Last month, the Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires competitors took to Indianapolis Motor Speedway for the annual Chris Griffis Memorial Test. After two days of on-track action, Colton Herta finished the weekend second quickest on the overall speed chart.
Popular Open Wheel’s Ashley McCubbin recently caught up with the Andretti-Steinbrenner Racing driver to get his thoughts on the test and more.
POPULAR OPEN WHEEL: What are your thoughts on the Indy Lights test last month?
COLTON HERTA: It was good. It’s hard to tell what other people are running, so we were never really looking at lap times. It was about getting the car dialed in because that’s one place I feel we could’ve done better in the race last year. We didn’t quite have as good a base as others like Juncos (Racing) and Belardi (Auto Racing). But no, we were just focused on trying some stuff and we did, and I think we’re going to have a lot better car come May.
POW: How would you grade your rookie season in Indy Lights?
CH: Obviously, disappointment to not get the championship, but still very happy. We had really good speed. I learned a lot. There was a few places that I should’ve won, and I threw it away personally. There were also some bad weekends with stuff breaking, which is just kind of out of me and the team’s control; it was more parts that were breaking, and sometimes that stuff happens. It was a little bit of a struggle, but the sheer pace was there and that’s what we were happy about. I think it was like seven poles, four track records, so I was happy about that.
POW: Being your first year in Indy Lights, what’s the biggest lesson you took away from the experience to help you moving forward?
CH: For sure just the consistency in the races and not to push it too hard. You’re better off to take a second than a crash.
POW: What would it mean for you to win the championship and get a chance in IndyCar?
CH: It would be a lot of weight off of my shoulders. I think the Steinbrenners want to move up to IndyCar in the next few years, and this would be a huge boost because we get the million dollar. It would make things a lot smoother and cheaper as well.
POW: Oval, street course or road course. What’s your preference if you had to choose just one?
CH: Street course, for sure. I love street courses – not really St. Pete because I feel it’s more of a road course than a street course being so smooth, but I love Toronto.
POW: Now having ran everywhere, which track are you most looking forward to getting back to in 2018?
CH: Getting back to, I think Indy because I left off there with a result that I didn’t want; I had a crash, and we only did the first turn and a half. But, looking at places we’re not going back to, I think Portland. I’m looking forward to that; that’s going to be cool. IndyCar hasn’t raced there since – well, it would’ve been Champ car – 2007, so really looking forward to getting back there. I think it’s a great track and will produce some good racing as well.
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