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Colton Herta dominates chaotic Honda Indy Toronto to earn 1st win of season

Colton Herta celebrated his first NTT IndyCar Series win in over two years with doughnuts.

Upon crossing the finish line at the Honda Indy Toronto on Sunday, the American immediately began spinning his car around in triumphant circles.

“I love doing doughnuts,” Herta said. “And this engine’s getting ripped out after this race so I can destroy it as much I want. I hate when I don’t get to do doughnuts and this was the perfect race to win.”

Teammate Kyle Kirkwood started and finished in second, while four-time Toronto champion Scott Dixon rounded out the podium of a chaotic race in which just 15 of 27 cars were able to finish.

It had been 41 races since Herta, the Andretti Global driver, topped the podium, including a pair of pole positions he was unable to convert earlier this season.

But 24-year-old, who now has eight career victories, left no doubts about this one. He became the first IndyCar driver ever to top both practice sessions, take pole in qualifying and go on to win the race in one weekend.

A race car is hoisted on a two truck.
Safety crews clean up the car of Nolan Siegel following a crash during the Toronto Indy on Sunday. (Arlyn McAdorey/Canadian Press)

“It’s awesome. It’s amazing,” he said. “For whatever reason it just hasn’t gone our way. We’ve had speed, we’ve had plenty of podiums, we’ve had a lot of poles, a lot of top fives, but no wins. And so it feels great to finally get one back.”

The race featured six restarts, including a massive multi-car crash that caused a red flag on the 73rd lap when Pato O’Ward, third in the season-long standings, spun out into a wall, leaving the nose of his car jetting out onto the track.

Marcus Ericsson locked up into the wall behind O’Ward, then three more racers — Pietro Fittipaldi, Santino Ferrucci and Nolan Siegel — clipped O’Ward’s nose. Ferrucci’s car went airborne and landed upside down, but the American immediately signalled to his team that he was OK and emerged from his vehicle relatively unscathed.

The other four drivers also escaped without injury, but none were able to continue.

“I feel like I never get the 85-lap full green races to win,” Herta said. “It’s always red flags and yellows at the end. But it’s good, it makes you work a lot harder for it so you feel a lot better when it happens. But it is crazy. It was a crazy race.”

Herta and Kirkwood appeared to work together throughout the race, with the latter giving his teammate room at the front after each of the race’s six restarts.

Kirkwood, who enjoyed his best finish of the year and third career podium, said he was taking the result “as an Andretti Global win.”

“Super happy with second, especially when a teammate wins. That was the goal today. We started 1-2 and we wanted to finish 1-2. Of course I would have (preferred to) have won but I also wasn’t gonna push the envelope whatsoever in that situation,” Kirkwood said.

Dixon started in 15 and chose to pit well after the rest of the field. The strategy bore fruit as he re-entered the race in sixth before slowly moving up the standings as cars seemed to exit left and right.

For the second time in the race’s history, there were no Canadians in the field. The last time that happened was in 2015.

The IndyCar Series will now take three weeks off for an Olympic break before returning Aug. 17 in Illinois.

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