By Gary Gastelu
Published March 25, 2019
Colton Herta became the youngest race winner in Indycar history at 18 on Sunday when he took the checkered flag at the Indycar Classic at the Circuit of the Americas in Austin.
He also became the youngest to take a sip of victory alcohol on the podium.
Herta was accidentally handed a bottle of sparkling wine that was meant for runner-up Josef Newgarden, who got the winner’s non-alcoholic cider instead.
"I didn't switch back," Herta said. "I took a swig and said, 'This is real!"
According to Texas law, underage drinkers can have their driver’s license suspended for 30 days, while anyone who provides alcohol to someone under the age of 21 can be fined up to $4,000 and face one year in jail. The Austin Police Department has not yet responded to a request from Fox News asking if anyone was cited as a result of the incident.
Herta, son of retired Indycar driver Bryan Herta, was the beneficiary of a late race accident that brought out a yellow flag to tighten up the field. Race leader Will Power then suffered a driveshaft failure that took him out of the race and put Herta in the driver’s seat.
"He's been quick since he hit the track," third-place finisher Ryan Hunter-Reay said. "At first sight I wouldn't trust that guy with my Honda Civic, but he's very talented. This is the big league and he just won an IndyCar race."
Herta’s victory was also the first for his Harding Steinbrenner Racing team’s co-owner, George Steinbrenner IV, who became the youngest owner to win an Indycar race at 22.
Austin will be the only race Herta wins as an 18-year-old, as his birthday is March 30 and the next event on the circuit isn’t until April 7 at Barber Motorsports Park in Alabama. But he doesn't plan on slowing down with age.
"One race win isn't enough. I want to get another," Herta said.
The Associated Press contributed to this report