Colton Herta caught everybody’s attention with his remarkable performance that was cut 19 laps short in the DXC Technology 600 at Texas Motor Speedway.

The 19-year-old Californian never led a lap in his second NTT IndyCar Series start, but that doesn’t reflect the strength he displayed in his quest to complete the Texas two step following his win at the series’ debut at the Circuit of the Americas in Austin, Texas in March.

He ran inside the top ten the entire night while pulling off several passes that looked nothing like what a rookie could do at the fast and tight 1.44-mile high banked oval.

A late yellow on Lap 219 for James Hinchcliffe’s crash gave Herta a chance to pounce as he restarted in fourth place. He quickly dispatched Rossi with his sights set on second place Scott Dixon. Everything unraveled when he attempted to pass Dixon with 19 laps remaining in the 248-lap event.

Dixon defended down the backstretch and pushed Herta to the apron heading into Turn 3. Herta then slid into the Chip Ganassi Racing driver and both drivers spun and hit the outside wall. The incident sidelined both drivers for the final run to the finish with Dixon accepting responsibility.

“I just heard them saying the other car (Colton Herta) was looking inside and I started to track down to try and close it off,” Dixon said. “It was towards the end of the race. As I was doing that and looking down, I could still see his shadow there on the apron, and I knew it wasn’t going to work out there.

“Sorry if that was my fault. I was just really pushing and trying to get the most out of it toward the end of the race in the PNC Bank car.”

The Harding Steinbrenner Racing driver acknowledged Dixon’s confession but was still disappointed nonetheless.

“He apologized and that’s what it seemed like from my point of view,” he said. “He just turned down on me from my point of view. I was there, and he put me on the apron.

“I was more than enough ahead. He didn’t need to do it. That outside lane was there, and he could have run the outside. He must not have known I was there.”

While he watched from the sidelines as Josef Newgarden hold off Rossi for the win, Herta took the positives out of the situation and applauded the racing in general.

“I’m really happy with how the car was,” he added. “The GESS Capstone car (and) all the boys did an amazing job. Big congrats to INDYCAR for bringing the updates to the front wing and the new tires because it made the racing a hell of a lot better.

“We’ll keep trucking. This is a DNF (did not finish) that I’ll take because I was really happy with my performance.”

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