SPEEDWAY, Ind. (WISH) — George Steinbrenner, the boss, spent 37 years cutting checks and taking trophies in pinstripes.
His grandson, 21-year-old George Michael Steinbrenner, wants to do the same in IndyCar. He is getting closer thanks to 18-year-old Colton Herta.
So what would the New York Yankees icon say about up-and-comer Herta?
“I think he would say, ‘You can keep him. You can keep him around. He is doing pretty well. Pay the man (laughs),'” George Michael Steinbrenner said.
Steinbrenner co-owns the No. 98 Indy Lights car with the help of Andretti Autosport. Herta, just like his father, Bryan, does the rest. Most recently, the pair swept a weekend of Indy Lights Grand Prix races at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
“It is massive and it is fun to enjoy it with George (Steinbrenner) because I don’t feel like he is my team owner, I think of him as my friend. When you think of a team owner or a CEO of a company, you think, ‘Oh he is old’. George is 21-years-old. It is crazy,” Herta said.
If Herta can pull off the 2018 Indy Lights season championship, Herta, Steinbrenner and Andretti will earn $1 million in scholarship money to put towards a move to IndyCar. If that were to happen, all signs point to that move coming in 2019. It is important to note, leading into the Freedom 100 this championship chase is extremely close. Rookie Pato O’Ward leads Herta by a single point, with Santiago Urrutia lurking just six points behind the lead.
If Herta claims the title and makes the jump then part of the question becomes — Is George Michael Steinbrenner the next big time Indycar owner that can stake his own claim in the series?
One place Steinbrenner already feels at home in is Indianapolis. Which, you know, is important.
“It is hard to put into words,” Steinbrenner said. “There is really no place in the world like the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. The atmosphere, the history, the emotions, the traditions…it is some place where I get to wake up in the morning and go to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. It is amazing.”
Wake up IndyCar. A Yankee’s on his way.