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Colton Herta wins chaotic, rain-soaked IndyCar GMR GP on Indianapolis road course

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Colton Herta won a wild GMR Grand Prix, which descended into chaos Saturday as intermittent rain turned many NTT IndyCar Series drivers’ fortunes upside down on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course.

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After making his second switch to rain tires, Herta took the lead from Pato O’Ward, who was trying to hang on with slicks, on Lap 67 of a scheduled 85.

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Herta, who started 14th, took the checkered flag on Lap 75 under yellow after a Turn 11 crash for Juan Pablo Montoya. The race was shortened by 10 laps because it was run under a two-hour time limit after IndyCar declared a wet start.

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GMR GRAND PRIX RESULTS: Race boxscore l Lap leader summary

“That was the hardest race I think I’ve ever done,” Herta told NBC Sports’ Marty Snider. Wet to dry, dry back to wet. And thank you so much for the Hoosiers for sticking around. I know you’re used to this kind of weather, so thank you so much. Love you guys.”

Herta became the fourth winner in five IndyCar races this season with his seventh career victory and first since the 2021 season finale at Long Beach.

It was the first victory on the IMS road course for Andretti Autosport (which has five Indy 500 wins).

It was also the first victory of the season for Honda after four consecutive victories by Chevrolet to start 2022.

Simon Pagenaud finished second, followed by Will Power, Marcus Ericsson and Conor Daly.

“I couldn’t see; I couldn’t drive at the end,” Pagenaud told NBC Sports’ Kevin Lee. “The car felt really good in the wet, but I just couldn’t see. It was treacherous at the end. You have to say congrats to Colton because it was really tough to finish the race.”

After a yellow flag on Lap 57 for a spin by Jimmie Johnson, Herta was one of several lead-lap drivers who pitted for slick tires. But he was back in the pits two laps later for rain tires as showers intensified.

It proved to be a wise decision as leader Scott McLaughlin, who elected to stay on slicks, spun under yellow, and Herta quickly passed O’Ward for the lead into Turn 1 after the race returned to green.

“It was just so hard to decide whether to go to wets or slicks when it was raining on one side of the track and dry on the other,” Power, who maintained his top-five streak to start the season, told NBC Sports’ Dillon Welch. “We just talked about it and decided we had to get wets because you were going to make a mistake if you stayed on slicks, which we saw so many guys under yellow doing.

“I tried to be smart and didn’t want to take too big of a risk. I give it to guys like Colton and Pato who can wheel it in these conditions. They’re hard to contend with, these guys. Congrats to Colton to put the race together like that and get it done.”

The race started nearly 40 minutes later than planned because of delays for nearby lightning.

The 14-turn, 2.439-mile road course already had begun to dry at the green flag, and several drivers—led by Herta on the third lap after he started 14th—quickly began diving into the pits to change onto slick tires.

After making an impressive save while sliding through the infield course on his first lap on slicks, Herta cycled into the lead on Lap 5 as O’Ward and the rest of the field pitted to get off the rain tires.



Source: motorsports.nbcsports.com

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