Colton Herta dominated the Firestone Grand Prix of St Petersburg to claim his fourth NTT IndyCar Series win to match father Bryan’s win total.
Herta looked imperious from the moment the green flag dropped and remain unfazed throughout despite several caution periods across the 100 lap race to claim his first win on a street course.
At one point, the young Californian pulled out a gap over 10 seconds to Penske’s Josef Newgarden, but was easily able to see off the challenge from the two-time series champion.
Despite being the instigator of the first lap smash at the opening round of the season at Barber Motorsports Park, Newgarden was able to bounce straight back to form as runner-up as he bids to recover points for the championship ahead.
Simon Pagenaud’s race was a fairly quiet affair after not being to match to the pace of Herta or Newgarden, but the Frenchman was still able to bring his brightly coloured No.22 Australian Gold-Chevrolet to the final spot on the podium.
Meyer Shank Racing’s Jack Harvey had shown a quick turn of pace all weekend, however, despite starting on front row alongside Herta, the British driver would fall behind the chasing Penske duo to cross the line in fourth.
A disappointing qualifying session for Scott Dixon left him eighth but the six-time champion proved yet again he can still collect solid points as the Kiwi moved up three spots to finish fifth.
Series veteran Takuma Sato made up several places from 15th to finish sixth. However, the Japanese driver did get involved in a collision early on in the race with former Andretti team-mate James Hinchcliffe leaving the Canadian with a puncture and falling a lap behind.
After a difficult strategy run at Barber, Marcus Ericsson went on the offensive with his strategy in St.Pete which guided the Swede to a seventh-place finish in his No.8 Huski Chocolate-Honda.
A calamitous qualifying session left Penske’s Will Power down in 20th place but that did not stop the Australian from pushing his way through the pack to secure a well-earned eighth place.
The performance leaves the recently resigned 40-year old just two points off the championship leader Alex Palou.
Ed Carpenter Racing’s Rinus Veekay made up places at the start of the race from seventh but looked to suffer from tyre wear issues which left the Dutchman struggling at times. The 20-year old crossed the line in ninth.
Four-time champion Sebastien Bourdais had issues as the cars left for the formations laps, but his A.J Foyt crew were quick enough to get him back on track and start from his fifth place starting position.
The Frenchman’s afternoon turned more eventful as he got caught up in a clash with Pagenaud at Turn 1 and took damage on the nose. Despite this he was able to round out the top 10.
Scott McLaughlin finished the highest of the rookies in 11th with Dale Coyne’s Romain Grosjean not far behind in 13th.
The upcoming May Day holiday weekend sees IndyCar head to Texas Motor Speedway for a double-header.