BIRMINGHAM, Alabama - Colton Herta etched his name into Indy Lights presented by Cooper Tires history when he became the series’ youngest winner last month. Today at Barber Motorsports Park, he further solidified his place in Indy Lights annals when he won the series’ 400th race.
Herta joins drivers Eddie Lawson (100th), A.J. Foyt IV (200th) and current Verizon IndyCar Series driver James Hinchcliffe (300th) as winners of milestone Indy Lights races. Hinchcliffe, who won the series’ 300th race at Long Beach on April 18, 2010, presented Herta with the winner’s trophy that is inscribed with the names of the other milestone race winners.
“It’s awesome to be with some of the names that have won the 100th, 200th, 300th,” said Herta, who turned 17 on March 30.
Hinchcliffe, the 2010 Indy Lights runner-up before graduating to the Verizon IndyCar Series, is living proof of the development series’ value.
“It’s such an incredible platform,” Hinchcliffe said. “It’s helped vault so many guys up into the Verizon IndyCar Series and I don’t think there is much doubt that this guy (Herta) is going to be there pretty soon.”
Herta started the 35-lap race from the pole position after rain on the 2.3-mile permanent road course washed out qualifying this morning. He used it to his advantage and cleared Saturday’s Race 1 winner, Kyle Kaiser (No. 18 Juncos Racing), when the race finally got going on Lap 4 after a truncated start. Herta was uncatchable and stretched out to a 9.1465-second margin at the checkered flag.
“Everything just came together,” said Herta. “I was just nourishing the tires and just trying to keep cool, keep calm and it all came together.”
Herta’s first win came in the second race of the St. Petersburg doubleheader March 12 at the age of 16 years, 11 months, 12 days.
“I think this one was harder (than St. Petersburg),” he said, “because this is a very physical track.”
Kaiser held off Herta’s Andretti Autosport teammate, Nico Jamin (No. 27 Synova), for second place. The win allowed Herta to extend his point total to 101 after four of 16 races. Kaiser remains second with 85 and Jamin is third with 75.
All three levels of the Mazda Road to Indy presented by Cooper Tires – Indy Lights, Pro Mazda Championship presented by Cooper Tires and Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship powered by Mazda – are in action next May 11-13 on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course. Each series will have doubleheader race weekends.