Mike Harding is a businessman. George Steinbrenner IV comes from a long line of successful business owners/sports team owners. These two have merged at the end of 2018 to create Harding Steinbrenner Racing. They will start 2019 with rookies Colton Herta and Patricio O’Ward. It’s an all-rookie team, but we’re going to see Rookie of the Year potential from both of them.
In 2018 Harding was starting their maiden year in INDYCAR with Gabby Chaves. I feel bad for Gabby, he’s part of the “can’t stay in a ride for a full-year” gang (along with partial Harding employee Conor Daly). Chaves had a mixed bag of seasons. He was a champion in IndyLights, Rookie of the Year in the 2015 Indy500 and 2015 Rookie of the Year for IndyCar. He’s been shuttled around on teams, driving for Schmidt Peterson Motorsports, Dale Coyne, and the stint with Harding when they did a few trial races in 2017. Then Harding suddenly started trying out drivers for 2017 which included a stint by Conor Daly at a few races, and then Colton Herta and Patricio O’Ward in Sonoma. Steinbrenner Racing spent 2018 in partnership with Andretti Autosport for an Indy Lights team with Colton Herta. Then the merger happened.
For 2019 the newly formed (merged) team will have Colton Herta and Patricio O’Ward in two cars. Both drivers had a great season in Indy Lights in 2018. Colton Herta ended the season in second place with four wins, three poles, and a twentieth place finish in the test race at Sonoma. Patricio O’Ward is the Indy Lights champion of 2018. He ended the season with nine wins, nine poles, and a ninth-place finish at Sonoma (I can’t make this stuff up!).
What do I think will happen with this team for 2019? We’ll have a duel for the Rookie of the Year. We had the opportunity to run into O’Ward and Steinbrenner a few times during PRI this past December. O’Ward has a great personality and he killed it during the 2019 Race of Champions. Then Herta stepped up at the Rolex 24 and won the GTLM class. INDYCAR season hasn’t even started yet!
Also, this may help distract my father’s unnatural obsession with AJ Foyt, as the Yankees are his baseball team.
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