Andretti Autosport’s Colton Herta in the No.26 Gainbridge Honda says that the strategy will play a key part in being successful in the Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio presented by HPD Ridgeline on July 4. Speaking to Paddock Eye during a Zoom conference call on Wednesday, Herta who finished second in last weekend’s REV Group Grand Prix of Road America commented saying:
Yeah, this is a very interesting race. I think split strategies mostly between a three-stopper and a two-stopper in the past. You kind of need to be able to be really fast in the race to make a two-stopper work, but you also have to be really fast to make a three-stopper work.
We need a good race car, which obviously we had last year. I think we’ve seen it’s difficult to pass at this place. Starting up near the front helps for sure. Like I said before, it’s less variables. You don’t have to pass guys. You’re not giving yourself crossovers in the pits where something might happen there. So qualifying is going to be a big key to a good race. If you can kind of start up near the front, it will make your day a whole lot easier.
Speaking about Romain Grosjean’s move to the NTT IndyCar Series, Herta told us:
No, it’s cool. I think it’s cool that guys have interest in coming over. I think when they come over, they’ve actually been pleasantly surprised not only from the car but the tires, the race craft of the other drivers, the speed of the other drivers, too.
I think he has done well. I think it shows, too, right? He obviously is a very fast race car driver. He was good in Formula 1. It shows that guys in INDYCAR have the same speed, right? They’re just as good.
Yeah, no, it’s refreshing to have somebody like him in the paddock. He’s really cool, a really nice guy, obviously a very good race car driver. It’s cool to see him coming over, yeah.
We asked Colton Herta about which he prefers racing on IndyCar, road courses, ovals or street circuits after his win in St Pete earlier this season to which he replied:
I definitely prefer permanent road courses, that’s where I’ve had my best results. That’s what I’m most comfortable with and have the most seat time coming up through the ranks. I primarily raced on permanent road courses. Still learning, obviously. I think it’s a bigger learning gap in the street courses and ovals, whereas in the permanent road courses I always feel very comfortable.
Herta was asked why this is? Is it as a result of his European racing background to which he replied:
Yeah, yeah. Obviously when I was in junior formulas, it was primarily in Europe. Obviously no ovals. I didn’t do any street courses over there. That’s kind of what I learned the most on.
Obviously getting a lot more comfortable now a few years in INDYCAR with ovals, and the street courses are really comfortable now, too. Happy to get the win at a street course earlier this year, kind of get that monkey off my back. Still looking for my first oval win.
The NTT IndyCar Series heads to the Mid-Ohio Sportscar Course next weekend before taking a break for the Olympics before the series returns for its inaugural trip to the streets of Nashville for the Big Machine Music City Grand Prix. Paddock Eye asked Herta, who is a drummer about heading to Nashville:
Yeah. I’m trying to figure out, I want to try to either go a few days early or stay a few days late because I’ve never actually been to Nashville. It would be cool to go around there. I’m sure they have really cool live music, really good food too. Yeah, it’s going to be an awesome weekend. The promotion that those guys are doing for the race has been incredible. It should be like a grand slam once we get there. I’m really excited.
Speaking to Paddock Eye about the circuit layout, Herta said:
No, yeah, the track layout looks cool. I saw they’re repaving for pit lane, which is good. They’re definitely putting some money into it. I think they’re expecting it to be really big, which I think it really could be.
We always see these street courses that come in and are gone in a few years. I think this is one that could really stay for a while with the promotion they’ve been doing. They obviously know INDYCAR very well and they’re doing a good job with it. I can’t wait for it. It’s going to be really cool.