Colton Herta Surprising His Dad With His Former Race Car Might Make You Cry

I’m not crying, you’re crying. Okay fine, we’re all crying.

byJerry Perez|
Racing photo

I love auto racing for many things—chiefly the speed and sound of the race cars, the electricity in the air hovering above a race track on a Sunday morning. But one of the best aspects of motorsports is the community of racers and fans alike. This video recently shared by Racer serves as a reminder that while racing drivers are modern-day gladiators willing to risk it all in exchange for glory, they're also normal humans—and in the case of IndyCar's young star Colton Herta, a kind and loving one.

In the video, Racer's Marshall Pruett reveals that some time ago Colton asked him for some help in setting up a birthday surprise for his dad Bryan. Pruett kindly agreed and talked Bryan into meeting him at the team's HQ for an interview. However, there was no interview. Instead, Colton surprised his dad with the last race car he won with. Not a replica, not a zombie that's had parts added and removed over the last 25 years it's been sitting in some collector's garage. No, the actual number-matching Reynard Ford Cosworth from his victory at Laguna Seca in 1998.

As you’d expect, Bryan's jaw drops to the floor and he immediately starts tearing up. I wish I could say that my reaction was different, but I can't. As a father and a bit of a former racer myself, I can't begin to imagine Bryan's emotions at that very moment. Thankfully, he doesn't mind baring it all for the camera and just focuses on admiring his former race car while constantly getting choked up. Perhaps the most touching part of the video comes when he looks at Colton and asks, "You did this?" Colton responds by giving his dad a big hug.

In case you're not aware, Bryan Herta is a former racer who achieved a lot in his heyday. He won many races and championships on his way to the CART series (an IndyCar of sorts at the time) and then went on to become a constant frontrunner in the flagship series. He raced at Chip Ganassi, Team Rahal, Forsythe, and others, securing two victories, both at Laguna Seca. He would have a third had it not been for Alex Zanardi's now-famous but questionable pass at the Corkscrew on the last lap of the race in 1996. He now runs a successful operation as team owner of Bryan Herta Autosport and is deeply involved with Colton's IndyCar success, as well as his possible ascension to Formula 1.


Judging from the conversation taking place in the video, it appears that the racing car was a runner at some point recently and has all the right parts to fire up again. It likely needs a full disassembly and a careful examination before trying to bring it to life, but that could be a somewhat easier task for two folks deeply involved in racing. They've got the connections and the funds to make it happen. In the end, I just hope that Bryan takes it out onto the track someday, and maybe even lets Colton drive it. I remember quite clearly seeing that car race at Long Beach back in the '90s when my dad surprised me with a trip to the race, and also endless times on TV. This Shell-liveried car, along with the Miller Lite car of Bobby Rahal, was one of the coolest-looking machines of the time.

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