season, and finally captured the top spot with a lap of 1 minute, 42.9920 seconds, just a tick ahead of Alexander Rossi, who will start P2 after posting a time of 1:43.1693.
” I hated the car in the first session,” Herta said. “We slowly made ground and made it better. I think for sure we had the best car today and it showed.
“It was tough for the first session, when we were, like, (16th), but there hasn’t been a racetrack that we’ve gone to that I haven’t felt comfortable with the racecar or the qualifying car. I knew we could get there if we put our heads down and got to it.”
Herta is the seventh driver to win a pole this year, with Will Power, Takuma Sato and Rossi the only three drivers to win multiple pole positions.
Rossi, who entered the weekend 25 points behind Newgarden in the season points standings, was left looking for a couple of tenths of a second on the track, but overall was happy given Newgarden and Simon Pagenaud (starting P16), who is third in points, will be in his rear-view mirror when the green flag drops Sunday.
“I think we had a good lap in the first round, then we made some changes that maybe weren’t ultimately the best,” Rossi said. “Regardless, we’re on the front row. We’ll take it. We’re ahead of our championship competitors, and hopefully that’s a good omen for tomorrow.”
Power, who has never started worse than P2 at Road America, will start third, teammate Newgarden will start fourth, with Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing teammates Sato and Graham Rahal occupying the third row, each making the Fast Six for the third time this year.
The green flag on the 55-lap/220.77-mile race will drop at 11:50 a.m. CDT.
Pit Lane Parley
Have you listened to this week’s show? School’s out for the summer, and Host Mike, Jess and Matt pass out grades for the first half of the season. You can listen to it here on iTunes.
Story photo credit: Me
Featured photo credit: Joe Skibinski/IndyCar Media