Thursday, November 23, 2023

Colton Herta Paces Eventful Second Practice at Mid-Ohio

Colton Herta led second practice at Mid-Ohio.
Colton Herta pushed to the top of the charts at the end of second practice at Mid-Ohio. Image courtesy of Joe Skibinski / Penske Entertainment

Colton Herta paced a closely contested second practice for the Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio that also featured a trio of red flags.

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Piloting the No. 26 Andretti Autosport Honda, the 22-year-old California native ended up pulling out a flying lap of 1m07.0275s (121.276) on his last run around the 13-turn, 2.258-mile natural terrain road course.

Will Power was at or near the top for the majority of the session, with his No. 12 Team Penske Chevrolet ultimately finishing a slim 0.0034s behind Herta. Josef Newgarden, the defending race winner who also led opening practice on Friday, ended up 0.0339s behind to collect third in the No. 2 Team Penske Chevrolet.

NTT IndyCar Series rookie David Malukas, piloting the No. 18 Dale Coyne Racing with HMD Motorsports Honda, continued his positive momentum for the weekend to finish fourth at just 0.0703s behind.

The No. 10 Chip Ganassi Racing Honda of Alex Palou claimed fifth.

Rinus VeeKay, Pato O’Ward, Scott McLaughlin, Scott Dixon and Alexander Rossi rounded out the rest of the top 10.

There were a few off-track moments that didn’t cause any stoppage to the session. Championship leader Marcus Ericsson was the most notable with a brief adventure as his No. 8 Chip Ganassi Racing Honda ended up cutting the grass with a 360-degree spin, but was able to continue on without further incident. He ended the session 15th.

The aforementioned red flags began just a few minutes into the session when rookie Devlin DeFrancesco’s No. 29 Andretti Steinbrenner Autosport Honda went off course and head-on into the Turn 2 tire barrier. Despite the contact, there was no heavy damage and the 22-year-old Canadian was able to continue on. He ended up 23rd.

The second stoppage came roughly 40 minutes into the session after Dalton Kellett drifted off and plowed into the Turn 12 barrier. The 28-year-old Canadian was helped out of the No. 4 AJ Foyt Racing Chevrolet by the AMR Safety Team. He was later seen and released from the Infield Care Center.

The final red flag came out with just under two minutes to go after Power stopped in the grass to the inside of Turn 4 with an apparent throttle issue. The session was not resumed due to the 60-minute timed clock expiring.

Up Next: Qualifying at 2:45 p.m. ET, with live coverage on Peacock and the IndyCar Radio Network.

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