Q: If Bryan was “High Speed” Herta, what is or should be Colton’s nickname?
David, Waxhaw, NC
RM: Little Hertamania is all I can think of at the moment. T-Bell called him “Crafty Colton” but we need something distinctive. Maybe RACER can sponsor a contest: two free tickets to the Indy 500 for whomever comes up with a cool nickname. I’ll run that one by Paul Pfanner.
Q: What a great race and a great win for Herta! Cars all sorts of sideways, and there was plenty of slicing and dicing, especially with Graham and Lil’ Santucci (thanks P.T.), great passing and enough strategies and differences in the tires to really make it a great race. Team Penske and Andretti knew the risks of playing that game of when to pit so I don’t feel too bad for Will, but man he was so fast it was just awesome to watch – especially with Rossi mirroring his every move and just waiting to pounce at the right time. We may have missed out on an incredible finish, but it doesn’t take away from how fast Herta was and his keeping Newgarden in his rear view mirror.
Now, on to the grievances. “I gotta lotta problems with you people, and now you’re gonna hear about it!” What is up with P.T.? Does he not pay any attention to what is going on during qualifying or the race? During qualifying he was telling the viewers that Herta is still out on track going for one more lap when the graphic is telling us he’s in the pit, and then Townsend had to correct him “Umm, Herta is in the pits Paul…” then during the race he is telling the viewers that Felix is out of his car and in the medical tent when in actuality he was still in the car as the team was getting it fixed to get it back out on track. Wake up, P.T.! We’d like you to join the rest of the class.
The yellow was insanely long for what seemed like a rather quick cleanup. With the track being that long, the yellow should’ve been maybe three laps? Can anyone explain why it took so long? Rossi might’ve had a chance for a podium if the powers that be also didn’t fall asleep at the wheel – a la P.T. – with going green.
RM: Kevin Lee and I did the booth on Friday’s second practice period, and in P.T.’s defense, we only have a couple of monitors so it’s not easy to see everything in an instant. It did look like Colton was going for one more flyer before he ducked into the pits. And I heard an IndyCar radio say Felix was headed to the infield hospital for a checkup, so that’s an honest mistake. As for the yellows, here’s IndyCar race director Kyle Novak:
“The FCY was doubled in length because of two factors. First, the 10 was blocking the pit entry, active AMR safety personnel were on the scene, and debris was scattered in the area. The majority of the time we can open the pits the first time by under the pace car, in this case we couldn’t open until the second time by. The pits had to remain closed because we can’t have cars pitting through an incident scene. Combine the previous with the fact the leaders were on the back side of a longer circuit when the incident occurred, which essentially added another half slow lap of yellow to the process. Second, after the “one to go” signal was given to the field, a fender liner flew out of the pace car directly into the restart line in T20, which added an extra lap to the FCY. So essentially, what would have been a three lap FCY was doubled to six because of the location of the incident preventing the pits from being opened and the extra lap under yellow to clean up the debris in T20.”
Q: Miller, you know I’m a fan of NBC and on the bandwagon of throwing rotten fruit at ABC. I also fully understand that it was a really big deal that Colton Herta won the IndyCar race on Sunday. However, did you know that every position from 6-10 changed hands on the last lap and a half? I didn’t see it. I never even saw a replay after the flag. Herta was effectively a runaway winner. Focus on the battle, cut to the flag, and cut back. What are your thoughts on the IndyCar approach to track limits? I read that IndyCar had the track set up in a way that “it wasn’t faster to exceed track limits.” If it wasn’t faster, they wouldn’t have redrawn the track outside of Turn 19 with all the rubber they put down. I don’t mind a lack of track limit enforcement if the drivers are attempting to keep it on track and run wide. The idea that they’d just give up trying looked bad. That’s on the series, not the drivers. The drivers need to go as fast as possible.
Grumpy complaints aside, that was a great weekend and a pretty good race. Just imagine what O’Ward would be doing with Andretti technology on his car instead of whatever Carlin is giving him? He’s clearly making it work, but look where his teammate ran. Forget signing Rossi. Honda’s got a grip on him. Penske should be looking to sign O’Ward.
Ryan in West Michigan
RM: I think that considering the historic moment, staying with Colton was absolutely the right thing to do, because that was the story – not 6-10. NBC showed non-stop action all day from what I saw on the replay, so missing out on that last lap wasn’t that important. I love having no limits, that’s why they poured all that concrete and it made for some exciting passes. Pato did an excellent job, but give Carlin a little time to get to know this kid and he’ll be right up there (he ran fifth or sixth all day) every race. I imagine R.P. is making notes.