Thursday, January 18, 2018
Sports

Rookie Carlos Huertas takes IndyCar victory in Houston

HOUSTON — Moments after Colombia defeated Uruguay in the World Cup, a trio of Colombian drivers headed to the rain-soaked podium at the Grand Prix of Houston.

One by one, Carlos Huertas, Juan Pablo Montoya and Carlos Munoz unfurled their yellow, blue and red flags in a celebratory Saturday for their country. It was the first all-Colombian podium in IndyCar history.

Rookie Huertas, 23, used strategy for his first victory in the first race of a weekend doubleheader. Montoya was second, and officials moved Munoz up to third when Graham Rahal was penalized after wrecking Tony Kanaan on an aborted final restart.

Montoya, a former CART and Indianapolis 500 champion, was on the podium next to two young drivers who grew up idolizing him. "Look, it's just like beating any other driver," Huertas said of Montoya. "You guys, the fans, they know what he has done. … My objective is to beat all the drivers, and I treat them all the same."

With rain falling, IndyCar decided to run a timed race rather than the 90-lap scheduled distance. Dale Coyne Racing kept Justin Wilson and Huertas on the track late, stretching their fuel. Wilson had to pit for fuel, and Huertas assumed the lead.

NHRA: Doug Kalitta had a run of 3.767 seconds at 327.43 mph to lead Top Fuel qualifying for today's eliminations at the Route 66 Nationals in Chicago. Tommy Johnson Jr. (Funny Car), Allen Johnson (Pro Stock) and Eddie Krawiec (Pro Stock Motorcycle) led their classes.

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