Andretti Autosport driver Colton Herta won one of the most eventful races in modern IndyCar history as he triumphed from 14th on the grid in the wet at the Indianapolis road course.
Pre-race rain meant IndyCar mandated the use of wets for the start, but Herta was the first to gamble on slicks at the end of lap two. That created the initial leap from 14th to second.
Arrow McLaren SP’s Pato O’Ward had jumped to the lead by capitalising on polesitter Will Power and Josef Newgarden colliding at the Turn 7 complex and Alex Palou having a slow run to Turn 12.
O”Ward pitted the lap after Herta and emerged fractionally ahead, with Herta totally sideways for much of Turn 8 with a ridiculous save before passing O’Ward heading to Turn 12.
— IndyCar on NBC (@IndyCaronNBC) May 14, 2022
Then Palou spun on lap six to cause a yellow that reset the field with Herta leading O’Ward and his team-mate Felix Rosenqvist.
Herta disappeared to the tune of over three seconds but a caution on lap 18 – for contact between Newgarden in sixth and Jack Harvey – erased that gap, and then another caution for a Rinus VeeKay spin straight after took more laps off the board.
The first green flag stops came just inside 30 laps of 85 and Herta pitted first of the leaders, using a well executed undercut to maintain the advantage. Rosenqvist, who stayed out longer than O’Ward, jumped to second.
However, another caution for a Dalton Kellett spin and a consequent delay for race control to check the order of the field meant another long hold, and when the race restarted, O’Ward spun trying to avoid hitting Herta at Turn 1. Rosenqvist lost his wing hitting the spinning O’Ward and Takuma Sato in fifth also went around, shaking up the top 10.
Ganassi’s Marcus Ericsson had stayed out under the previous caution to lead in case the race was ended for incoming bad weather, but the showers weren’t too bad and he plummeted as Herta retook the lead with fresh tyres on the restart.
Penske’s Scott McLaughlin, who started 11th, took second, while a host of incidents behind shook up the top 10.
Harvey hit Romain Grosjean at Turn 6 taking both out of the podium positions and giving 20th place starter Simon Pagenaud the third spot.
However after tearing past Callum Ilott, Power, Harvey, Grosjean and then Pagenaud, O’Ward took third before Jimmie Johnson spinning on lap 57 brought out a caution where everyone pitted for soft tyres.
With drivers struggling to keep cars on the increasingly wet road though, Herta led a group to the pits while McLaughlin, O’Ward and Grosjean stayed out on slicks.
Even with the wets on Herta went off behind the safety car and Grosjean spun also, while the time ticked over to mean the race would run to a time limit instead of the 85 laps scheduled.
McLaughlin then spun under the safety car at Turn 13 to hand the lead back to O’Ward, Herta passed O’Ward on the restart and McLaughlin spun again at Turn 3 for another caution.
That left leader O’Ward with the impossible decision between staying out on a wet track on slicks or pitting and plummeting down the order. He then spun at Turn 12 to drop to fourth and stayed out, then pitted as the field came to green.
Herta took the lead and flew at the restart in easily the wettest conditions of the day, and even with a small off-track moment he held off Pagenaud – who had charged to victory in 2019 in the wet but couldn’t repeat that feat this time.
Herta claimed his, Honda and Andretti’s first win of the season – doing donuts to celebrate – off the back of two personal errors taking him out of strong points-paying positions in recent races.
Pagenaud’s back to front drive was incredible, and a symptom of what was possible by keeping your nose clean and racing fairly all day.
Power took the championship lead and maintained a 100% record of top four finishes this year with third, ahead of a brilliant comeback from Ericsson who passed multiple cars following the last restart.
Conor Daly went to the back early on after running off line in the wet but was another driver to benefit from the majority of the field being a lap down to take fifth, ahead of Rosenqvist, who charged late on to recover some of the spots lost in that earlier incident that wasn’t his fault. He’d lost more time than O’Ward changing a front wing so the rebound was impressive.
Sato, who’d been constantly in the wars, finished in seventh place ahead of Ilott who gave Juncos Hollinger its best finish yet in eighth place.
Christian Lundgaard of Rahal Letterman Lanigan and Scott Dixon rounded out the top 10.
O’Ward was 17th after the late stop, ahead of McLaughlin and Grosjean.
Palou recovered to 20th after an early spin took him out of the race momentarily, and Newgarden got going again to finish 25th.
Juan Pablo Montoya was classified 24th after crashing at Turn 12 with minutes to go, losing what would have been a sixth place after a year out of the car as he looks to prepare for the Indianapolis 500.
|Pos||Name||Team||Car||Laps||Laps Led||Total Time||Fastest Lap||Pitstops||Pts|
|1||Colton Herta||Andretti Autosport with Curb-Agajanian||Dallara DW12-Honda||75||50||2h1m56.327s||1m11.741s||4||53|
|2||Simon Pagenaud||Meyer Shank Racing||Dallara DW12-Honda||75||0||+3.098s||1m12.573s||4||40|
|3||Will Power||Team Penske||Dallara DW12-Chevrolet||75||0||+7.154s||1m12.661s||4||36|
|4||Marcus Ericsson||Chip Ganassi Racing||Dallara DW12-Honda||75||10||+7.819s||1m12.83s||6||33|
|5||Conor Daly||Ed Carpenter Racing||Dallara DW12-Chevrolet||75||0||+9.653s||1m11.946s||4||30|
|6||Felix Rosenqvist||Arrow McLaren SP||Dallara DW12-Chevrolet||75||4||+11.095s||1m12.076s||5||29|
|7||Callum Ilott||Juncos Hollinger Racing||Dallara DW12-Chevrolet||75||0||+11.481s||1m12.981s||4||26|
|8||Takuma Sato||Dale Coyne Racing with RWR||Dallara DW12-Honda||75||0||+11.51s||1m12.492s||5||24|
|9||Christian Lundgaard||Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing||Dallara DW12-Honda||75||0||+11.805s||1m12.861s||6||22|
|10||Scott Dixon||Chip Ganassi Racing||Dallara DW12-Honda||75||0||+13.991s||1m12.221s||3||20|
|11||Alexander Rossi||Andretti Autosport||Dallara DW12-Honda||75||0||+16.73s||1m12.724s||5||19|
|12||David Malukas||Dale Coyne Racing with HMD Motorsport||Dallara DW12-Honda||75||0||+17.982s||1m13.404s||5||18|
|13||Jack Harvey||Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing||Dallara DW12-Honda||75||0||+19.575s||1m11.855s||4||17|
|14||Hélio Castroneves||Meyer Shank Racing||Dallara DW12-Honda||75||0||+24.488s||1m12.629s||4||16|
|15||Tatiana Calderón||A.J. Foyt Enterprises||Dallara DW12-Chevrolet||75||1||+31.926s||1m12.91s||5||16|
|16||Graham Rahal||Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing||Dallara DW12-Honda||75||0||+41.804s||1m12.956s||5||14|
|17||Patricio O'Ward||Arrow McLaren SP||Dallara DW12-Chevrolet||75||5||+45.958s||1m11.965s||4||13|
|18||Scott McLaughlin||Team Penske||Dallara DW12-Chevrolet||75||5||+53.198s||1m12.118s||4||12|
|19||Romain Grosjean||Andretti Autosport||Dallara DW12-Honda||74||0||+1 lap||1m12.715s||5||12|
|20||Alex Palou||Chip Ganassi Racing||Dallara DW12-Honda||74||0||+1 lap||1m11.918s||7||11|
|21||Devlin DeFrancesco||Andretti Steinbrenner Autosport||Dallara DW12-Honda||73||0||+2 laps||1m12.042s||5||9|
|22||Jimmie Johnson||Chip Ganassi Racing||Dallara DW12-Honda||73||0||+2 laps||1m13.688s||6||8|
|23||Rinus VeeKay||Ed Carpenter Racing||Dallara DW12-Chevrolet||73||0||+2 laps||1m12.793s||7||7|
|24||Juan Pablo Montoya||Arrow McLaren SP||Dallara DW12-Chevrolet||72||0||+3 laps||1m12.749s||4||6|
|25||Josef Newgarden||Team Penske||Dallara DW12-Chevrolet||60||0||+15 laps||1m12.102s||5||5|
|Kyle Kirkwood||A.J. Foyt Enterprises||Dallara DW12-Chevrolet||53||0||DNF||1m12.297s||5||5|
|Dalton Kellett||A.J. Foyt Enterprises||Dallara DW12-Chevrolet||34||0||DNF||1m12.934s||2||5|