MADISON, Ill — Andretti Autosport and Team Penske combined to have eight of the 23 cars in the field for Saturday’s Bommarito Automotive Group 500. Unfortunately, bad luck ensued for both organizations in the race.
Three of the five Andretti cars were taken out on the opening lap crash. Penske’s Simon Pagenaud was collected too. His car was able to continue on but was never right and he was black flagged early.
Will Power and Josef Newgarden were running in the top five before the unlucky second caution. They’d finish outside of the top 10 too.
Ryan Hunter-Reay never really had a race contending car as only young Colton Herta was the only one able to get his car into the top five at the finish among the eight.
Herta, finished fourth. It wasn’t like it was a fluke for him either. He had a top 10 car all race and benefitted from not pitting before the second caution and stayed there. He capitalized and earned his fourth top five of the season. He had three all of last year. It was also his 14th career top 10 result as well.
“It was a fairly straightforward race for me, honestly,” said Herta. “We didn’t have a lot of passing but a really good strategy. I tried to make the fuel number, keep my distance and save the front tires. We made an incredibly good fuel number with the Capstone car. We went the longest on the first stint then was able to go that much longer on every stint after.
“We caught the yellow, and that kind of gave us our break. We had good in and out laps, so we got around Marcus (Ericsson) in pit stop cycles, and that was pretty much it. I don’t think I made a single pass on track. Strategy and knowing how to save fuel efficiently will be important for tomorrow, along with overall racecraft around this place and how to follow cars – so I think we have some takeaways from today.”
Herta, is showing that the old sophomore jinx is staying away from him. He’s been the best Andretti car all year and his No. 88 Honda is going to be a factor down the stretch.