AGR to Herta: You’re fired

Posted by Iannucci | 6/27/2008 | 16 comments »
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Despite being an AGR employee since 2003, The Invisible Man just got dropped like a bad habit.

Valencia's Bryan Herta did everything that was asked of him at Andretti Green Racing, and even surprised a few with some unexpected wins.

But Herta was the one who was surprised on Thursday when he was informed that he was being replaced on the Andretti Green Racing American Le Mans Series team with driver Franck Montagny, a Frenchman with limited Formula One and road racing experience.

Herta will not be driving for Andretti Green Racing in the next American Le Mans Series race at Lime Rock Park at Lakeville, Conn., on July 12.

Montagny is the new primary driver of the team's No. 26 Acura-powered entry in the American Le Mans Series and will be teamed with Marco Andretti, son of team co-owner Michael Andretti, in the race at Lime Rock Park. Herta is not in Andretti Green's plans for future races, but the team said in a release that a variety of drivers will team with Montagny for the final seven races of the American Le Mans Series season.

(MORE from Los Angeles Daily News)
First, Marco’s IndyCar is scheduled to race in Nasvhille on July 12th, so that should raise some eybrows.

Second, that’s the same Franck Motagny who finished second at the Streets of Long Beach this past April. Start your own rumors about which current AGR driver he will be replacing in 2009.

Third, what the...? I mean, Herta is the same guy who quietly stepped aside (and out of IndyCars) so Andretti Green could sign Danica Patrick. Note that in 58 races Herta won two races and had 15 Top 5s, while in 25 starts Patrick has one win and only 5 Top 5s for AGR. She has however surpassed Herta handily in talk show appearances, swimsuit issues, and merchandise sales.

(Thanks to Jennifer for the alert)

16 comments

  1. The American Mutt // June 27, 2008 11:28 AM  

    How was he doing in ALMS though? Being the Invisible man, I don't actually recall how good he was on the roads, but doesn't it stand to reason that maybe they just need a better driver? Wouldn't hurt to have someone to replace Hideki as well. If he does well he'll get pulled to F1 by Aguri no? Montagny is A: Canadian(right?) B: badass on roads. They just bought a race in Canada.

  2. pressdog // June 27, 2008 11:33 AM  

    Herta did get Junior (Marco) that win at Snornoma or Watkins Glen or some similar race. (Road races all look the same to me.)

  3. AGRfan26 // June 27, 2008 11:41 AM  

    It was announced by AGR on there website yesterday that Marco is pulling a double on July 12. He will qualify in Nashville, fly to Lime Rock, race ALMS, fly to Nashville the same day and race in his IndyCar that night. It helps when daddy owns a plane I guess. I'm a big Marco fan, but I'm not to sure about this arrangement...

  4. Carrie // June 27, 2008 11:44 AM  

    Okay... that was all I needed to push me back over the anti-Andretti edge.

  5. Jennifer of Dog.Yarn.Knit. // June 27, 2008 11:54 AM  

    I think Bryan Hearta & Scott Sharp should start their own team: Sharp Hurt-a Racing.

  6. mmack // June 27, 2008 12:48 PM  

    It was announced by AGR on there website yesterday that Marco is pulling a double on July 12. He will qualify in Nashville, fly to Lime Rock, race ALMS, fly to Nashville the same day and race in his IndyCar that night. It helps when daddy owns a plane I guess. I'm a big Marco fan, but I'm not to sure about this arrangement...

    Oh yeah, doing double (or in his case triple) duty at different racetracks on the same weekend worked sooooo well for Kyle Busch a few weeks back that he stopped doing it. :^/

    But I'm sure Marco will do much better than Kyle Busch ever could.

    Did someone tell Marco and Michael that just because he's got grandad's sideburns doesn't mean he has grandad's talent? I don't believe grandad ever tried racing at different tracks on the same day. Of course, if Michael would listen to him, Mario could tell of the folly of depending on the weather to stay perfectly alligned to your racing plans.

  7. the american mutt // June 27, 2008 1:10 PM  

    So in other words...NO? Why bother to examine rationally whether or not it was the right decision to replace Herta when you can just as easily get your hate on. For the record most of you were pissed at RLR for ditching Simmons, but RHR seems to be a MUCH better driver. Five wins for agr during a time when AGR was unbeatable because everyone was running toyotas is not really a stellar win record. Danica would have had five wins if she'd been with them then.

  8. Anonymous // June 27, 2008 1:15 PM  

    American mutt: Montagny is from France.

    pressdog: That was Sonoma where Marco won and Herta spun. The Glen and Sonoma don't look THAT different. It's not they're Tilke tracks. :P

  9. Jeff Iannucci // June 27, 2008 1:24 PM  

    In the last year-plus in ALMS Herta had 15 starts with 1 win, 3 podiums, although this season his best finish was 4th.

    Don't know if that demands a mid-season firing, but frankly it's not my call. It's just unexpected since Bryan and Mike always seemed so tight.

  10. the american mutt // June 27, 2008 2:23 PM  

    anon,

    You're right...i was thinking of Tagliani.

    Jeff,

    That's not a terrible performance, and doesn't sound like a changing of drivers is necessary. Then again I've never run a race team. I don't follow ALMS (though often think I should) so I can't really weigh in beyond this.

    Pressdog,

    He had that win regardless of the spin. Just like Dixon crashed Dario out on purpose, but he couldn't call out his new team owner.

  11. Jeff Iannucci // June 27, 2008 2:30 PM  

    One other thing, Mutt: there is no longer a Super Aguri F1 team.

    http://www.saf1.co.jp/en/topics/2008/nws_080506.html

  12. The American Mutt // June 27, 2008 7:39 PM  

    I thought Aguri had two operations in F1 and had only ceased one. Is this not the case?

  13. Anonymous // June 27, 2008 10:55 PM  

    Who the hell is Kyle Busch?

  14. Anonymous // June 28, 2008 1:15 AM  

    IFCR Kyle Busch is a grandson of August Busch III.

  15. Anonymous // June 28, 2008 1:25 AM  

    Montagny has quite a bit of Sports Car racing, he has raced in the 24 Hours of Le Mans 8 times !

    I really Don't think you can out 100% of the blame on Michael Andretti & Kim Green.

    Acura is putting a lot pressure on AGR in the ALMS. AS AGR is Acura's team 1 in P2.

    Christian & Bryan did well last year but this year their performance was subpar ad I believe the folks at HPD in So. California told AGR to shake things up.

    I would NOT put ANY stock into Montagy rumors going to any of the 4 AGR ICS cars.

  16. Dale Nixon // June 28, 2008 5:47 AM  

    the american mutt said...
    So in other words...NO? Why bother to examine rationally whether or not it was the right decision to replace Herta when you can just as easily get your hate on. For the record most of you were pissed at RLR for ditching Simmons, but RHR seems to be a MUCH better driver.


    Umm, well, not exactly, although it's easy to believe otherwise with Robin Miller puffing him at every opportunity; RHR is still looking for a Top-5 and has a similar percentage in finishing races.