Herta stays on top in second IndyCar session at Thermal Club

Michael Levitt/Lumen

Herta stays on top in second IndyCar session at Thermal Club


Herta stays on top in second IndyCar session at Thermal Club


Colton Herta went fastest again in Thursday’s afternoon session at the NTT IndyCar Series’ Spring Training event at the Thermal Club. Posting a best lap of 1m39.3721s in his No. 26 Andretti Autosport Honda, Herta barely edged Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing’s Christian Lundgaard in the No. 30 Honda (+0.0046s) but it was enough to hold the top spot in both sessions.

Coming off a disappointing 2022 season where the Andretti team was often lacking a little bit of pace, Herta says the team’s strong start to Spring Training shouldn’t be taken as an indicator of what’s ahead.

“It’s too early,” he said. “You know, it could be a huge shake-up when we go to St. Pete and who’s up front and who’s out the back. So it is too early to tell. But it’s nice just to be back in a car and get some lap times down and get everybody working again.”

The Honda-powered party continued in third with Chip Ganassi Racing’s Alex Palou in the No. 10 car (+0.0249s) and Andretti’s Romain Grosjean in fourth (+0.1105s) in the No. 28 entry. Team Penske’s Will Power was first among the Bowtie representatives in fourth with the No. 12 Chevy (+0.1969s) and Ganassi’s Scott Dixon closed out the top six with his No. 9 Honda (+0.2490s).

The long 2h30m session had 29m50s of red flags due to an increasing number of spins; no major damage was reported. The only driver to fall out of the session was Andretti’s Kyle Kirkwood — second-fastest in the morning sessions — after a clutch problem sent his No. 27 Honda back to the paddock for the remainder of the day as repairs were made.

Of the other notable performers, Juncos Hollinger Racing’s Callum Ilott was seventh in the No. 77 Chevy, and Ganassi newcomer Marcus Armstrong — in his first day in an IndyCar — ended up 10th.

Elsewhere, Arrow McLaren SP had a slower afternoon than desired after its trio led by Pato O’Ward placed 15th, 16th (Alexander Rossi), and 19th (Felix Rosenqvist).

UP NEXT: 9 a.m-11:30 a.m. PT Session 3

Session 1
Session 2