Herta on dad’s defeat by Zanardi: “I thought it was a cool pass!”

Colton Herta says Alex Zanardi’s infamous pass on his father Bryan Herta at Laguna Seca’s Corkscrew in 1996 was “amazing,” but acknowledged that it probably wouldn’t be allowed in IndyCar today due to far more stringent rules about track limits.

Herta on dad’s defeat by Zanardi: “I thought it was a cool pass!”

In 1996, Alex Zanardi capped an amazing rookie season of CART Indy car racing at Chip Ganassi Racing with a divebomb last-lap pass on Bryan Herta’s Team Rahal car at the top of the Corkscrew at Laguna Seca, the season finale.

Zanardi, outbraked Herta on the left but also outbraked himself and went well into the runoff area, rejoining the track on the switchback to the right, and directly in front of Herta, going on to score his third win of the season and capturing third in the championship.

Even now the move’s legitimacy is debated, even by those who showered Zanardi with praise for even attempting the maneuver.

According to Bryan’s 19-year-old son Colton, who has scored a win and two pole positions in his rookie season of IndyCar racing and who topped testing at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca yesterday by almost half a second, Zanardi is aware his move wouldn’t be allowed today.

Herta told the media: “I think the coolest thing was to be teammates with Zanardi this year [with BMW] at the Daytona 24 Hours. It was interesting because I watched the race with him. I actually watched the pass with him.

“He knew today if it happened, there probably would be a penalty. I don't know… it was amazing. Like I say, big balls for that pass. Obviously if someone's behind me, I'll have to defend better than my dad did!”

Asked if he had discussed the incident with his dad, Herta replied: “Yeah, we talk about it sometimes. He's in the same boat: he thought it should have been a penalty. I think it should have been a penalty. He doesn't dwell on it being a great pass. It was a cool pass.

“Obviously nowadays with the track extension penalties, there no longer being grass and gravel, more runoff now, the penalties are more severe. People pay attention more to running off the road and gaining an advantage.

“I don't know; it’s not my place to say anything. I thought it was a cool pass, but...”

Herta also acknowledged that he liked the Corkscrew himself, although the runoff area on the right at the initial left-hander is now green-painted asphalt, over which drivers are not allowed to run with all four wheels.

“I like the Corkscrew,” he said. “It's a good balance, especially in this car. The suspension's quite nice, so you can hit the curbs on the inside. You can kind of see what you can get away with, without bottoming too much – where you put the car and can't put the car.”

Describing his technique on corner entry, Herta said: “It's all aim. When you turn in, you can't see anything. You can't even see the tires against the wall on the other end of it. You're kind of blind. It dips down and then picks up real quick, then drops back down into the Corkscrew.

“There's a little tree; if you point [the car] directly at it, it's pretty much maybe a third of the car over the rumble strips going down the right. You can kind of base yourself off of that. Depending on what ride height you're using, you can steer a little bit more to the right of the tree or left of the tree.”

shares
comments
Power “won’t play games” with championship contenders
Previous article

Power “won’t play games” with championship contenders

Next article

Andretti, Veach struggles are down to tires, says engineer

Andretti, Veach struggles are down to tires, says engineer
Load comments
Ranking the top 10 IndyCar drivers of 2021 Prime

Ranking the top 10 IndyCar drivers of 2021

In an enthralling 2021 IndyCar campaign, the series bounced back from its COVID-19 truncated year prior and series sophomore Alex Palou defeated both the established order and his fellow young guns to clinch a maiden title. It capped a remarkable season with plenty of standout performers

IndyCar
Nov 22, 2021
How Marcus Ericsson finally unlocked his potential in IndyCar Prime

How Marcus Ericsson finally unlocked his potential in IndyCar

Marcus Ericsson enjoyed a breakout year in the IndyCar Series in 2021, winning twice and finishing sixth in points with Chip Ganassi Racing. How did he finally unlock the potential that was masked by five years of toil in Formula 1 with Caterham and Sauber/Alfa Romeo?

IndyCar
Nov 16, 2021
Remembering Dan Wheldon and his last and most amazing win Prime

Remembering Dan Wheldon and his last and most amazing win

Saturday, Oct. 16th, marks the 10th anniversary Dan Wheldon’s death. David Malsher-Lopez pays tribute, then asks Wheldon’s race engineer from 2011, Todd Malloy, to recall that magical second victory at the Indianapolis 500.

IndyCar
Oct 16, 2021
Have Harvey and RLL formed IndyCar’s next winning match-up? Prime

Have Harvey and RLL formed IndyCar’s next winning match-up?

Jack Harvey’s move to Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing sparked plenty of debate, but their combined strength could prove golden, says David Malsher-Lopez.

IndyCar
Oct 15, 2021
Why Kyle Kirkwood is America's new IndyCar ace-in-waiting Prime

Why Kyle Kirkwood is America's new IndyCar ace-in-waiting

Kyle Kirkwood, the record-setting junior formula driver, sealed the Indy Lights championship last weekend. But despite an absurdly strong résumé and scholarship money, his next move is far from clear. By David Malsher-Lopez.

IndyCar
Oct 6, 2021
2021 IndyCar title is just the start for Ganassi's newest star Prime

2021 IndyCar title is just the start for Ganassi's newest star

Alex Palou has captured Chip Ganassi Racing's 14th IndyCar drivers' championship, and in truly stellar manner. David Malsher-Lopez explains what made the Palou-Ganassi combo so potent so soon.

IndyCar
Sep 28, 2021
Why Grosjean's oval commitment shows he's serious about IndyCar Prime

Why Grosjean's oval commitment shows he's serious about IndyCar

One of motorsport’s worst-kept secrets now out in the open, and Romain Grosjean has been confirmed as an Andretti Autosport IndyCar driver in 2022. It marks a remarkable turnaround after the abrupt end to his Formula 1 career, and is a firm indication of his commitment to challenge for the IndyCar Series title  

IndyCar
Sep 24, 2021
IndyCar’s longest silly-season is still at fever pitch Prime

IndyCar’s longest silly-season is still at fever pitch

The 2021 IndyCar silly season is one of the silliest of all, but it’s satisfying to see so many talented drivers in play – including Callum Ilott. David Malsher-Lopez reports.

IndyCar
Sep 11, 2021