Utah: Herta - ALMS spotlight

ANDRETTI GREEN'S HERTA: ACURA MAKING THE GRADE If he hadn't been asked to grade its performance on a scale of 1 to 10, Bryan Herta likely would have given Acura a 12. Maybe it would have been a 13 or higher. "They've done such a...

ANDRETTI GREEN'S HERTA: ACURA MAKING THE GRADE

If he hadn't been asked to grade its performance on a scale of 1 to 10, Bryan Herta likely would have given Acura a 12. Maybe it would have been a 13 or higher.

"They've done such a great job coming into the Series brand new with a new engine and car and giving us great tools to go out and compete," said Herta, the lead driver for Andretti Green Racing's first season in the American Le Mans Series with Acura. "I'd give us a six or seven out of 10. Although we won Sebring, which was great, and we've been competitive and run up front every weekend, I don't think we've gotten the best result possible on every weekend that we've been out there. That's what we have to improve on if we want to get serious about the championship."

The next step starts this weekend with the Utah Grand Prix at Miller Motorsports Park. It's the first race on a road course following three straight street races, which is critical for the development of both Andretti Green and Acura's LMP2 engine and ARX chassis. Herta said while he was surprised with how good the car was on the street circuits - an overall pole at Long Beach and a runner-up finish in P2 and overall at Houston - the Utah race will show where the team stands for the championship push with just one street race left on the schedule.

"The good news is that there are a lot of areas that we can improve on with the car and team," said Herta, who will drive this weekend with Marino Franchitti. "There is still ongoing development. I know the engine will be getting better because the guys at Acura never stop. We're working on our setup and understanding the car, working with Michelin to get figure out how to get the best out of our tires.

"We have a new crew this year and they've had more time together. They've been back in the shop and are working out three times a week. So our pit stops should be faster. Marino and I, plus Dario (Franchitti) when he comes back later this year, are doing everything we can to train and be in shape and be ready when we show up at the race track. In every single area we have room to improve, which is really exciting because we've been pretty good so far. I know we'll continue to get better."

The next round of the American Le Mans Series is the Utah Grand Prix, set for 5:05 p.m. MT on Saturday, May 19 from Miller Motorsports Park near Salt Lake City. It will air live on XM Satellite Radio's Sports Nation channel. CBS Sports will air the race at 1 p.m. ET on Sunday, May 20. MotorsTV in Europe, SPEED Latin America and 7TV in Russia also will provide international coverage. American Le Mans Radio and IMSA's Live Timing and Scoring will be available at americanlemans.com.

-credit: alms

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Series ALMS
Drivers Bryan Herta