Continuing our driver review series of the top 20 drivers of the 2022 NTT IndyCar Series championship, we now move into the first of our single-driver reviews until reaching Will Power, the 2022 IndyCar Series champion.
Here, we will focus on Colton Herta, the 10th placed driver in the championship points.
Colton Herta has the distinction of being the lowest-placed driver in the 2022 IndyCar points table with a race win. However, that win in May at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course was a season-defining drive.
The second-generation racer pitted for dry-weather slick tires at the end of the second lap of the race on a track that was still drying from an earlier thunderstorm. Herta’s micro-sector data told the tale of a driver tip-toeing on a track with a small dry line faster than those on wet-weather tires.
Herta caught and passed the rest of the field as his tires reached racing temperatures, taking the effective lead of the race after one of the best wet weather slides ever recorded on video.
The win in that race was Herta’s main highlight of a 2022 season marred by unfortunate circumstances.
At Long Beach, the Californian went into Turn 9 too fast late in the race, crashing the No. 26 Andretti Autosport Honda. After winning the pole and leading much of the first half of the race, the car sat silent on pit road, abandoned after being able to continue any further.
On Carb Day before the Indianapolis 500, Herta hit the wall exiting Turn 1, flipping upside down and landing near Turn 2. Herta’s primary car was ruined and he was not allowed a shakedown run for the backup car before the 500. IndyCar then parked the No. 26 Andretti Autosport Honda in the race for running too slowly.
Herta’s final retirement of 2022 came at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course race in July. While leading, Herta went over the Turn 8 curb with the center of the car, damaging the gearbox in the process. Instead of a near-certain win, Herta finished 24th.
Long Beach would have been a near-certain podium. Combining the theoretical point gain from there and the possible July IMS road course win, Herta almost certainly would have been eighth in points. Instead Herta is 10th, losing the ninth place tiebreaker to teammate Alexander Rossi. Both drivers had a win and second place finish, but Rossi had a third place finish at Road America while Herta had no thirds in 2022.
Disappointment further mounted for Herta when the FIA refused to grant him a Superlicense that would allow him to race in Formula One. Speculation had linked Herta with an open seat at the Alpha Tauri team for 2023 which eventually went to Nyck de Vries.
Herta will be the most-tenured IndyCar driver at Andretti Autosport in 2023. Whether he’ll be top in points among his teammates is anybody’s guess.