Rookie Herta Fastest In Second IndyCar Practice

Rookie Colton Herta emerged atop the speed chart following Friday afternoon’s second IndyCar Series practice for the DXC Technology 600 at Texas Motor Speedway.
Herta’s best lap around TMS’ high-banked/1.5-mile quad-oval was 222.451 mph in the No. 88 GESS/Capstone Honda fielded by Harding Steinbrenner Racing. Herta was followed by Japanese star Takuma Sato at 220.974 mph in the No. 30 ABeam Consulting Honda fielded by Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing and Alexander Rossi at 220.734 mph in the No. 27 GESS/Capstone Honda fielded by Andretti Autosport.
Herta excitedly recorded his first series oval test laps here on April 19, and went on to post a deflating last-place finish in his first oval race – the 103rd running of the Indianapolis 500 on May 26. Herta was the fastest rookie in Thursday night’s rain-abbreviated practice at 217.095 mph, good for seventh on the overall chart. Friday’s session was a confidence booster for the 19-year-old second generation driver.

“I did get a nice tow, but that’s not what we were really looking at,” Herta said after his 71-lap stint in sunny and hot conditions. “It was the perfect lap (his 57th). The car feels good running in dirty air and I think all the drivers will say the leader board doesn’t really matter because the tow was so good. The car is huge here because it’s such a hard track to keep the tires under you.”
Herta became the youngest winner in the history of Indy car racing when he won the inaugural INDYCAR Classic on the road course in Austin, Texas, on March 24. He was 18 years, 11 months and 25 days old when he prevailed in his second series start.
Will Power led the Chevrolet camp Friday at 220.412 mph in the No. 12 Verizon Team Penske entry, good for fourth. Defending event-winner Scott Dixon, the five-time/reigning series champion, was sixth at 219.976 mph in the No. 9 PNC Bank Honda fielded by Chip Ganassi Racing.
Tire degradation continues as a key issue heading into Saturday night’s 248-lapper. Firestone Racing has supplied nearly 1,300 tires for on-track activities here including practice, qualifying and the race. Each entry has received 14 sets of Firestone Firehawk race tires.
Thursday’s rained-out session was scheduled to allow teams to practice in conditions similar to what they likely will experience Saturday night. As a result, sanctioning body INDYCAR ordered all teams to scrub-in four sets of tires during an extra 30-minute session that preceded Friday’s one-hour practice.
After tire-testing here in October 2018 and this past March, the Firestone Race Tire Engineering team has brought a faster-wearing right side compound that is more heat-resistant on the 1.5-mile layout. The right-side construction and the left side tires are the same as last year, according to Cara Adams, chief engineer, Bridgestone Americas Motorsports.

Coverage of “America’s Original Nighttime IndyCar Race” will be carried live on NBC Sports Network beginning at 7 p.m. (CDT).
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