Colton Harta wins GP, Scott McLaughlin spins cautiously, leads Will Power

As Colton Harta sets his winning pass, he sees a red flashing light.

He is still in charge of the forward.

The 22-year-old California driver quickly ran inside Pato O’Ward when he made a late restart, took nine laps and led to a wild, bizarre victory over Simon Pagenad in 3.0983 seconds on the finish line. And Wet Indica Grand Prix.

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“Pure talent,” Harta joked when asked how he persevered for his first win of the season despite incredibly challenging weather conditions.

“The funniest thing is you don’t have a car that works great in the wet and great in the dry, but it happened today.”

Reaching the victory lane was certainly not easy for Hart, who won his first Indy win at the start of his 10th series on the track. He also became the first Honda driver to reach Victory Alley this season.

But he made all the right calls.

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After qualifying 14th in the 27-car grid, he made the bold choice to switch from rain tires to dry tires after just three laps in the race. Although he initially struggled to keep cool tires on the track and cut the side at the 10th turn of the 14-turn, 2.439-mile road course, almost spitting at Cole 4, Harta never backed down.

Somehow he hung up, quickly taking the lead and taking advantage which allowed him to go from 15th to first place. He was at the front of the pack for the rest of the race, leading 50 of 75 laps in a two-hour race with a time of just 53 minutes and 22 seconds.

It came at a time when race strategists and drivers were constantly changing plans due to rain or the threat of rain. Even when Harta was found to have made the wrong choice – such as running on dry tires after Alexander Rossi and returning to rain tires – things worked out.

“What I’m saying is that it’s probably wet with the condition of the track at the moment, but if you think it’s drying out we’ll go with the slicks,” Herta said, referring to the first of two late pit stops.

“When I got out of there, I knew it was going to be tough so we came back. Fortunately, everyone followed our lead and did the wrong thing so we didn’t lose too much space.”

PageNow and pole-winner Will Power struggled to navigate the spray from other cars. In the first Indica rain race with aero screens to capture Herta, both did not last long enough to watch.

Still, the two-three-time race winners and former teammates felt like they had achieved something too. PageNow, the French driver, gave Mayor Shank Racing the best finish of the season.

“It was nuts. Racing was awesome and strategy was the name of the game today,” he said.

“Sometimes the second one feels like a victory. I would love to win today, but we will probably celebrate tonight as a victory. “

Power defending series champion Alex Palo took the lead and Tim Pensk posted the best finish.

“In the end, you didn’t see it. I can’t think of returning to 10th or anything, “said the Australian.

“Pretty crazy day, you have to put on your toes and pick the right tire when and don’t overdo it. Just survive.”

Race organizers knew the weather would be a factor.

Hoping for a wet track, they pushed the start time about 30 minutes ahead.

Instead, the start was delayed – first by lightning near the area and then by an incessant light rain.

The cool, damper track changed everything. There were rotations and crashes, even cars struggling to stay in line under caution. And no one, not even the top name in the series, was immune.

Tim Pence jumped to retrieve two-time series champion Joseph Newgarden when his car was damaged in a Lap 17 crash. Power lost three spots in the first lap and did not fully recover, and Pensk’s third driver, Scott McLaughlin, lost the lead when he turned carefully.

Six-time series champion Scott Dixon, a New Zealand man who drove for Chip Gunsy Racing, ran out of fuel in Pete Lane. Dixon’s teammates, Spain’s Palo, like Rossi, fell out of the controversy when they got back in the rain tires too early.

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“I knew we could do it,” Herta said.

“Did I think we were going to win a simple dry run today? Probably not. However, we have adapted quite well. It was a lot of fun. “

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