Herta leads the way in Iowa Speedway hybrid test

Colton Herta was the fastest driver during Thursday’s overcast and contact-laden hybrid NTT IndyCar Series test at Iowa Speedway. The Andretti Global driver’s No. 26 Honda turned an unofficial best of 16.954s around the 0.875-mile oval, which recently underwent a repaving in the corners. It compares favorably to the pole time of 17.725s set last year by Team Penske’s Will Power on the old surface and in a non-hybrid car that weighed approximately 100 pounds less.

Second on the overcast day that had an afternoon interruption by rain was Penske’s Scott McLaughlin in the No. 3 Chevy (16.971s), followed by Andretti’s Marcus Ericsson in third with the No. 28 Honda (17.008s), Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing’s Graham Rahal in fourth with the No. 15 Honda (17.022s), Arrow McLaren’s Pato O’Ward in fifth with the No. 5 Chevy (17.055s), and Chip Ganassi Racing’s Scott Dixon completed the top six in the No. 9 Honda (17.103s).

Defending race winner Josef Newgarden made light contact in the afternoon in his Penske entry, and RLL’s Pietro Fittipaldi also got into the wall with a harder hit. Juncos Hollinger Racing’s Romain Grosjean met the wall as well, and the rough day for Penske continued when Power crashed.


Feedback from some drivers pointed to the emergence of a single lane to use at the bottom of the track, but there was optimism that the upcoming Hy-Vee doubleheader weekend will offer more great racing.

“I think it’ll be very different this year; the racetrack is basically brand new and with the repave in the corners, it’s going to drive totally different than what it did,” Newgarden said. “I love this track. I always have and I like the area. Newton (Iowa) comes alive during race weekend more so now, because of the involvement with Hy-Vee. Hy-Vee has been such a great partner for us and they’ve made this a destination event.”

RLL’s Rahal shared in Newgarden’s enthusiasm.

“I think (the partial repave) has leveled the playing field,” he said. “It’s a big day; it’s a good day to have a test. Obviously for us as a team, Hy-Vee is our biggest partner and we really want to do well for Hy-Vee here. The commitment Hy-Vee made to our sport is unlike anything else. And so, we want to win for them.”

Story originally appeared on Racer