Herta scored three wins in 2021, the one driver to match Palou by way of victories, however added solely two extra top-three finishes, whereas the Chip Ganassi Racing driver accrued 5 extra podiums.
That mentioned, Herta was the one Andretti driver to attain wins, and actually between them his three full-time teammates solely added two extra podium finishes, ending 10th (Alexander Rossi), 17th (Ryan Hunter-Reay) and 20th (James Hinchcliffe) within the last standings.
Though Colton Herta slipped from third in 2020 to fifth in ’21, Bryan believes that general it was a powerful yr for the #26 Gainbridge-backed automobile.
“I simply proceed to be not stunned, however impressed by the way in which he’s continued to develop and fill in gaps to develop into an entire driver and racer,” mentioned the senior Herta, who noticed his son surpass his tally of 4 Indy automobile wins.
“He’s actually had an exceptional yr; it’s nearly arduous to imagine that he was solely fifth within the championship.
“We really feel just like the potential has been there to be combating with Palou, however for a number of issues. Some had been inside our management, some outdoors of our management.
“I by no means wish to say that, as a result of I really imagine you make your individual luck in racing, however by way of what he’s achieved on observe, you already know, Nashville was the one actual mistake he’s made in a race this yr that had any actual consequence.
“It’s been enjoyable for me to be part of that this yr. It’s very particular each as a father or mother and a racer to be on the racetrack along with your son each weekend, feeling like we’re competing to win.”
Amongst Herta’s many robust performances this yr, the brand new Nashville avenue course was the place he had the largest margin over his rivals.
Colton Herta, Andretti Autosport w/ Curb-Agajanian Honda
Picture by: Phillip Abbott / Motorsport Images
He was capable of undergo the primary spherical of qualifying utilizing Firestone’s main tires, in order that he had a recent set of softer ‘reds’ for the Quick Six shootout, and took pole by zero.55s.
Nevertheless, the race noticed a number of incidents inflicting yellow flags, a few which went towards Herta’s pitstop technique, in order that he received shuffled again within the order.
Though he placed on a scintillating efficiency to scythe previous a number of robust runners, when he reached second place he discovered chief Marcus Ericsson a tougher nut to crack. Whereas making an attempt to launch an assault, Herta slid right into a wall.
Afterward, the 21-year-old admitted that he had gotten “tunnel imaginative and prescient” making an attempt to take the win that his weekend-long tempo benefit over the opposition ought to have earned. His father means that honesty is considered one of his defining traits.
“The factor I really like about watching him is that he has a fantastic capability to be taught from errors,” mentioned Bryan. I’ve seen that since he was six years previous and beginning out in karting.
“He’s good at evaluating and accepting his function in issues; he’s not likely an enormous excuse-maker. He’s prepared to be taught after which do issues in a different way. In my profession I’ve had some nice champion teammates to look at up to now, and I feel it’s a typical trait, so I’m proud he displays that.”
Requested if he believed his son in 2022 may have a season like Palou’s in ’21, Herta replied: “I undoubtedly assume Colton is able to that. I feel he was this yr, however like I mentioned, it didn’t work out that approach.
“A man like Palou has actually elevated the extent of the IndyCar Collection, he’s proven himself to be an unimaginable expertise.
“I feel he’s received these few further years of expertise [outside of IndyCar] on Colton. However I see Colton – and Laguna Seca was a fantastic instance – as with the ability to carry out at that extraordinarily excessive degree, and it’s now about doing it on a extra common foundation.”