Helping the NTT INDYCAR SERIES kick off the Month of May at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, INDY NXT by Firestone rejoined the top series for the GMR Grand Prix weekend on the 14-turn road course this past weekend for round three of the INDY NXT Championship program.
With nine cars still signed for the full season, HMD Motorsports entered the weekend with eight drivers after Ernie Francis, Jr. was required to sit out due to injuring his wrist during the race in Barber Motorsports Park. Continuing to heal, Francis is expected to be back in the car next month in Detroit. Returning to the team after missing the last round competing in another series overseas, Josh Pierson was back in the #14 entry while Reece Gold took over the #10 entry for the first time since switching over to HMD Motorsports.
After claiming the past four wins at Indianapolis Motor Speedway and the first two races of the 2023 season, the HMD Motorsports INDY NXT team had a growing confidence heading into the weekend. In a condensed two-day weekend, the series was given limited track time with only one practice session on Friday before heading into qualifying later that afternoon. While the weekend started out strong with HMD pacing practice with Kyffin Simpson setting the fastest time and six drivers in the top-ten, the weekend began to go downhill for the team in qualifying as the drivers struggled to find clear track space to set a fast time.
INDY NXT by Firestone Qualifying Results:
4 – Kyffin Simpson
5 – Josh Green
6 – Christian Rasmussen
7 – Josh Pierson
12 – Danial Frost
15 – Reece Gold
16 – Nolan Siegel
18 – Christian Bogle
Taking the green flag on Saturday afternoon, HMD Motorsports drivers made up the mid-field of the series and had their sights set on making up positions and working their way through the field. The race began with two waived-off starts and the track finally went green on lap three. Heading into turn one going five-wide, Christian Rasmussen was able to make a massive jump, moving from sixth to third as Kyffin Simpson was able to hold on to his fourth-place position. Further back in the field, Nolan Siegel began picking off the field, gaining one position every couple of laps for the opening seven laps, moving up from 16th to 13th. On lap seven, Kyffin Simpson was able to make the pass on Rasmussen to take over third. With five laps remaining in the 35-lap race, Rasmussen went side-by-side through multiple turns fighting for fourth, but ultimately came out in fifth.
After a tough start to the season with a tenth-place result in St. Petersburg and a DNF at Barber Motorsports Park, Kyffin Simpson drove a strong race to finish with his first INDY NXT by Firestone podium in third. Josh Green closed the weekend with his career-best INDY NXT by Firestone result and elevated himself to P6 in the championship standings while HMD Motorsports holds four positions in the top-six of the point standings including first, second and third.
While the NTT INDYCAR SERIES turns their focus for the next two weeks for the 107th Indianapolis 500, INDY NXT by Firestone will return to the schedule in three weeks’ time for the Detroit Grand Prix.
Photos: RTD Media