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Herta wins as Power, Rossi cruelled by Safety Car

Speedcafe.com

Monday 25th March, 2019 - 10:52am

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Colton Herta

Will Power led every lap of the IndyCar Classic at the Circuit of the Americas until he was trapped by a Caution which saw Colton Herta ultimately take victory.

Power led each of the first 45 laps of the 60-lap second race of the season while Alexander Rossi sat second, a position he had held for much of the afternoon to that point, when they were caught out by a Caution.

While Herta took the opportunity presented to him to become the youngest race winner in IndyCar history, Power’s day became a complete disaster when his #12 Team Penske Chevrolet broke a driveshaft as he tried to exit his pit box.

The Queenslander was classified last in the 24-car field, as the #88 Harding Steinbrenner Racing Honda of Herta headed home Josef Newgarden in the #2 Team Penske Chevrolet and Ryan Hunter-Reay in the #28 Andretti Autosport Honda.

Power started from pole and saw off a challenge from Rossi at Turn 1 on Lap 3, while Herta ran third having nicked the spot from Ryan Hunter-Reay at the start.

Scott Dixon looked like he had jumped each of the latter two but slotted the #9 Chip Ganassi Racing Honda into fifth for the first run through the slalom.

There was a change for second position when Herta sliced past the #27 Andretti Autosport Honda as Rossi exited pit lane at the start of Lap 14.

The rookie had taken his first stop a lap earlier than Power, Rossi, and Dixon, and needed to make the move given he was on black tyres and Rossi on reds.

Rossi regained the position on Lap 22 when he used push-to-pass down the back straight before the front-runners started pitting again from Lap 26.

The top three remained the same, although Power enjoyed a margin of a few seconds as he ran on used red tyres whereas Rossi, on blacks, was under pressure from Herta, on reds.

Rossi started to close on Power while Herta’s tyres deteriorated before he came into the lane a final time on Lap 43.

A Caution was called next lap as a result of James Hinchcliffe (#5 Schmidt Peterson Honda) turning Felix Rosenqvist (#10 Chip Ganassi Racing Honda) into the inside fence between Turns 19 and 20, which saw Herta inherit the lead as Power, Rossi, and Dixon had to wait and then pit.

Rossi and Dixon resumed 14th and 15th respectively while Power was done due to a driveshaft failure.

Newgarden, who had been fourth prior to the pit stop cycle, sat second for the restart but found himself having to look back to Hunter-Reay in the final stages.

Herta took the chequered flag 2.7s up on the field while half a second separated the minor placings.

Graham Rahal (#15 Rahal Letterman Lanigan Honda) and Sebastien Bourdais (#18 DCR w/ Vasser-Sullivan Honda) rounded out the top five, ahead of Marco Andretti (#98 Andretti-Herta w/ Marco & Curb-Agajanian Honda), Takuma Sato (#30 Rahal Letterman Lanigan Honda), and Patricio O’Ward (#31 Carlin Chevrolet).

Rossi and Dixon had a brief battle for position before the former clawed his way back to ninth position, with Jack Harvey (#60 Meyer Shank w/ SPM Honda) 10th.

Dixon, who had been set back when he got stuck in traffic in his second stint, finished only 13th.

Marcus Ericsson was 15th having been sent to the back for the restart due to an unsafe pit release for the #7 Schmidt Peterson Honda.

Herta’s first IndyCar race win took just three races and came 18 years and 360 days since his birth.

He is second to Newgarden in the standings by 18 points ahead of Round 3 at Barber Motorsports Park on April 5-7 (local time).

Race results: Circuit of the Americas

Pos Num Driver C/E/T Race time/Split Pit stops Status Grid pos
1 88 Colton Herta (R) D/H/F 2:00:02.0587 3 Running 4
2 2 Josef Newgarden D/C/F +2.7182 3 Running 7
3 28 Ryan Hunter-Reay D/H/F +3.2311 3 Running 3
4 15 Graham Rahal D/H/F +8.0612 3 Running 10
5 18 Sebastien Bourdais D/H/F +15.4015 3 Running 17
6 98 Marco Andretti D/H/F +19.8494 3 Running 20
7 30 Takuma Sato D/H/F +22.1467 3 Running 14
8 31 Patricio O’Ward (R) D/C/F +23.2628 3 Running 8
9 27 Alexander Rossi D/H/F +23.5279 3 Running 2
10 60 Jack Harvey D/H/F +23.9532 3 Running 23
11 21 Spencer Pigot D/C/F +24.3838 3 Running 19
12 14 Tony Kanaan D/C/F +27.0568 3 Running 24
13 9 Scott Dixon D/H/F +31.0677 3 Running 6
14 20 Ed Jones D/C/F +35.6602 3 Running 18
15 7 Marcus Ericsson (R) D/H/F +36.2308 3 Running 16
16 5 James Hinchcliffe D/H/F +36.7699 4 Running 15
17 4 Matheus Leist D/C/F +39.2619 5 Running 12
18 32 Kyle Kaiser (R) D/C/F +46.2357 3 Running 21
19 22 Simon Pagenaud D/C/F +55.0378 5 Running 22
20 19 Santino Ferrucci (R) D/H/F +1:53.6876 6 Running 11
21 59 Max Chilton D/C/F +1 lap 4 Running 13
22 26 Zach Veach D/H/F +2 laps 5 Running 9
23 10 Felix Rosenqvist (R) D/H/F +5 laps 4 Running 5
24 12 Will Power D/C/F +14 laps 6 Mechanical 1

Race winner: 60 laps
(C)hassis: D=Dallara | (E)ngine: C=Chevy, H=Honda | (T)yre: F=Firestone

Series points

Pos Driver Pts
1 Josef Newgarden 93
2 Colton Herta 75
3 Scott Dixon 57
4 Alexander Rossi 53
5 Graham Rahal 50
6 Will Power 47
7 Marco Andretti 45
8 Ryan Hunter-Reay 42
9 James Hinchcliffe 42
10 Felix Rosenqvist 40
11 Jack Harvey 40
12 Spencer Pigot 38
13 Simon Pagenaud 37
14 Takuma Sato 37
15 Sebastien Bourdais 36
16 Tony Kanaan 33
17 Santino Ferrucci 32
18 Ed Jones 25
19 Marcus Ericsson 25
20 Patricio O’Ward 24
21 Zach Veach 24
22 Max Chilton 23
23 Matheus Leist 21
24 Charlie Kimball 13
25 Ben Hanley 12
26 Kyle Kaiser 12

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