Winning Dynasty

Colton Herta charges toward turn seven at Road America. [John Wiedemann Photo]

Colton Herta charges toward turn seven at Road America. [John Wiedemann Photo]

by Eddie LePine

The New York Yankees are legendary, and their winning record in baseball is second to none. Their history is filled with World Series titles, hall of fame players and outstanding ownership which has guided the franchise to greatness.

In motorsports, there is new young blood moving up the ladder, with blood ties to that legendary Yankee history, for George Michael Steinbrenner IV, son of Yankee co-owner Hank Steinbrenner and grandson of the incomparable George Steinbrenner is making his mark in racing.

This year, the young Steinbrenner has formed an Indy Lights team and his driver is Colton Herta, son of former IndyCar driver Bryan Herta. At only 17 years old, Colton has gotten off to a quick start in the 2017 Indy Lights championship. He set fastest race lap in the first race of the season at St. Petersburg, finishing second in race one. He followed that up with the Pole, fastest lap and race win in St. Petersburg race two. Then it was on to Barber Motorsports Park, where he again sat on pole and won the race. A couple of tough races followed at Indy in May, but he and the team recovered nicely, taking Pole once again and third place at Road America in the weekend’s race two.

Young Colton Herta and Steinbrenner Andretti Racing now sit in 3rd place in the championship, with seven races remaining in their first season of racing.

Steinbrenner has a three-year plan to get his team to the Indy 500, and things are certainly off to a good start toward that goal. With a strong partnership with Andretti Autosport, Colton’s great racing DNA with Bryan Herta as his father, and Steinbrenner’s family tradition of winning, the future looks bright.

As George said to me at Road America this past weekend: “We knew we would be on the top step of the podium, it was just a matter of how long it would take. It certainly didn’t take long.”

Steinbrenner is a student of racing history, and has a real appreciation of the sport and it’s past. “I love history, no matter what it is. Once I got into racing, one of the first things I did was look into the history of the sport, where it came from and how it has grown.”

As a student of racing history, I am sure he has taken a look at some of the past champions who have come from the Indy Lights series. How about Paul Tracy, Greg Moore, Tony Kanaan, Scott Dixon, Josef Newgarden and Colton’s father Bryan Herta for starters?

As George said: “I’m very excited. It’s what I came here for. IndyCars are my main goal.”

Colton told me: “Most of my friends are just getting ready to finish high school and getting ready for college, so for me to have my job set, it’s amazing.”

Keep an eye on young Mr. Steinbrenner and Colton Herta. A new generation has taken the field. Perhaps a new dynasty has begun.

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