Skip to content

Carlos Huertas pulls Houston shocker, wins Race 1 of Shell/Pennzoil GP (VIDEO)

Jun 28, 2014, 6:02 PM EDT

The most anonymous driver of this year’s class of Verizon IndyCar Series rookies is no longer anonymous.

Dale Coyne Racing’s Carlos Huertas, a largely unheralded Colombian driver whose deal to race in IndyCar came together late this past offseason, was able to make a late-race fuel gamble work for him and win Race 1 of the Shell/Pennzoil Grand Prix of Houston under caution.

When Will Power’s run-in with the Turn 9 tire barriers brought out a yellow with less than half an hour to go in the 1 hour, 50 minute race (IndyCar invoked the time limit after a short delay for rain), both Coyne drivers – Huertas and veteran teammate Justin Wilson – were told to stay out for track position.

At the next restart with 21 minutes left, Wilson had the lead with Huertas running in second ahead of fellow Colombian Juan Pablo Montoya in third. At the time, Wilson hadn’t pitted until Lap 28; Huertas, since Lap 41.

Unfortunately for Wilson, the strategy did not pay off for him as he had to pit for fuel with less than eight minutes to go. That left Huertas defending the lead against Montoya, the former Indy 500 champion.

With four minutes to go, Ryan Briscoe turned Sebastian Saavedra around in Turn 4 to bring out a full-course yellow. The field was given word that there would be just one lap to go when the green flag came out.

But in a shocking turn of events, Graham Rahal – who had been in the middle of a late-race surge into the Top 5 – ran into Tony Kanaan from behind and spun him.

That forced IndyCar to wave off what would have been a wild dash, ensuring that Huertas would win his first IndyCar race in his ninth career start.

“It was always possible,” Huertas said to NBCSN’s Kelli Stavast. “The team did a great job and the races are so long here that you always have a chance to win here if you do the right things at the right time.

“Today was really tough. I was really struggling. I had no pace in the first half of the race, but I reminded myself, ‘Stay calm, do what you have to do.’ The team called it perfectly with the fuel. It was a great day.”

The gamble may not have worked for both of his drivers, but team owner Dale Coyne was glad to hit the jackpot with Huertas.

“Justin needed one more yellow a little bit earlier and we knew it was going to be close,” Coyne said. “But we thought Carlos was in a really good spot. The kid’s been doing better all year and he showed that when you put him at the front, he’ll stay at the front.”

As for Montoya, he made sure to congratulate his fellow Colombian for a job well done in Victory Lane.

“He’s a good kid and he did a good job today,” he said. “He did what he had to do to win…Our Verizon Chevy was really good today and I thought there that we had a chance to win. But at the end, the tires went off.”

With IndyCar issuing a 30-second time penalty for avoidable contact to Rahal (who finished 11th), that elevated a third Colombian driver – Andretti Autosport’s Carlos Huertas – to the final step of the podium.

Between the Houston Race 1 podium and the Colombian national soccer team’s win over Uruguay in the World Cup, no doubt that June 28, 2014 will likely go down to some as “Colombia Day.”

VERIZON INDYCAR SERIES – SHELL/PENNZOIL GRAND PRIX OF HOUSTON
RACE 1, NRG Park
Order of finish, starting position in parentheses, driver, team-engine, laps completed and reason out (if any):
1. (19) Carlos Huertas, Coyne-Honda, 80, Running
2. (11) Juan Pablo Montoya, Penske-Chevy, 80, Running
3. (23) Carlos Munoz, Andretti-Honda, 80, Running
4. (9) Sebastien Bourdais, KVSH-Chevy, 80, Running
5. (5) James Hinchcliffe, Andretti-Honda, 80, Running
6. (21) Jack Hawksworth, Herta-Honda, 80, Running
7. (8) Ryan Hunter-Reay, Andretti-Honda, 80, Running
8. (16) Marco Andretti, Andretti-Honda, 80, Running
9. (2) Helio Castroneves, Penske-Chevy, 80, Running
10. (7) Justin Wilson, Coyne-Honda, 80, Running
11. (14) Graham Rahal, Rahal-Honda, 80, Running
12. (15) Ryan Briscoe, Ganassi-Chevy, 80, Running
13. (22) Tony Kanaan, Ganassi-Chevy, 80, Running
14. (18) Will Power, Penske-Chevy, 79, Running
15. (20) Sebastian Saavedra, KV/AFS-Chevy, 79, Running
16. (1) Simon Pagenaud, Schmidt-Honda, 74, Running
17. (17) Mike Conway, Carpenter-Chevy, 55, Mechanical
18. (13) Charlie Kimball, Ganassi-Chevy, 54, Contact
19. (3) Scott Dixon, Ganassi-Chevy, 46, Contact
20. (12) Josef Newgarden, SFHR-Honda, 41, Mechanical
21. (4) Luca Filippi, Rahal-Honda, 36, Contact
22. (6) Takuma Sato, Foyt-Honda, 32, Contact
23. (10) Mikhail Aleshin, Schmidt-Honda, 31, Contact

Race Statistics
Winners average speed: 70.389 mph
Time of Race: 01:51:25.5649
Margin of victory: 0.0975
Cautions: 6 for 24 laps
Lead changes: 6 among 5 drivers

Lap Leaders:
Pagenaud 1 – 4
Sato 5 – 26
Hinchcliffe 27
Wilson 28
Hinchcliffe 29 – 59
Wilson 60 – 73
Huertas 74 – 80

Point Standings:
Power 386
Castroneves 353
Hunter-Reay 336
Pagenaud 295
Montoya 263
Munoz 262
Andretti 259
Dixon 225
Hinchcliffe 214
Bourdais 212

Latest Posts
  1. Red Bull GRC: Andretti Autosport premieres Beetle in LA

    Sep 18, 2014, 9:27 AM EDT

    Photo: Andretti Autosport Photo: Andretti Autosport

    The Volkswagen Beetle makes its debut at the LA doubleheader round this weekend.

  2. 2014 Singapore Grand Prix Preview

    Sep 18, 2014, 9:00 AM EDT

    F1 Grand Prix of Singapore - Practice Getty Images

    F1 ventures to Asia for its second annual glamor event in Singapore.

  3. NASCAR AMERICA: Matt Kenseth confident as Loudon looms (VIDEO)

    Sep 17, 2014, 8:00 PM EDT

    Speeding To Read Kickoff Getty Images

    The 2003 Sprint Cup champion talks with NASCAR AMERICA’s Marty Snider about how he’s now looking forward to racing at New Hampshire more than ever before.

  4. Crew chief changes on the way at Joe Gibbs Racing

    Sep 17, 2014, 7:18 PM EDT

    Bojangles' Southern 500 Getty Images

    Joe Gibbs tells the press that the details have already been decided, and that an announcement could come within the next few weeks.

  5. NASCAR AMERICA Minute: Critical Sunday coming for Hamlin, Kurt Busch (VIDEO)

    Sep 17, 2014, 6:15 PM EDT

    Camping World RV Sales 301 Getty Images

    Denny Hamlin and Kurt Busch are currently in position to make the Contender Round, but need big results this weekend at New Hampshire. NASCAR AMERICA’s Frank Stoddard explains why.

  6. Michael Waltrip avoids early “Dancing with the Stars” elimination

    Sep 17, 2014, 5:30 PM EDT

    TV Dancing with the Stars AP

    Waltrip and partner Emma Slater are moving on to Week 2 despite a shaky opening performance.

  7. WATCH LIVE: NASCAR AMERICA with Matt Kenseth and Steve Letarte at 5 p.m. ET

    Sep 17, 2014, 4:45 PM EDT

    Federated Auto Parts 400 - Practice Getty Images

    Also on tap: Chicagoland edition of “Scan All 43″; learning the best lines around New Hampshire.

  8. NASCAR: Crew chief earns 1-week suspension after Truck Series rule violation

    Sep 17, 2014, 3:31 PM EDT

    NCWTSLogo

    The No. 20 Truck failed to meet post-race body height requirements following Saturday night’s Truck Series event at Chicagoland Speedway.

  9. Staying balanced in Chase critical for Kevin Harvick, No. 4 team

    Sep 17, 2014, 2:35 PM EDT

    Kevin Harvick AP

    Needing two more good races to make the Contender Round, knowing when and when not to take a chance on the track will be important for the 4 camp.

  10. Singapore GP, Red Bull GRC highlight weekend’s NBC motorsports coverage

    Sep 17, 2014, 2:00 PM EDT

    Marina Bay circuit illuminated at dusk Reuters

    Singapore GP and two Red Bull GRC races to watch this weekend, among other items, on NBC TV times.

  11. NASCAR: Richard Petty Motorsports committed to two-car program in 2015

    Sep 17, 2014, 1:33 PM EDT

    Sprint Showdown Getty Images

    RPM also announces that it will stay with Ford, and also continue chassis/engine supply deals with Roush Fenway Racing and Roush Yates Engines respectively.

  12. CFH confirms Chevrolet power for 2015 IndyCar season

    Sep 17, 2014, 1:00 PM EDT

    Ed Carpenter AP

    Ed Carpenter Racing and Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing, under new CFH Racing banner, will run Chevrolets in the 2015 Verizon IndyCar Series.

  13. Ferrari shifting focus, will test 2015 components on current car

    Sep 17, 2014, 12:36 PM EDT

    Italy F1 GP Auto Racing AP

    Team engineering director Pat Fry says some new components for 2015 will be tested on the current F14 T car during the final stretch of races this year.

  14. NASCAR: STANLEY, DEWALT join JGR in 2015

    Sep 17, 2014, 11:19 AM EDT

    Photo via @JoeGibbsRacing Photo via @JoeGibbsRacing

    DEWALT and STANLEY join Joe Gibbs Racing, for Carl Edwards and Matt Kenseth, in 2015.

  15. GP2 announces DRS for 2015

    Sep 17, 2014, 10:56 AM EDT

    Mideast Emirates F1 GP Auto Racing AP

    GP2 adds DRS for 2015.

  16. NASCAR Whelen Euro Series adds another oval race for 2015

    Sep 17, 2014, 10:02 AM EDT

    whelen euro

    NASCAR Whelen Euro Series announces 2015 schedule, which includes another oval.

  17. NASCAR: Corey Lajoie to make Cup debut; ARCA’s Boston to drive 2 N’Wide races for Gibbs

    Sep 16, 2014, 10:00 PM EDT

    Corey LaJoie AP

    Lajoie will run his first Cup race at New Hampshire, while Justin Boston will drive for Joe Gibbs Racing at Kentucky and Dover in the Nationwide Series.

  18. NASCAR AMERICA: One Sprint Cup title not enough for Keselowski (VIDEO)

    Sep 16, 2014, 9:00 PM EDT

    Brad Keselowski AP

    Will experience or hunger help him capture his 2nd Sprint Cup title? The NASCAR AMERICA gang debates the topic.

  19. NASCAR AMERICA: The possible outcomes for Tony Stewart (VIDEO)

    Sep 16, 2014, 8:00 PM EDT

    Tony Stewart AP

    NBC Sports legal analyst Jack Furlong breaks down what could happen now that a grand jury will decide whether Stewart will face charges for his involvement in the accident that killed sprint car racer Kevin Ward Jr.

  20. Red Bull GRC: Layout, entry list set for L.A. doubleheader

    Sep 16, 2014, 7:00 PM EDT

    RedBullGRCLA

    The nine-turn Port of Los Angeles circuit will feature the longest joker of the 2014 GRC season.

Video from NASCAR America

Looking ahead to New Hampshire
Top 10 NASCAR Driver Searches
  1. K. Busch (1634)
  2. K. Harvick (1316)
  3. B. Keselowski (1312)
  4. J. Gordon (1195)
  5. D. Mayhew (1167)