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Herta admits he “misjudged” Newgarden IndyCar clash at Long Beach

Andretti Global’s Colton Herta has shouldered the majority of the blame for his late-race clash with Team Penske’s Josef Newgarden in the Long Beach Grand Prix.

Josef Newgarden, Team Penske Chevrolet

Photo by: Josh Tons / Motorsport Images

Reigning Indy 500 champion Newgarden was running second and chasing Chip Ganassi Racing’s Scott Dixon for the win when Herta – who had just caught up with the two leaders – rammed into the back of him at the Turn 11 hairpin with nine laps to go.

Newgarden’s car went into anti-stall, and not only lost a spot to Herta but reigning champion Alex Palou’s Chip Ganassi Racing machine.

“He just stopped in the middle of the corner,” said Herta over the radio.

Across his radio, Newgarden was initially livid about the contact, and strategist and Penske team president Tim Cindric was reportedly angry too about IndyCar race control’s decision not to call a penalty on Herta.

After the race, Newgarden had words with Herta in the parc ferme on pitlane.

“I don’t know, it seemed pretty obvious, he just misjudged it and he ran into me,” Newgarden told NBC. “Once I got lifted off the ground, I went into the anti-stall.

“I couldn’t get going, you have to wait for the clutch to disengage and get reset. So I was just kinda stalled there for a second.

“I’m not going to say we were gonna get Dixon. It was actually very difficult to get the run I needed to.

“I think traffic was going to provide the opportunities, I was really excited about that run, I think that was my last chance. Never know if it would’ve pulled off or not. Maybe not, he was really quick.

“I had good speed all weekend and good strategy, so happy with fourth but I’m just not sure about the Herta deal, I think they should look at that differently. If you hit somebody… it is what it is.”

When asked if he took the turn any differently to set up his planned run on Dixon, he replied: “No, similar to when I was following Dixon over the last multiple laps. Very similar.”

Colton Herta, Andretti Global w/ Curb-Agajanian Honda

Colton Herta, Andretti Global w/ Curb-Agajanian Honda

Photo by: Michael L. Levitt / Motorsport Images

Herta shouldered the blame for the contact, but thinks Newgarden intentionally slowed down more to prepare a run on Dixon, which contributed to his slower rolling speed at the apex.

“Misjudged it a little bit but he was setting up really wide and cutting back in, so he was a little bit slower at the apex,” he said. “But it’s up me to carry the right speed into the corner and not run into the back of people.

“I just misjudged it, and I think he hit anti-stall coming out of the corner so that’s what really bottled him back.

“Definitely something to put in the back of my mind, I don’t like to race like that – especially a guy like Josef, I have a lot of respect for him.”

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