Photo: Luis Torres/Motorsports Tribune

Herta Continues Momentum in Final Practice at Portland

By Luis Torres, Staff Writer

PORTLAND, Ore. – Colton Herta continues to show his strong pace after topping the final practice charts Saturday for the Grand Prix of Portland.

Herta’s No. 88 Capstone Turbine Honda was the only competitor to hit the 57 second mark with a time of 57.9939 seconds (121.916 mph), beating NTT IndyCar Series points leader Josef Newgarden by 0.1083 seconds.

He did this while running on fresher tires with four minutes remaining and said that was all the difference as he continues to struggle with handling that keeps him from fully being satisfied heading into qualifying at 6:00 pm EST.

“We had new tires at the end, so that’s what kind of what it was down to. We’re not completely there yet,” Herta said. “I think Turn 2 and Turn 7 we have some bad handling issue, but the car everywhere is else is so amazing that we can kind of make up for it. We definitely have a little bit of low speed oversteer and the car is just isn’t holding up mid-corner, so it’s sliding at the rear. The Capstone Honda has been really quick so far this weekend. Hopefully, we can keep it going.”

Behind Herta and Newgarden were Will Power, Scott Dixon and Alexander Rossi to round out the top-five.

The Shelton Chicane was were the action occurred in the final 45-minute session as multiple drivers either pushed it to the limit. No matter if it’s an Indy car rookie or the very experienced ones.

Both Chip Ganassi Racing drivers Scott Dixon and Felix Rosenqvist tried to find a little edge of speed to get them further up the practice charts, but to no avail as their lap run went to waste after overshooting the chicane.

Additionally, two drivers had their cars stalled which brought out the red flag. Those two separate stoppages occurred in under 10 minutes as A.J. Foyt Racing’s Matheus Leist and Dale Coyne Racing’s Santino Ferrucci needed assistance.

Leist was able to re-power his No. 4 ABC Supply Chevrolet but Ferrucci’s No. 19 Cly-Del Honda had to be towed back to the pit lane. The stalled car headlines an absolute woeful session that saw the man ninth in points at the bottom of the field.

While all of that happened, it became a complete afterthought as the entire Indy car paddock paid their homage to French driver and 2018 GP3 Series champion Anthoine Hubert, who was killed in a F2 crash at Spa-Francorchamps, with a moment of silence.

During difficult times like losing a driver, Herta said it’s hard to digest dealing a tragic situation.

“I didn’t knew him personally but it’s tough when you see somebody from the racing community,” Herta said. “Especially a driver because you can kind of relate to them a little bit more, lose their life in a racing incident. It’s something that we have to put in the back of our minds. We don’t like to think about, but it happens sometimes. It’s just awful so we’re thinking of him.”

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From the Pacific Northwest, Luis is a University of Idaho graduate with a Bachelor's degree in Broadcasting and Digital Media. Ever since watching the 2003 Daytona 500, being involved in auto racing is all he's ever dreamed of doing. Over the years, Luis has focused on writing, video and photography ranging from Idaho athletics to auto racing with ambitions of having his work recognized.