Colton Herta crashes in the first turn Friday during the final practice for the Indianapolis 500 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway in Indianapolis. Kirk DeBrunner/Associated Press

INDIANAPOLIS — Colton Herta rolled his Indianapolis 500 car end-over-end during Friday’s final practice. The star driver for Andretti Autosport was uninjured in the most significant crash in the build up to the “Greatest Spectacle in Racing.”

“I think I was going a little too fast for that corner,” Herta said.

The crash with 25 minutes remaining on “Carb Day” destroyed the Andretti Honda and he will need a backup for Sunday’s race. Herta had also blown an engine in qualifying and will start 25th in whatever car Andretti can get ready for race day.

“A little sad for that race car,” Herta said when asked how he felt after exiting the infield care center.

The 22-year-old Californian was speaking on his team radio as his car was still rolling. When it came to a stop, his father, Bryan, radioed for Herta to stay put and strapped in until emergency crews could free him from the car.

His father is his race strategist and immediately went to the Andretti garage to oversee preparations on the backup car. Herta does not have to drop to the back of the field.


“Thankful for a lot of things,” Herta said. “I guess the aeroscreen is part of that. More so the safety crew and I guess just the durability of the side pods on the side structure of the cars. That was a big hit from the side. Yeah, the safety crews were there very fast flipping me back over.”

Earlier in practice, David Malukas crashed following contact with Santino Ferrucci. Malukus, at 20 years old, is the youngest driver in the field; Ferrucci was penalized for avoidable contact.

“Probably one of the biggest hits I felt,” Malukas said. “I came out with just a small bruise.”

Herta scored his first win of the IndyCar season earlier this month with an entertaining drive through the rain on the road course inside Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Last year, Herta qualified second, started on the front row and led 13 laps before strategy backfired and he faded to a disappointing 16th-place finish.

Tony Kanaan and Marcus Ericsson led practice for Chip Ganassi Racing. Scott Dixon, the pole sitter, was third-fastest and seven-time NASCAR champion Jimmie Johnson was seventh as Ganassi had four of his cars in the top seven. Alex Palou, the reigning IndyCar champion, was 14th and slowest of the Ganassi group.

Johnson has been everywhere this month, from the track to the late-night talk-show circuit as he preps for his first Indy 500. Johnson was at Indy last season as part of NBC Sports’ coverage.


“I want to experience it all,” Johnson said. “It’s been great.”

PATO O’WARD inked a contract extension two days before the Indianapolis 500 that makes him the centerpiece of Arrow McLaren SP in IndyCar and perhaps beyond.

The deal announced Friday extends O’Ward’s contract through the 2025 season, includes a well-earned pay raise, a McLaren for his personal use and potential opportunities for the 23-year-old with McLaren’s Formula One team, McLaren head Zak Brown told The Associated Press.

FORMULA ONE: Lewis Hamilton can still race with his jewelry intact. The bigger problem for the Mercedes star Friday: The rough and tumble track at the Monaco Grand Prix.

“It feels like my eyeballs are coming out of their sockets,” Hamilton said after a pair of practice sessions around Monaco’s downtown streets.

“There’s like 100 bumps on one straight. It’s the bumpiest roller-coaster ride ever.”


At least he got to drive.

Hamilton has been at odds with Formula One’s governing body since the FIA ruled drivers cannot compete while wearing jewelry. The seven-time F1 champion has complained he has piercings that can only be surgically removed, so the FIA granted him a waiver that gave him until Monaco to remove all his studs.

But he arrived in Monaco with a nose piercing still visible, and the FIA has since extended the waiver through the end of June.

“It definitely is positive that we’re working with (the FIA) and I think they’re accommodating (us),” Hamilton said.

But the mood soon soured once practice began and the new Mercedes for 2022 bounced all over the circuit. The car has been troublesome since its debut and has experienced an aerodynamic issue called “porpoising” in which it hops around on the track.

“Man it’s so bouncy here, I’m losing my (expletive) mind,” Hamilton radioed the Mercedes camp. “Need elbow pads in this cockpit. Bouncing like mad.”

Hamilton has won three times at Monaco but this weekend is dealing with one of F1’s crown jewel venues like never before.

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