On Your Mark, Get Set, GO! – Colton Herta
On March 24 at Circuit of the Americas in Austin, Texas, Santa Clarita resident and West Ranch High School graduate Colton Herta shocked the world by winning his first IndyCar Series race just six days shy of his 19th birthday. The son of 4-time IndyCar race winner and 5-time Indy 500 competitor Bryan Herta, Colton holds the record as the youngest winner in IndyCar history and has no intentions of slowing down anytime soon.
From racing go karts as a child to performing at the sport’s highest level, Colton’s hard work culminated to a level of success very few at his age have seen. “It means so much to me. I’ve been working towards this my whole life, and to finally do it and be the youngest to do it is pretty incredible. It was such a rush in the first two or three weeks after it happened. It’s still super cool.”
With racing in his blood, following in his father’s footsteps was second nature to Colton. Colton has not only been inspired by his father, but he’s also learned a great deal about the world of car racing through his father’s experiences. “I’ve always remembered myself wanting to do it. I grew up in the world because my dad was an IndyCar driver. He’s very proud of me. I think he wanted someone in the family to race cars. He’s been through a lot of the stuff I’ve been through so he mentors me.”
For anyone who hasn’t raced in an IndyCar Series, it’s difficult to imagine what goes through someone’s mind daring enough to compete in such an intense and dangerous sport. According to Colton, “You kind of just focus on what you’re doing. I think some people might be different, but I’m always pretty focused on what’s going on and corner by corner just going through it.”
At only 19 years old, Colton already displays the work ethic of a veteran race car driver. “I just keep my head down and stay focused on what’s going on. I try to block out everybody else and give the best I can” Colton’s victory also marks a first win for Harding Steinbrenner Racing, co-owned by Mike Harding and George Michael Steinbrenner IV, grandson to the legendary former New York Yankees owner George Steinbrenner and son of the current co-owner, Hank Steinbrenner.
With such an historic win under his belt, Colton already has his eyes set on the future. “I think winning an IndyCar Championship would be amazing, and winning the Indy 500, which is the most prestigious motor race in the world, would be pretty spectacular.”
Colton has set the bar high for other young drivers and offers his best advice for anyone dedicated enough to follow in his footsteps. “Just stay focused, and do the best you can. You can only do so much as a driver. You need a really good team around you as well. But if you’re doing the best you can, people will take notice.”
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