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IndyCar Toronto

Herta admits IndyCar podium finish wait was “embarrassing”

Colton Herta admits that his wait for a podium finish in the 2023 IndyCar Series was “a little embarrassing” after finally taking a third place at Toronto on Sunday.

Colton Herta, Andretti Autosport w/ Curb-Agajanian Honda, Alexander Rossi, Arrow McLaren Chevrolet

The Andretti Autosport driver stormed through the field from 14th on the grid to finish third, his first podium of the season despite starting the last two races from pole position.

“It's been really good,” he said of his pace in recent events. “It's a little embarrassing it took this long.

“We've had good cars all year, and just whatever has happened. It's great to finally get that monkey off our back.

“Hopefully we can continue this and go right back to having strong performances in qualifying and that just makes you race so much easier when you are able to race at the front, and the results come a lot easier at that point.

“We'll dial in on that for the next race, and hopefully have two good ones at Iowa [this weekend].”

Last October, Herta signed a four-year contract extension that is believed to be the most lucrative in the IndyCar paddock – and also opens the possibility for him to graduate to Formula 1 if the team gets an entry.

Alex Palou, Chip Ganassi Racing Honda, Colton Herta, Andretti Autosport w/ Curb-Agajanian Honda

Alex Palou, Chip Ganassi Racing Honda, Colton Herta, Andretti Autosport w/ Curb-Agajanian Honda

Photo by: Gavin Baker / Motorsport Images

Andretti benefits from a long-term partnership with digital insurance giant Gainbridge, and its #26 is viewed as the flagship entry of its four-car squad.

Herta fought hard with all day in Toronto with series dominator Alex Palou of Chip Ganassi Racing, who started one spot behind him, but the Spaniard made a decisive move to pass him straight after the final restart – despite carrying front wing damage from an earlier crash.

They both then moved ahead of Andretti’s leading driver to that point, Long Beach GP winner Kyle Kirkwood, as he hit the wall and then Ganassi’s Marcus Armstrong as he struggled to bring his tires back up to temperature.

When asked to describe what happened by Autosport, Herta replied: “Kyle hit the wall, but not until Turn 1, and Alex was already by me at that point. Yeah, it seemed like we just struggled a lot more than everybody else on the restarts.

“We couldn't get the tyres up to temp. It took me two or three more laps after Palou had passed me to get the tyres up to temp, and he was long gone after that. So it was a difficult one.

“You could see Kyle braked a little bit too late and expected more grip. We just didn't have it at that point, so he slid up and slapped the wall with the left rear.”

Christian Lundgaard, Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing Honda, Alex Palou, Chip Ganassi Racing Honda, Colton Herta, Andretti Autosport w/ Curb-Agajanian Honda celebrate on the podium with champagne

Christian Lundgaard, Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing Honda, Alex Palou, Chip Ganassi Racing Honda, Colton Herta, Andretti Autosport w/ Curb-Agajanian Honda celebrate on the podium with champagne

Photo by: Michael L. Levitt / Motorsport Images

Herta also paid tribute to Christian Lundgaard, who became IndyCar’s newest race winner with a dominant performance from pole position.

“He is one of the cleanest guys to race against,” praised Herta. “Rarely makes a mistake and runs into you.

“I have enjoyed racing with him. He's been very clean to me. He has been great. Obviously a fast driver.

“I think it was the second pole and not his first win, so he has been knocking on the door for a while now.”

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