Poor showing has Herta eager for start of IRL season

first_imgIf anything good came out of Bryan Herta’s 15th-place finish in the A1 Grand Prix of Nations race at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca, it has made him eager for the Indy Racing League season to start. “I can’t wait to get to Miami,” said Herta, who drives for Andretti Green Racing in the IRL IndyCar Series. “I’m so (ticked) off and fired up. I want to get back in a race car.” It was a frustrating weekend for Herta and his United States entry in the A1 Grand Prix, a worldwide racing series that pits drivers from different countries against each other. He had to deal with mistakes on set-ups, a poor qualifying effort and a faulty front suspension in the only A1 Grand Prix race in the United States, at a track where Herta is a two-time winner against world-class competition. This was Herta’s third race for Team USA in the A1 Grand Prix. There is one race left on the A1 Grand Prix schedule, April 2 at Shanghai International Circuit in China. It is also the same day as the IRL race in St. Petersburg, Fla. As a result, the Laguna Seca race was the last one for Herta this season. But he said he would like to return and race for Team USA again next year. “Nothing’s decided,” Herta said. “I would like to do it again. I’m not satisfied. I’d like to continue with the program. I want to win for this team.” Salvador Duran of Mexico won the race at Laguna Seca, which had a field that included Patrick Carpentier of Canada, Ryan Briscoe of Australia, Tomas Enge of the Czech Republic and Christian Fittipaldi of Brazil. The IRL season opens March 26 at Homestead-Miami Speedway in Florida, followed by the St. Petersburg street course race. “Everybody wants to start their season strong,” Herta said. “We go from an oval to a street course. I like the challenge. You have to shift gears quickly. I hope to come out of Florida with a whole bag of points.” Irwindale Speedway: Opening night, take two. Rain washed out what was supposed to be opening night last Saturday at Irwindale Speedway for the NASCAR Super Late Models, Late Models, Super Stocks, Mini Stocks and Super Trucks. The Late Model drivers will get their chance to open tonight instead, weather permitting. For Canyon Country’s Aaron Staudinger, it will be the start of a season that almost didn’t happen. Staudinger, a regular on the West Coast Pro Truck Series, was ready to take some time off after the last race of the season last year. “At the last race, I was going to put the truck up for sale, take a couple years off, maybe take the boat out and go fishing,” said Staudinger, the 2003 West Coast Pro Trucks champion. Instead, he was given the opportunity to move up to the Late Model class. Meanwhile, Tim Huddleston, fresh off his first Late Model championship, decided he wanted to build a new race car to defend his title at Irwindale Speedway. Lucky for Staudinger, he ended up with Huddleston’s championship car to make his debut in the Late Model class. “Old Hot Rod is No. 77 now,” Staudinger said. Huddleston’s championship car is known as Hot Rod around Irwindale Speedway. It has 14 wins in its career and Staudinger is hoping he can add a few more before its time is over. But he knows it won’t be easy. “The level of talent is really well-saturated,” Staudinger said. “It’s a pretty good place to be to showcase your talent. If you want to show what you’re made of, it’s where you want to be.” The Late Model class will also feature Newhall’s Travis Thirkettle, Chris Houwen of Acton and Kevin Wood of Saugus. The NASCAR Super Late Models, Grand American Modifieds, Pure Stocks and figure 8s are scheduled to race tonight. Gates open at 4 p.m. Races start at 7. Tim Haddock covers motor sports for the Daily News. He can be reached at (818) 713-3715 or [email protected] 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MORE‘Mame,’ ‘Hello, Dolly!’ composer Jerry Herman dies at 88 “It was bad. It was horrible,” said Herta, a Hart High of Newhall graduate and Valencia resident. “I went in with high expectations. My lack of time, the race engineers lack of time with the car, we lost the set-up.” Bad weather also complicated matters for Herta and his team. When it started to rain before the preliminary sprint race, Herta at first thought it was a blessing. “I was happy about that,” said Herta. “Starting 17th, I knew it would help us move up.” But when it came time to switch the car’s set-up from sprint race to feature race conditions, Herta said his team put the wrong one on his car. He came out of the sprint race in ninth place and raced as high as seventh in the feature race. But the front suspension on his car was wearing down during the race and Herta pulled out early for safety reasons. last_img

Post A Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *