Returning to the famed Indianapolis Motor Speedway this past weekend, INDY NXT by Firestone and the NTT INDYCAR SERIES competed on the road course layout for the second time this season alongside the NASCAR Xfinity Series and NASCAR Cup series. Looking ahead at the weekend, HMD Motorsports needed to roll into the track prepared as INDY NXT by Firestone had less than seven hours to complete a single practice session, qualify, and race while the NTT INDYCAR SERIES received two practices and a qualifying session on Friday before their race on Saturday afternoon.
As the second race of the year on the 14-turn circuit, HMD Motorsports was prepared to head into the weekend with their team of eight drivers. While having already claimed seven of nine possible wins so far in the 2023 season, HMD Motorsports struggled in their earlier visit to the iconic track, with a best finish of third from Kyffin Simpson back in May.
Hoping for a change, the team finished the only practice session with Nolan Siegel leading the team in second, while Christian Rasmussen, Kyffin Simpson, Reece Gold, and Danial Frost filled out the top-eight. Less than three hours later, HMD Motorsports was locked out of the front row in qualifying as the field of 19 drivers struggled to make space on track to get a complete qualifying lap. Starting further back in the field than preferred, HMD Motorsports focused on the task of moving up through the field.
In the NTT INDYCAR SERIES, David Malukas qualified 23rd in his #18 Dale Coyne Racing with HMD entry, but due to an unapproved engine change after the Nashville race, Malukas received a six-position grid penalty and started from the back of the field in 27th.
Qualifying Results – INDY NXT by Firestone:
Qualifying Results – NTT INDYCAR SERIES:
At the start of the 35 lap INDY NXT by Firestone race, the field of drivers jockeyed for position as HMD Motorsports focused on moving up. While they began to settle in, HMD drivers gained a total of five positions in the opening two laps. Once everyone made it cleanly through the start of the race, the field settled into position for the next 22 laps. With 11 laps remaining in the race, drivers felt the pressure of passing opportunities beginning to dwindle and focused on moving up through the field. In the final ten laps, HMD Motorsports drivers made positive gains as three drivers – Josh Pierson, Danial Frost, and Kyffin Simpson – each gained two positions to move up into eighth, seventh, and fifth. As the two leaders of the race began to battle, contact between the two forced one of the contenders out of the race and Reece Gold took over third to earn his second podium of the season.
With the entire field ahead of him in the NTT INDYCAR SERIES race, David Malukas took full advantage of the 85 laps available to him as he steadily gained 11 positions to finish 16th.
Race Results – INDY NXT by Firestone:
Race Results – NTT INDYCAR SERIES:
In the competition for the INDY NXT by Firestone championship, Christian Rasmussen successfully held onto his top position, while Nolan Siegel dropped to the third spot. The championship race continues to intensify, with a closely contested field where any driver has the potential to emerge victorious on any given weekend.
As the season begins to wind down, both series will return side-by-side in two weeks for the final oval race of the season at World Wide Technology Raceway just outside of St. Louis, Missouri, August 25-27.
Photos: RTD Media