No. 992
April 17, 2019
 

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The Line


Monday
Mar252019

MARCH 27, 2019

(Photo by Matt Fraver/INDYCAR)
Colton Herta made history by becoming 
the youngest driver to win an Indy car event when he took the checkered flag in the INDYCAR Classic at Circuit of The Americas in Austin, Texas, on Sunday. The beneficiary of an opportune full-course caution period, Herta (No. 88 Harding Steinbrenner Racing Honda Turbo V6) led the final 15 laps and won by 2.7182 seconds over Josef Newgarden (No. 2 Team Penske PPG Chevrolet Turbo V6). At 18 years, 11 months, 25 days old, the second-generation driver broke the mark previously held by Graham Rahal, who was 19 years, 3 months, 2 days when he won at St. Petersburg in 2008. "Just to be up with the names of people that have won (a) race, I'm going to live and die an Indy car winner, which is spectacular in itself," Herta said. "Yeah, it's a great record at a young age. To be standing up here kind of feels surreal. We were not expecting (to win). I think we were going to get a podium (top-three finish) - I think we had the pace for that - but holy crap, man! ... It's spectacular!" Herta started the 60-lap race on the 20-turn, 3.41-mile permanent road course in fourth position. Pole sitter Will Power (No. 12 Team Penske Verizon Chevrolet Turbo V6) dominated the first three-quarters of the race, leading every lap under green-flag conditions until the only full-course yellow waved on Lap 44 after James Hinchcliffe (No. 5 Schmidt Peterson Motorsports Arrow Honda Turbo V6) and Felix Rosenqvist (No. 10 Chip Ganassi Racing NTT DATA Honda Turbo V6) made contact, sending the latter's car careening into the barrier on the inside of Turn 19 at the entrance to pit lane. Fortunately for Herta, he'd made his final scheduled pit stop a lap earlier under green. Race leader Power, second-place Alexander Rossi (No. 27 Andretti Autosport NAPA AUTO PARTS Honda Turbo V6) and third-place Scott Dixon (No. 9 Bank Chip Ganassi Racing PNC Bank Honda Turbo V6) were forced to make their final stops under yellow after the field packed up behind the pace car. Once that trio headed to the pits (Power suffered a broken driveshaft and didn't return), Herta assumed the lead for the first time in his brief NTT IndyCar Series career. Holding off Newgarden on the Lap 50 restart, Herta pulled away to the history-making victory. "On the restart, we were quick," Herta said. "We kind of sprinted off. I know we got the quickest lap on that first lap, which was pretty crazy to have the tires up to temp and everything ready." The win was also the first for the team co-owned by Mike Harding and George Michael Steinbrenner IV. After fielding a car for Herta in Indy Lights in 2017 and '18, Steinbrenner partnered this year with Harding to bring his driving talent to the NTT IndyCar Series. "He did a phenomenal job," the 22-year-old Steinbrenner said of Herta. "Colton hit all his marks, he did everything right, the crew did everything they needed to do to keep us out in front of (Newgarden's) car the whole time. Everything went pretty much perfectly. I really can't believe we're sitting here. I'm shaking and it's a dream come true."
(Photo by Joe Skibinski/INDYCAR)
"We were not expecting (to win). I think we were going to get a podium (top-three finish) - I think we had the pace for that - but holy crap, man! ... It's spectacular!" - Colton Herta.
(Photo by Matt Fraver/INDYCAR)
Josef Newgarden's (No. 2 Team Penske PPG Chevrolet Turbo V6) second-place finish came on the heels of his win in the season opener at St. Petersburg. Newgarden now holds an 18-point lead over Herta after two of seventeen races. "We had a little luck (with the late caution), and I thought that could play into our favor to race for another win," Newgarden said. "The PPG car looked good and felt good, it just wasn't enough there at the end. "A second place is big for us. We talked about the fact that you need to have podium finishes if you aren't winning races, and this goes a long way to our championship run."
(Photo by Chris Owens/INDYCAR)
Ryan Hunter-Reay (No. 28 Andretti Autosport DHL Honda Turbo V6) finished third in another strong run. Graham Rahal (No. 15 Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing TOTAL Honda Turbo V6) came in fourth, giving American drivers a sweep of the top four spots. 
(Brian Lawdermilk/Getty Images)
Brad Keselowski (No. 2 Team Penske REESE-DRAWTITE Ford Mustang) led 446 of 500 laps in winning Sunday’s STP 500 at Martinsville Speedway, but Keselowski had to hold off a furious charge from Chase Elliott (No. 9 Hendrick Motorsports NAPA AUTO PARTS Chevrolet Camaro) for the win. Keselowski finished .594 seconds ahead of Elliott and 1.335 seconds in front of Kyle Busch (No. 18 Joe Gibbs Racing M&Ms CHOCOLATE BAR Toyota Camry). Both Elliott and Busch were close enough to capitalize on even the smallest potential mistake.
 The victory was Keselowski’s second of the season, second at Martinsville and the 29th of his career in NASCAR's premier series. It was also Team Penske’s third win of the season in six races, equaling the total of Joe Gibbs Racing.“The car was really good,” Keselowski said. “Just a great day for our team. Awesome execution on pit road, and big credit to (engine builder) Doug Yates and all the engine staff. Those guys worked really hard. But just one of those days you dream of as a race car driver where you’ve got a great car. I don’t know if we were as good as the 9 car, Chase Elliott,” Keselowski said. “He was really strong, but he passed me there with about 200 to go, and I watched him and studied him and kind of broke it down and knew what I had to do to hold him off with that fast of a car. And we were able to pull it off that last run.”
(Lexus)
Standing 12 feet tall and stretching a full 26 feet from bumper to bumper, the world’s largest Lexus RC F GT3 made its debut today on the hillside greeting visitors to Monterey County’s WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca. Lexus is the official luxury car of the 2.238-mile road courseMural artist John Cerney (standing beside the new Lexus RC F GT3 for scaleis well-known for his larger-than-life farmers dotting the agricultural-rich fields of Monterey County. Cerney designed, painted and constructed the art in 3-1/2 weeks. He used a pallet of eighteen colors to create the ideal lines and shadows that end up being what the artist describes as the most interesting element. “Cars like this are more time consuming than the normal human figures I paint,” explained Cerney. “Most people can't tell if a pair of jeans doesn't look quite right, or if the folds in the pants are a little 'off', but you screw up the lines of the contour of a race car, or most any car, everyone can tell. I respect the shapes and lines of extraordinary cars like this Lexus, so I really take my time. I'll stand back and look at the original sketch from every angle to make sure I got it right. I think even the non-race fans can sense that cars like this are sexy and fast, and if I'm dutiful to the advance work of the talented engineers, then I've done my job.” The Lexus RC F GT3 is the latest, and largest, hillside art featured at the gateway to WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca. The bright blue Lexus race car prominently joins the world championship-winning Yamaha YZR500 of Wayne Rainey and the WeatherTech-sponsored Ferrari 488 GT3 driven by Cooper MacNeil in the IMSA series.