Santa Clarita native and NTT IndyCar Series rookie Colton Herta stole the show during Saturday’s DXC Technology 600 at Texas Motor Speedway, but his night ended just 19 laps early in spectacular fashion.
Herta started the race in 10th but it was clear the rookie was hungry. The teenager quickly caught the eye of the NBCSN broadcast team using “daredevil tactics” to pass some of INDYCAR’s biggest names.
By lap No. 113, Herta had worked his way up to third with a spectacular pass on the outside where he overtook Alexander Rossi and James Hinchcliffe over the course of one-and-a-half laps.
Following the final green flag pit stops, the rookie found himself engaged in battle with five-time NTT IndyCar Series Champion Scott Dixon. Dixon did everything he could to hold off the 19-year-old rookie but with 19 laps to go, Herta found room on the inside, hugging the apron.
The 18-year veteran Dixon, in a desperate move to hold off Herta, squeezed the rookie down too far and onto the apron causing the green, white and red Harding-Steinbrenner Honda to get loose and collect both the drivers, ending their night.
“I just heard them saying the other car (Colton Herta) was looking inside and I started to track down to try and close it off,” Dixon told the media. “It was towards the end of the race. As I was doing that and looking down, I could still see his shadow there on the apron and I knew it wasn’t going to work out there. Sorry if that was my fault. I was just really pushing and trying to get the most out of it toward the end of the race in the PNC Bank car.”
“(Scott Dixon) apologized and that’s what it seemed like from my point of view. I (haven’t) seen a replay yet or anything, but he just turned down on me from my point of view,” Herta said in the post-race interview. “I was there and he put me on the apron. I was more than enough ahead. He didn’t need to do it. That outside lane was there and he could have run the outside. He must not have known (I was there). I’m really happy with how the car was. The GESS Capstone car (and) all the boys did an amazing job. Big congrats to INDYCAR for bringing the updates to the front wing and the new tires because it made the racing a hell of a lot better. We’ll keep trucking. This is a DNF (did not finish) that I’ll take because I was really happy with my performance.”
Herta and the NTT IndyCar Series will head to Wisconsin on June 23rd for the REV Group Grand Prix at Road America.