Today’s IndyCar round at Laguna Seca was set to be an all-out battle between Alex Palou, Pato O’Ward, Scott Dixon, and Josef Newgarden for championship position before the season finale next weekend. In the race itself, all of O’Ward, Dixon, and Newgarden struggled with in-race pace in an event that was dominated by just one driver.
That would be Colton Herta. Inconsistency meant that the young Andretti Autosport driver fell out of championship contention early this year, but his qualifying and in-race pace have been unquestionable all season. He again flashed that qualifying speed to tie O’Ward and Newgarden for a season-high third pole on Saturday in a shared front row with teammate Alexander Rossi. He pulled out to an early lead on the start.
One lap later, Herta slid out of a corner exit and Rossi saw an opportunity. He over-drove the corner exit to strike, causing him to lose control while side-by-side with Herta. Rossi flew into the inside wall, ending the biggest challenge Herta would see all day.
If not for pit stop timing, Herta would have led the rest of the race. He led 91 of 95 laps, being forced to re-build his lead on a few occasions after being caught up in traffic but never really facing any serious pressure. With no cautions in the final 85 laps, Herta was able to win with relative ease. For the full story, check out this article from Road & Track.