Bryan Herta Autosport
Bryan Herta Autosport (known as Barracuda Racing for commercial reasons) is an American auto racing team that competes primarily in the IZOD IndyCar Series and occasionally in the Firestone Indy Lights Series. It is owned by former IndyCar driver Bryan Herta and race engineer Steve Newey. The team won the 2011 Indianapolis 500 with driver Dan Wheldon.
The team's first season of competition was in 2009 with North Carolina native Daniel Herrington, driving car #28. Through most of the season, 5th place at St. Petersburg was his best result, but Herrington changed that when he won his (and the team's) first Indy Lights race at Chicagoland. The team fielded a second car for A1GP Team Brazil's Felipe Guimarães in three mid-season road course events. Driving car #29, Guimarães finished 3rd, 4th, and 2nd respectively at Watkins Glen, Mid-Ohio, and Sonoma. Herrington finished 7th in points after 12 Top 10s in the 15-race season, and Guimarães was 23rd overall despite competing only 3 times.
For 2010 they ran full-time Indy Lights programs for second-year drviers Sebastian Saavedra and Stefan Wilson. Despite ranking 5th in the championship, Saavedra quit the team after qualifying 12th for the Drive Smart Buckle Up 100 at Kentucky in September. He was replaced by BHA's 2009 driver Daniel Herrington for the race, in which he finished 12th. Saavedra had won at Iowa in June and posted 5 Top 5s and 7 Top 10s. The team's other driver, Stefan Wilson, scored 3 Top 5s and 8 Top 10s (including a season and career best of 3rd on the wet streets of St. Petersburg, Florida), but had to miss the road race at Infineon Raceway in favor of American Joel Miller while sponsorship issues were resolved. He also had to give way to 2008 Freedom 100 winner Dillon Battistini at Homestead. Each substitute driver finished 9th in his respective race. Saavedra and Wilson, each of whom missed two races, finished 8th and 11th in the championship respectively. In a season that had shorter fields than in recent years, BHA's late-season replacement drivers Herrington, Battistini, and Miller (with 2 starts each) ranked 21st, 22nd, and 23rd in that order.
Bump Day Miracle
The team also qualified for the 2010 Indy 500 with Saavedra. The Colombian crashed in Turn 1 with just over an hour left on Bump Day in hopes of improving from the bubble position (33rd). At about 5:30 Saavedra was bumped by Tony Kanaan. Soon after, rookie Mario Romancini withdrew his time and improved (his Conquest Racing team were bumped in 2009 when the track became quicker), prompting Paul Tracy and rookie Jay Howard to follow suit. Conversely, Howard and Tracy failed to improve their efforts and their new speeds were slower than that of Saavedra, whose speed was never withdrawn, and was being checked for possible injury at nearby Methodist Hospital of Indianapolis when he learned he had qualified. Born on June 2nd, 1990, Saavedra became the first IndyCar starter born in the 1990s. Team owner Herta jokingly referred to his low budget Indy 500 effort as "'Two Men in a Truck' Racing". His IndyCar debut ended 100 miles early in an accident in the South chute. Curt Cavin of The Indianapolis Star reported that several other IZOD IndyCar races were possible for the team in 2010, but nothing materialised.
On March 21st, BHA announced their signing of Angolan driver Duarte Ferreira, the first Angolan driver in Indy Lights history, to drive car #28. The team announced their IZOD IndyCar plans for 2011 on March 25th. 2005 Indianapolis 500 winner and season Champion Dan Wheldon, who was a teammate of Herta at Andretti-Green Racing from 2003-2005, won the 2011 Indy 500 for the team. It was announced that the team may run additional IndyCar races in 2011. At the final race of the season at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, Wheldon was killed in an accident involving 15 drivers driving for Sam Schmidt Motorsports, which red flagged and ultimately canceled the race. BHA fielded regular Sam Schmidt Motorsports driver Alex Tagliani for the season finale in the #98 car who was not involved in the incident.
The car Wheldon drove in the Indianapolis 500 had been crashed at the Firestone Twin 275's Race 1 by Wade Cunningham, and was not used the rest of the season; that car was returned to the 2011 Indianapolis 500 winning livery and fully restored, with it taking a ceremonial lap at the 2012 Indianapolis 500 along with Wheldon's 2005 winning car, owned by Andretti Autosport.
Duarte Ferreira finished eighth in the final Indy Lights points with a best finish of third at the New Hampshire Motor Speedway. The team also fielded a second entry for Bruno Andrade in five road and street course races. Andrade had a best finish of fourth at Baltimore and finished 17th in points.
Alex Tagliani continued his association with the team, now sponsored by Barracuda Networks, with the team rebranded as Barracuda Racing. Due to a lack of pace from the Lotus engine, BHA cancelled its contract and switched to Honda, and the team chose to skip travelling to Brazil to prepare for the Indy 500. The engine switch improved the team's performance significantly: Tagliani qualified on the pole for the Firestone 550 at Texas Motor Speedway and advanced to the Firestone Fast Six (final round of road course qualifying) in Belle Isle, Toronto, Edmonton and Mid-Ohio. Tagliani finished 17th in points with a best finish of fifth at the Grand Prix of Edmonton where he led the most laps.
BHA, now using the name Barracuda Racing returns for the 2013 with Tagliani driving and Honda power. Tagliani was relieved of driving duties after thirteen races and replaced by Luca Filippi and J. R. Hildebrand, who had also been let go from Panther Racing earlier in the season.
Complete Indycar results
|J. R. Hildebrand||16||11|
- "Indy 500 winner Dan Wheldon enjoys moment in spotlight". USA Today. 30 May 2011. Retrieved 31 May 2011.
- Indycar.com – Indy Lights: Herrington replaces Saavedra in No. 29 car, IndyCar, Retrieved 2011-03-02
- Joel Miller to drive for Bryan Herta Autosport, Racer, Retrieved 2011-03-02
- Battistini Signs with Bryan Herta Autosport, Junior Open Wheel Talent, Retrieved 2011-03-02
- Bump Day Drama
- Champcarstats.com – Chronological Driver Date of Birth List
- BHA Confirm Angolan Driver Ferriera
- Wheldon and Herta reunited for a run at Indianapolis