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Herta Riding Wave of Momentum Entering INDYCAR Harvest GP at IMS

The NTT INDYCAR SERIES season appears to be shaping up nicely for Colton Herta.

As Andretti Harding Steinbrenner Autosport driver Herta prepares for the INDYCAR Harvest GP on Oct. 2-3 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, he sees his program coming together as it did late last season when he won the final two poles and the final race (at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca).

Herta won the most recent NTT INDYCAR SERIES race, Sept. 13 at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, in dominating fashion, leading 57 of the 75 laps from the pole. Two days later, he was in a simulator preparing for the IMS road course event, and he doesn’t need much adjustment.

Herta qualified third and finished fourth in the GMR Grand Prix on July 4 at IMS, and his career on the 14-turn, 2.439-mile road course includes qualifying fourth for INDYCAR’s 2019 race and winning a pair of Indy Lights presented by Cooper Tires races in 2018.

Clearly, Herta, 20, feels comfortable driving clockwise at IMS.

“I think we have a lot of confidence, obviously, going into the Indy GP,” Herta said.

Herta hasn’t enjoyed the season he hoped for – Sunday’s win was his first top-three finish – but he is fourth in the driver standings for a reason. In 11 races, Herta has six top-five and nine top-10 finishes. Had he finished better than 19th in each of the two oval races at Iowa Speedway, he might be challenging Josef Newgarden for second in the standings with three races to go.

“We were in a little bit of a slump there at the beginning of the year, and we didn’t seem to have the pace,” Herta said. “We couldn’t figure out (INDYCAR’s Aeroscreen new for the 2020 season).

“But we found a few things that kind of brought us more toward the front, and we keep finding little things. I think for these (past) three rounds – at Indianapolis (for the “500”), Gateway and Mid-Ohio – we’ve really been (one of) the cars to beat.”

Herta’s average finish in those five races was a series-best 5.2.

Andretti Autosport produced its best weekend of the season at Mid-Ohio, with Alexander Rossi finishing third and second in the doubleheader and Ryan Hunter-Reay joining him on the podium in the second race after finishing fifth in the first race.

INDYCAR finishes its season with the two Harvest GP races and an Oct. 25 trip to the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg, a street course race where Herta finished eighth last year.

“Just from a confidence side, I think you kind of try and roll with it as much as you can,” Herta said. “Obviously, going into Indy GP we’re the guys to beat based on Mid-Ohio, so hopefully we can keep it going.”

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