Herta Hopes For More
July 16, 2003 | 2:32 A.M. EST
This weekend, Herta will try to make it two-in-a-row and two-for-four as he looks for more magic in the Firestone Indy 200 Saturday night at Nashville Superspeedway. Herta, who is subbing for the injured Dario Franchitti during the remainder of the 2003 season, took a big step toward a successful weekend in Nashville by clocking in third-fastest during the IRL Open Test at the 1.33-mile racetrack last Wednesday.
Although Saturday night’s race will be just his fourth career IRL start, Herta already feels relatively comfortable heading to Nashville as a result of the 143 test laps he was able to run there.
“I think it was a big help for us to test at Nashville because it’s another new track for me,” said Herta. “Most of the new tracks I’ve done so far I haven’t had a chance to test, so it was nice to get a feel for this one. It’s a lot different than any of the ones I’ve been to. It’s concrete. It’s a little bit bumpy. It’s kind of its own unique oval, so I think it was very valuable for us to go there and get a little experience on it before the race."
Herta’s top speed during last week’s test was clocked at 205.132 miles per hour, which was less than one mile per hour different than his two Andretti Green Racing teammates. Tony Kanaan, who led the test session, turned a lap of 205.453 miles per hour, while rookie Dan Wheldon ran a lap of 204.757 miles per hour, which was good enough for fifth on the chart. The speed and consistency among the three entries comes as no surprise to Herta.
“I’ve been with some pretty good teams during my career, but the thing that strikes me that is really good or different about this team is the way they work together among the cars,” said Herta. “They really take advantage of the three-car operation. There is just great communication among all the engineers and drivers in sharing the data.” Archipelago/Motorola team manager Kyle Moyer believes Herta deserves his share of credit, as well, for helping bolster the entire operation.
“Bryan has really been fitting in well with everybody and has helped make our transition go pretty easy,” said Moyer. “He’s been giving us good feedback and good information, which not only helps make the Archipelago/Motorola car better, but helps all three cars.” Qualifying at Nashville is set for 4:45 p.m. (EDT) on Friday with the Firestone