Herta On Pole For Sonsio Grand Prix At Road America

Colton Herta at Road America. [John Wiedemann Photo]

Colton Herta at Road America. [John Wiedemann Photo]

Elkhart Lake, WI – While not all laps were perfect, Colton Herta layed down fast laps when it counted and scored the pole position for Sunday’s NTT IndyCar Series Sonsio Grand Prix presented by AMR at Road America.

The young Andretti Autosport driver made each session he was in interesting with a few off-track excursions, a few eliminated lap times and fast laps when he needed them. After struggles in qualifying all season long, the Honda driver finally was able to get it done in qualifying.

“it’s good to be back in here. I forgot what a media center looked like, I’ve been qualifying so poorly”, Herta said with a smile. “, it feels nice to be back, kind of on form. Our qualifyings have been kind of lackluster the last few weekends. Luckily we put it all together today and ended up on the pole.”

Herta’s run of one minute 40.1945 seconds was nearly five seconds quicker than Alezander Rossi’s pole run in last year’s event at Road America. The last time the #26 Gainbridge Honda driver was on the pole was July 2022 in Toronto. This was Herta’s tenth career pole position.

Arrow McLaren’s Pato O’ Ward qualified in second place, just under seventeen hundredths of a second behind Herta. Alex Palou, Josef Newgarden and Rossi rounded out the top five.

After the four mile track was repaved last fall, a run at track records has been anticipated at for each event at Road America. For the NTT IndyCar Series, it was not to be. Trying to figure out the idiosyncrasies of the alternate “reds” and primary “blacks” with the new surface has been a concern for all drivers.

The current track record is held by Dario Franchitti, which was set at 1:39.866 in 2000, in the CART era.

The repave/tire discussion was the hot topic following qualifying.

“I had more problems today than I did yesterday as far as off tracks and whatnot. I think it’s just difficult”, explained Herta. “It’s hard to get the cars in the operating window. It seems like some cars like different tires than others. It’s just a very strange feeling, at least for me, inside the car. I’m sure it’s different team to team and whatnot. For me it’s a very strange feeling at the wheel. I think it shows by how many guys have been kind of trickling off the track, just having weird spins.”

O’Ward gave his thoughts on the matter. “, I see it being there’s maybe a lane and a half of, like, very high grip. But you go off of that, and it’s like ice. I think that’s also why there’s just been a lot of excursions. You miss it by just a tad, and it’s like, What happened to the car? To extract the lap time, especially now with the new pavement, like there is so much more grip, but it’s only in the line. You have to commit so much into the corners where a lot of the times it kind of bites once you’re already committed. I think that’s why you see a lot of spins, a lot of guys going off, just a lot of random snaps. It makes you feel like there’s unlimited amounts of grip, but there’s obviously limits to everything.”

Sunday starts with a Warm Up session at 9:30am CST for the IndyCar drivers giving them one final chance to figure out the tire dilemma with longer runs on each compound.

The NTT IndyCar Series Sonsio Grand Prix presented by AMR at Road America is scheduled for 12:23pm CST on Sunday.

Share Button