Carlos Huertas Earns First IndyCar Win with Dale Coyne Racing
June 28, 2014
Houston, Texas - Carlos Huertas beat his childhood idol Juan Pablo Montoya to win his first ever Verizon IndyCar race in Houston today.
After a two week break in the Verizon IndyCar schedule the Dale Coyne Racing team returned to Texas for the Shell and Pennzoil Grand Prix of Houston double header race weekend. While the circuit is familiar to Justin Wilson, driving two races in June’s scorching heat would provide a new set of challenges for he and the rest of the drivers. Carlos Huertas had a lot of studying to do over the break to prepare for a track at which he had never turned a lap nor one that had such a jolting surface.
It turns out the studying Carlos Huertas paid off in a big way. Huertas weathered the storm in the rainy conditions and proved to be the fastest in the dry conditions to win in just his ninth Verizon IndyCar start. He started near the back of the field and managed his pace in the wet. Huertas anticipated the tracking drying out at which time he felt he would be able to make some moves. The team employed a fantastic strategy that put him near the front of the field with about 20 minutes left in the timed race. He was running second just behind his teammate, Justin Wilson, who was leading the race. Justin would need one final yellow to make it to the end but Carlos was looking pretty good on fuel.
Wilson peeled off to get a splash of Sunoco fuel with only 6 minutes left in the race which gave the lead to Huertas. Despite challengers stacked up behind him, including Juan Pablo Montoya and Tony Kanaan, Huertas was able to hold on to his position, gap the eventual second place finisher, and bring the #18 Café de Colombia Honda home in first place. This historic rookie win was achieved by finishing well in front of second place Montoya.
“I was a bit worried when Justin wasn't pitting because I think he was trying to make it to the end and then they realized he couldn't make it,” commented Huertas. “To win in a professional series like this is incredible. I want to thank my team, my Mom and Dad, all of our sponsors, and especially Dale for giving me this opportunity.”
This win is the fourth for team owner Dale Coyne and makes it the third consecutive season that one of the DCR cars has won an IndyCar race. Coyne had nothing but praise for the young Colombian saying, “Carlos has done a steady job all year, he has never crashed, he has never gone into a runoff area, he has been very steady but very fast.” He continued, “The strategy put him up there but his performance as a driver all day long, and especially once in the front, shows he is a true winner.”
Despite Wilson’s day ending in personal disappointment, he was overjoyed for the DCR crew and for Huertas. “I am very pleased for the team and it is great for Carlos to get his first IndyCar win and I think that was fantastic,” said Wilson. He brought the #19 Boy Scouts of America Honda home in 10th position even after making an extra pit stop to change a front wing in the final minutes of the race.
The Dale Coyne Racing crew and drivers will have little time to celebrate the victory as they will have to rehydrate and refuel tonight for another race tomorrow in the Houston heat. Race 2 will start at 3:00 PM ET and will be aired live on NBC Sports Network and the NBC Sports Live Extra mobile app.
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Trevor J. Moore