Herta targeting two more wins in 2021

Colton Herta finished second at Road America

IndyCar Series young gun Colton Herta has set himself the specific goal of taking two wins from the final seven races of the 2021 season.

It’s been an up-and-down campaign for the 21-year-old, highlighted by a win at St. Petersburg and second place at the most recent Road America race.

But those results have been interspersed between two early DNFs and then three straight finishes outside the top 10.

All in all, Herta is seventh in the standings and more than 100 points behind leader Alex Palou, ahead of racing at Mid-Ohio this weekend.

“I’ve got to start winning more races,” surmised Herta, who took victory last year at Mid-Ohio.

“My goal is to win two more races by the end of the year.

“I think if we could do that, finish on the podiums more times, that’s going to be probably the best effort that we can give. That’s kind of what I’m shooting for.

“This is a place that I know I can win at, the team knows we can win at. This is going to be a very exciting weekend for me.”

Herta was third in the 2020 end-of-year rankings but as it stands, he has Palou, Pato O’Ward, Scott Dixon, Josef Newgarden, Simon Pagenaud and Rinus VeeKay all ahead of him.

“We’ve got to make up the points gap and we have to jump all the guys,” he said, giving his season to date a mark of B-plus.

“We just have to have really good weekends from here on out.

“Like I said before, my goal is two more race wins. That’s still the goal, to have three race wins at the end of the year.

“I think that should be enough if we finish on the podium a majority of the other times.

“It should be enough to kind of get us in the hunt. I’m not really sure what the championship is going to take, how many points we’re going to get to.

“I feel if I’m consistently on the podium, can get a few more wins, that’s going to be the best shot that we can give it.”

It’s been a difficult year on the whole for Herta’s team, Andretti Autosport.

His Andretti team-mates Alexander Rossi, Ryan Hunter-Reay and James Hinchcliffe are down in 13th, 15th and 20th, respectively – each without a podium in 2021.

“It’s hard to say obviously,” Herta said of the Andretti stable’s troubles.

“We have three other very capable drivers of winning races, getting on podiums.

“It just hasn’t happened for one reason or another.

“My guys have been really good in the pits. The engineers have given me great cars. That’s a big part of my success.

“But as far as the other guys, I think it’s a lot of luck, just weird things happening for them. Obviously I think the rest of the team is in a little bit of a slump.

“All it takes is one really good weekend from one of them to get out of it, kind of get back to where they need to be and where they really should be.”

Practice at Mid-Ohio begins Saturday morning (AEST), with an 80-lap race scheduled to begin Monday 02:00 (AEST).

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