Colton Herta Wins Freedom 100 At Indianapolis

by Paul Gohde

Second-generation driver Colton Herta survived a 40-lap race with an event record 20 lead changes to win the Indy Lights Freedom 100 Friday on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway oval.

Herta, who started sixth, got to “Kiss the Bricks” after a race-long battle with runner-up Pato O’Ward and third-place Dalton Kellett who started on the pole, but said he enjoyed the experience. “I got to do the bricks when my dad (Bryan Herta) was involved in a win here. I didn’t know how cool it would be until I earned it,” the 18-year-old noted. “They taste like brick.”

Santi Urritia finished fourth but led going into the final laps as the leaders scrambled for position. “I positioned myself for the final run and got a nice tow from Colton on the final lap,” explained O’Ward, who, along with Urrutia, was bunched-up going for the lead with four others coming out of the final turn.”

Kellett led the most laps (17) and ran third for the third straight year but seemed happy with that result. “That was a super-exciting thirty-minutes. I held back at the beginning to see how the race would flow,” noted the pole-winner, “but we were really dicing to make it to the end.”

‘It was a race where you had to be in the right place at the right time at the end. It was tough on the leaders as those behind could blow right past you due to dirty air,” explained the winner. “It was hair-raising once those tires got warmed up.”

And what “right place” might the Andretti-Steinbrenner team end up in come next season? “If we win the (Indy Lights) championship we’re going Indy Car racing.”

Team owner George Michael Steinbrenner seemed to agree with that, but cautioned that, “this (win) was awesome and that’s a goal we’re setting, but we have to do it right both logistically and financially.”

• NOTES: The previous record for lead changes was nine but is now 20…Andretti teams swept the top three finishing spots…the rapid pace saw the race average zoom to 191.422 mph as the 100-mile race took just over 31 minutes to complete… Dalton Kellett finished third but led 17 laps vs. the winner’s ten.

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