In last Saturday’s (May 14) GMR Grand Prix on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Road Course, Colton Herta was one of several drivers to make mistakes in the soggy and chaotic race. Herta drove the victory under caution with visibility the lowest throughout the entire 120-minute affair.
The race started under threatening skies, and after a servere thunderstorm swept through to postpone the conclusion of the day’s Indy Lights event, INDYCAR deemed the race a “wet start”, here by declaring all drivers to start on rain tires and emplement a two-hour clock to the race, aside the 85-lap counter.
Polesitter Will Power fell back to fourth on the inital start, and after a bump-in with teammate Josef Newgarden, climbed to third.
On lap two, Colton Herta opted to pit from mid-pack and risk it on the dry, slick tire despite the still damp racing surface. Herta tiptoed on his first lap with the new rubber strapped onboard his Dallara, and by his second, was passing others in the pit lane opting his strategy.
Easily, the highlight of the race — if not season, was Herta’s remarkable save chasing race leader Pato O’Ward on this lap. The rear of the car was completely askew while the fronts rode on a curb, and after just hardly saving the machine, passed O’Ward just two corners after.
After more dicey pit cycles, and failed calls from Alexander Rossi, Kyle Kirkwood and others to pit on wet tires again with more rain looming, some wondered if the race would finish with lightning storms soon approaching. The rain eventually struck, first light on the pit lane and front stretch, and eventually covering the entire 2.439-mile infield course. However, some teams rathered to keep track position than new wet-weather grippers.
Race leader Scott McLaughlin, as well as top-10 contender Pato O’Ward, both spun under caution flag sequences on the slick tire. McLaughlin spun again once the race restarted, prompting another stoppage.
McLaughlin’s spin was far from the only — Jimmie Johnson, Dalton Kellett, Kyle Kirkwood, Josef Newgarden, Alex Palou and several more brought out full course stoppages from spins and/or contact.
Once everything finally seemed to calm, the race with 15 laps left scheduled was well within the final 8-minutes of the two-hour time wet-weather time limit put in place by race control. The final caution of the day was thrown for top-10 contender Juan Pablo Montoya losing control of his Arrow McLaren SP No. 6 through a puddle re-entering the speedway’s oval section between turns 1-2. His destroyed car came to a rest on the traditional speedway pit exit, prompting a caution to deploy in the final two minutes, ending the race for Colton Herta.
The win is Herta’s first on the 2022 NTT IndyCar Series season through five races. Additionally, it’s the first win for a Honda engine through the young campaign.
Simon Pagenaud crossed the checkered flag in second place, up 19 positions from his 20th-place starting spot. Herta took the green flag from 14th, while Scott Dixon fought from 21st to a top-10.
2022 GMR Grand Prix at IMS Results
1: Colton Herta (26) – 7th IndyCar Victory
2: Simon Pagenaud (60) – 38th IndyCar Podium
3: Will Power (12) – 87th IndyCar Podium
4: Marcus Ericsson (8) – Third Top-5 Finish this Season
5: Conor Daly (20) – First Top-10 Finish this Season
6: Felix Rosenqvist (7)
7: Takuma Sato (51)
8: Callum Illott (77) – R – Best Career IndyCar Result
9: Christian Lundgaard (30) – R – Best Career IndyCar Result
10: Scott Dixon (9)
11: Alexander Rossi (27)
12: David Malukas (18) – R
13: Jack Harvey (45)
14: Helio Castroneves (06)
15: Tatiana Calderon (11) – R – Best Career IndyCar Result
16: Graham Rahal (15)
17: Romain Grosjean (28)
18: Alex Palou (10)
19: Pato O’Ward (5)
20: Scott McLaughlin (3)
21: Devlin DeFrancesco (29) – R
22: Jimmie Johnson (48)
23: Rinus VeeKay (21)
24: Juan Pablo Montoya (6)
25: Josef Newgarden (2)
26: Kyle Kirkwood (14) – R
27: Dalton Kellett (4)