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Herta and Andretti merge for 4-car INDYCAR team

February 18, 2016

If this is what it takes to keep cars on the ground in the Verizon IndyCar Series, then I guess I’m okay with Bryan Herta Autosport’s merger with Andretti Autosport. At least they get to keep the same last name, Autosport.

Andretti

Michael Andretti gains a fourth car and gets to work with good friend Bryan Herta – Anne Proffit photo

The merger came as INDYCAR readies its first all-skate test session on the one-mile oval at Phoenix International Raceway next week. With this update, Andretti Autosport will, once again comprise four teams in a Honda assault on the 2016 championship. Bryan Herta remains involved with the team in the role of race strategist for the No. 98 Honda and continues as the overall team driver coach. The name of this year’s No. 98 driver “will be announced at a later date;” we hope it will be Gabby Chavez, who has a good working relationship with the team after a single season together.

Herta

Bryan Herta always seems to have a phone attached to his face, moving quickly through the paddock – Anne Proffit photo

Herta, always on the go, was a member of the Four Amigos when Michael Andretti first took over total management of the team and stepped from full-time driving participation. It was Herta, Dario Franchitti, Tony Kanaan and Dan Wheldon at Andretti Autosport and, for the first few years, when not racing competitively, there were nothing but pranks – most of them played on Wheldon and many instigated by Herta.

“I couldn’t be more excited about this new chapter for Bryan Herta Autosport,” said Herta. “Michael has been a long-time friend, and we certainly know that Andretti Autosport was a big part of my [driving] career. When the opportunity came together for us to strengthen our organization and merge with one of the most successful teams and names in the sport, it was really a no-brainer. I’m especially proud that what we’ve built with all the employees of BHA will remain intact and become part of the fabric of Andretti Autosport.

Gabby

Gabby Chavez drove fro BHA in 2015 and was expected – by many – to return this season – Anne Proffit photo

Andretti Autosport has won the Indianapolis 500 twice, with Franchitti and Ryan Hunter-Reay; Bryan Herta Autosport earned the 2011 Indy 500 title with Wheldon driving the No. 98.

“Bryan is a long-time friend,” Andretti noted,” and I was happy to watch him build a successful Indy car team. Bringing Bryan and his crew into the family is a great opportunity for all parties to build an even stronger organization. Having Bryan’s experience is a welcome addition to the team. I’m honored to be able to carry on what he started and look forward to a competitive season.”

Bryan Herta Autosport (BHA)began competing in Indy Lights competition in 2009, moved to the Indy cars at Indianapolis Motor Speedway in 2010 (Sebastian Saavedra) and won Indy in 2011, the team’s second start at the Greatest Spectacle in Racing. In addition to his competitive stance in INDYCAR, Herta also strongly competes in Red Bull Global Rallycross (as Bryan Herta Rallysport). BHA has partnered with Bowen Motorsports of Toronto since the start of the 2012 season in INDYCAR.

By Anne Proffit

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