Huertas wins first IndyCar race amidst Houston chaos

Huertas wins first IndyCar race amidst Houston chaos

28 June 2014 – Carlos Huertas survived countless late-race cautions and changeable conditions to cap off an all-Colombian podium in the first of two races at the Grand Prix of Houston.

The Dale Coyne Racing rookie found himself at the front of the field with just a handful of laps remaining after Justin Wilson was forced to pit from the lead. Two consecutive cautions in what turned into a timed race meant that Huertas coasted across the line under caution to win his first ever IndyCar race ahead of Juan Pablo Montoya and Carlos Munoz.

Heavy rains that swept through the Houston area after qualifying meant the race would officially start under wet conditions with the new wet compound brought to the race by Firestone. This also prompted officials to determine that the race would last one hour and 50 minutes instead of its scheduled number of laps.

The moisture would complicate an already-difficult standing start, executed almost perfectly by the field were it not for Graham Rahal stalling.

Rahal would play a part in securing the victory for Huertas after punting third-placed Tony Kanaan while running behind the Safety Car. Rahal ran squarely into the back of the Brazilian with just one lap remaining, knocking Kanaan out of the top 10 and earning Rahal a 30-second penalty that pushed him off the podium (but still ahead of Kanaan in the overall results).

Race control kept the caution out, and the former Formula Renault 3.5 series driver, who started P19 and had last pitted 39 laps before, had just enough fuel to make it to the chequered flag.

The race was a mix of wet and dry conditions, switching between the two a couple of times during what ended up being an 80-lap affair.

Former Formula 1 driver Takuma Sato charged through the field early on to take the lead, which he promptly stretched to 4.5 seconds. He soon found himself stuck behind Marco Andretti, though, who had been spun by his team-mate and was fighting to stay on the lead lap. Being caught up meant that second-placed (and fellow Andretti Autosport driver) James Hinchcliffe could close in on Sato. In doing so, Andretti had been ignoring blue flags for several laps – which earned him a black flag drive-through penalty, but the damage to Sato's lead had already been done.

Hinchcliffe would jump the Japanese driver in the first round of pit-stops, but Sato's race would truly be unravelled at the halfway point. On a wet restart, the lapped Mikhail Aleshin made a run on the outside of the A.J. Foyt car, and Sato slowly drifted his way across half the width of the track before pushing Aleshin and himself into the fronstretch wall. Sato's strong run was over, but it appeared that he hurt his wrist in the crash – something that will be evaluated ahead of tomorrow's second race.

Just before the race resumed, Luca Filippi, who had been running among the leaders all weekend, pinballed off the final corner into the opposite wall, citing a lack of expected understeer as the cause of his misjudgment.  Josef Newgarden had done the same thing a lap earlier.

A few laps later, Scott Dixon would also make a mistake that sent him careening into the wall. On the ensuing rebound, he collected Charlie Kimball and Simon Pagenaud, damaging both of their cars (but not terminally).

Just 10 laps later, points leader Will Power, who started the race P18 and had not quite recovered by then, hit the tyre barrier to bring out another caution. This caution was too soon for the leaders to pit, sealing their decisions to try to make it to the end of the race 25 minutes later. This would prove to be the wrong move for Wilson, but it worked for the other six cars that had stayed out during the last round of pit-stops during the Dixon incident. This was the group that included the three Colombians, Kanaan and Rahal.

So on the day that the Colombian football team triumphed in the World Cup, three compatriots occupied the Houston podium – two rookies and a former series champion who is back in the sport for the first time in a decade.

Sunday's Race 2 at Houston begins at 2pm local time (GMT -5), with qualifying four hours prior

related

Comments

Latest News
Full
Compact

  1. Tuesday 2 September 2014

  2. Ferrari open to Ross Brawn return 14:42

    Ferrari open to Ross Brawn return

    Ferrari's new Team Principal, Marco Mattiacci, has said that he would welcome back Ross Brawn, should the latter desire to...

    F1
  3. Video: Räikkönen puts on show in Rotterdam 13:28

    Video: Räikkönen puts on show in Rotterdam

    Look back at Ferrari driver Kimi Räikkönen's demo runs at the VKV City Racing event in Rotterdam.

    F1
  4. McLaren looks to consolidate fifth position 11:39

    McLaren looks to consolidate fifth position

    McLaren says its aim for the rest of the season is to secure fifth in the championship standings. The Woking-based team...

    F1
  5. Two DRS zones retained for Monza 10:41

    Two DRS zones retained for Monza

    The FIA has retained the traditional pair of DRS zones for this year's Italian Grand Prix. Since the introduction of the...

    F1
  6. Alonso insists he will stay at Ferrari 09:14

    Alonso insists he will stay at Ferrari

    Fernando Alonso insists that he has no intention to leave Ferrari at the end of the 2014 campaign. The Italian marque,...

    F1
  7. Sochi grandstand named in Kvyat's honour 08:23

    Sochi grandstand named in Kvyat's honour

    Russian Grand Prix organisers have named a grandstand at Sochi Autodrom in Daniil Kvyat's honour. The grandstand in...

    F1
  8. Honda open to customer teams from 2016 07:12

    Honda open to customer teams from 2016

    Honda says it would be open to supplying customer teams in Formula 1 from the 2016 campaign, having clarified that its power...

    F1
  9. Monza memories: Closest Formula 1 finish 05:07

    Monza memories: Closest Formula 1 finish

    Relive the closest finish in Formula 1 history at the 1971 Italian Grand Prix. Peter Gethin took the chequered flag first,...

    F1
  10. Monday 1 September 2014

  11. Video: Ronaldo, Button go for a spin 18:57

    Video: Ronaldo, Button go for a spin

    Real Madrid forward Cristiano Ronaldo went for a spin with McLaren driver Jenson Button at the Circuito del Jarama on...

    F1
  12. I won't give up in title fight, Hamilton vows 18:04

    I won't give up in title fight, Hamilton vows

    Lewis Hamilton insists that he will not give up in his quest for the 2014 Formula 1 title, as he looks to cut Mercedes...

    F1
  13. Van der Garde gets another FP1 outing 16:00

    Van der Garde gets another FP1 outing

    Sauber reserve Giedo van der Garde will get his seventh practice outing of 2014 at the Italian Grand Prix. The former...

    F1
  14. Honda can match Mercedes, Arai reaffirms 14:09

    Honda can match Mercedes, Arai reaffirms

    Honda's motorsport chief, Yasuhisa Arai, has reiterated his belief that the Japanese brand will be able to match current...

    F1
  15. Lotus drivers back Parabolica changes 13:42

    Lotus drivers back Parabolica changes

    Lotus duo Romain Grosjean and Pastor Maldonado have backed the decision to replace the gravel trap on the outside of Monza's...

    F1
  16. Ricciardo collects Lorenzo Bandini trophy 12:50

    Ricciardo collects Lorenzo Bandini trophy

    Daniel Ricciardo collected the Trofeo Lorenzo Bandini at a ceremony in Brisighella, Italy on Sunday. The trophy, awarded...

    F1
  17. 11:13

    Photos: 2014 VKV City Racing Rotterdam

    F1
  18. Álex Márquez seals Moto2 promotion 11:07

    Álex Márquez seals Moto2 promotion

    Álex Márquez, the younger brother of reigning MotoGP World Champion Marc, will step up to the Moto2 class with the Mark VDS R...

    MotoGP
  19. Force India duo confident over Monza chances 10:37

    Force India duo confident over Monza chances

    Force India drivers Nico Hülkenberg and Sergio Pérez are hopeful of putting together a more competitive showing at this w...

    F1
  20. Márquez had 'score to settle' after 2013 09:14

    Márquez had 'score to settle' after 2013

    Repsol Honda rider Marc Márquez says he had a "score to settle" with Jorge Lorenzo at this year's British Grand Prix, having...

    MotoGP
  21. Monza memories: Button caught out at restart 05:00

    Monza memories: Button caught out at restart

    Relive the drama as Jenson Button is caught out by a slow Safety Car restart at the 2000 Italian Grand Prix.

    F1
  22. Sunday 31 August 2014

  23. Aleshin's condition upgraded to stable 15:57

    Aleshin's condition upgraded to stable

    Mikhail Aleshin will remain in hospital but his condition has been upgraded to stable following his huge IndyCar practice...

    Indy
  24. Verstappen damages wing during Rotterdam run 15:42

    Verstappen damages wing during Rotterdam run

    Dutch youngster Max Verstappen has had a minor crash during his first public Formula 1 outing at the VKV City Racing event...

    F1
  25. Williams plans to retain Massa, Bottas – Smedley 14:31

    Williams plans to retain Massa, Bottas – Smedley

    Williams Head of Performance Engineering Rob Smedley says the team plans to retain current drivers Felipe Massa and Valtteri...

    F1
  26. 13:51

    Latest MotoGP photos: Sunday at Silverstone

    MotoGP
  27. Márquez beats Lorenzo for 11th win of 2014 13:50

    Márquez beats Lorenzo for 11th win of 2014

    Marc Márquez came out on top in a battle with Jorge Lorenzo to claim his 11th victory of the season in the British Grand...

    MotoGP
  28. Lotterer open to more Caterham outings 11:49

    Lotterer open to more Caterham outings

    André Lotterer says he is open to more Formula 1 outings with Caterham, having made his debut in the sport with the team at...

    F1
  29. Gastaldi adamant Lotus can revive fortunes 10:09

    Gastaldi adamant Lotus can revive fortunes

    Deputy Team Principal Federico Gastaldi is adamant that there is 'plenty to look forward to' at Lotus, despite the squad...

    F1
  30. 06:00

    Latest IndyCar photos: Saturday at Fontana

    Indy
  31. Power finally captures title, Kanaan wins Fontana 05:54

    Power finally captures title, Kanaan wins Fontana

    Will Power's voice cracked audibly as he spoke to his team on the cool-down laps at Fontana on Saturday night.  Three times...

    Indy
  32. Video of the Day: Formula 1 in every Renault 05:00

    Video of the Day: Formula 1 in every Renault

    Renault drivers receive an unexpected, special welcome whilst arriving at a supermarket car park.

    F1
  33. Saturday 30 August 2014

  34. 18:24

    Latest MotoGP photos: Saturday at Silverstone

    MotoGP
  35. Márquez beats Dovizioso to Silverstone pole 15:01

    Márquez beats Dovizioso to Silverstone pole

    MotoGP championship leader Marc Márquez claimed pole position for the British Grand Prix in cool and cloudy conditions...

    MotoGP
  36. Maldonado anticipating tough Monza weekend 13:18

    Maldonado anticipating tough Monza weekend

    Pastor Maldonado is anticipating a tough time for Lotus as Formula 1 heads to the high-speed Monza for next weekend's...

    F1
  37. 12:30

    Photos: Red Bull's 50 Formula 1 wins

    F1
  38. Márquez quickest despite fall at Silverstone 10:48

    Márquez quickest despite fall at Silverstone

    Marc Márquez set the fastest time during the third practice session for the British Grand Prix at Silverstone, before...

    MotoGP
  39. Aleshin in 'serious but stable' condition 10:09

    Aleshin in 'serious but stable' condition

    SMP Racing driver Mikhail Aleshin is in a 'serious but stable' condition following a violent accident during practice for...

    Indy
  40. Video of the Day: Singapore winner's trophy 05:00

    Video of the Day: Singapore winner's trophy

    View the winner's trophy for this year's Singapore Grand Prix, inspired by the Singapore Airlines logo.

    F1
  41. Aleshin airlifted to hospital after violent crash 04:50

    Aleshin airlifted to hospital after violent crash

    Russian rookie Mikhail Aleshin has been airlifted to Loma Linda University Medical Center in California after a violent...

    Indy
  42. Friday 29 August 2014

  43. Castroneves chips into points lead with Fontana pole 23:57

    Castroneves chips into points lead with Fontana pole

    Helio Castroneves picked up his second pole position of 2014 at the most crucial time possible: On the eve of the...

    Indy
  44. 23:57

    Latest IndyCar photos: Friday at Fontana

    Indy
  45. IndyCar to lose Houston, switch Toronto for Mosport 20:17

    IndyCar to lose Houston, switch Toronto for Mosport

    IndyCar confirmed today that the Houston street course would not be a part of the 2015 schedule.   Twice a sight of...

    Indy
more news