Herta and Rossi rebound from being a lap down each to top 5 finishes in Nashville, how they did it with their thoughts on a wild day

NASHVILLE, Tenn — Colton Herta qualified 23rd. He crashed in qualifying on Saturday. His Nashville weekend was looking nothing like the last one a year ago. Early on in the race, Herta had contact and had to pit for repairs which dropped him down a lap.

Not long after, Alexander Rossi got off course in Turn 10 sparking the first yellow of the race. He too would drop a lap down afterwards.

Now, Herta and Rossi were bringing up the rear.

They lucked out though with the next 2 cautions. The Lap 22 yellow brought them back to the lead lap. They’d elect to pit right after we went green to hopefully not only avoid losing a lap, but to have fresh tires. It worked. There was a quick caution on the restart to not only put them back in it, they’d not be able to pack back up to the back of the field again.

The race was on.

Herta drove up to finish 4th with Rossi in 5th. They made brilliant passes all race and proved that they had cars capable of winning if they could have started further up front.

“This place is pretty wild,” Rossi said. “I think that’s as good as a win. Huge thank you to the team for hanging in there.”

Herta agreed.

“I’m happy with how we came back, not only from starting at the back, but also being a lap down at some point that doesn’t happen too often,” said Herta.

“(Marucs) Ericsson never won a lap down. So that’s what the difference was. I didn’t think I was going to win when I was a lap down, no.

“I thought if we could get our lap back, hopefully this race is crazy, we could get a top ten, but I did not think that we could get all the way up there to fifth or even podium or a win, which it looked like it was possible if I nailed some of those restarts, but I just didn’t do it.”

Herta said that this was unexpected. He didn’t think that after the early race incident they’d be able to rebound as good as they did. He says that he hit the wall pretty hard.

“The front wing must have taken the brute force of it because it seemed like the right front should have been knocked off immediately, but we’ve seen stuff with these INDYCARs. We’ve seen stuff here how strong they are and stuff. It is a little bit of a surprise that the car was okay to keep going after that.

“Yeah, it was a crazy one, but some of it was enjoyable for me,” he says. “Some of it not so much. Really didn’t think that we were going to be that good after getting taken out going a lap down, but the damage on the right front wasn’t terrible to the wishbones, and so it was still drivable.

“We still seemed to have some speed even with that. Once we were able to pass by some people, kind of got me excited. And the guys in the pit did an amazing job getting me probably six spots today on two stops so, they were pretty stellar. Yeah, it was enjoyable for some parts and for some others not so much.”

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