IndyCar Gateway Auto Racing

Associated Press

winner — Colton Herta waves before the IndyCar auto race at World Wide Technology Raceway on Aug. 24 in Madison, Ill.

The colors on Colton Herta’s Harding Steinbrenner Racing IndyCar should have been the first clue.

Red and white.

Christmas colors.

The entire 2019 racing season, in multiple series, played out under a giant Herta family Christmas tree.

“The last few months have really been a whirlwind,” Bryan Herta said before boarding a flight to Germany to celebrate the year with Hyundai Motorsports executives. “We were at Laguna Seca for the IMSA Michelin Pilot Series in September, where we put ourselves in position to win the Series championship at Road Atlanta a month later.

“Then the next week, we were back  at Laguna Seca and I saw my son Colton win his third IndyCar pole and second race as a rookie. Then it was off to Las Vegas for the SRO America finale with a whole new Hyundai race car, the Veloster Turbo R Super car.”

Herta took Hyundai into two new series in 2019, and won both.

The Valencia resident is now so much more than the onetime Hart High student who  fell in love with IndyCar racing after ditching school and hitchhiking down to the Long Beach Grand Prix.

With Bryan Herta Autosport, a company that is barely  a decade old, he has established himself as a major player in American auto racing.

There are unique rumblings across American motorsports right now, with Roger Penske buying IndyCar and the Indianapolis 500 and Honda representatives being entertained by NASCAR officials at the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race at Phoenix in November.

IndyCar, NASCAR and IMSA are all looking to attract new engine manufacturers to badge power plants in their series.

Herta is Hyundai’s point man in all things racing in North America.

It was quite a celebration at Hyundai America’s USA headquarters in Fountain Valley in October.

The trip to Frankfurt was to explore new horizons in other racing series.

“We want to expand the footprint of the Hyundai brand across other racing categories,” Herta said.

Meanwhile, Colton Herta is back with his garage band buddies in Valencia, working on a tour of their own.

The former two-time Streets of Lancaster Grand Prix champion has been so busy, he’s yet to be able to stop by Lancaster City Hall and pick up his  City Council congratulations resolution.

Father and son will be under the same racing roof in 2020, at least in IndyCar.

Michael Andretti is expanding his Andretti Autosport stable to five full-time teams, bringing Colton and HSR aboard.

“When Colton said he wanted to race, and showed such talent,  of course as a proud Dad I had hope and dreams for him,” Bryan Herta said. “He’s already  surpassed all of those. I don’t have the words to describe how proud I am of him.”

Colton feels the same way  about his father.

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