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Chadwick found new level of comfort in Indy Nxt on way to win

by Ida Wood

Photo: Joe Skibinski / IMS Photo

Jamie Chadwick was not anticipating contending for victory at Road America last weekend, but found herself “a lot more comfortable out front than I’ve ever felt” before in Indy Nxt.

The series sophomore drew comparisons to her W Series career, in which she claimed 11 wins from 21 races, after a challenging time in Indy Nxt so far. A sixth place was her best rookie result, and a first podium came on her 17th start.

“Last year was a tough year, but now to kind of be fighting where I feel like we should be fighting, it’s a great feeling,” she said.

“I appreciate how tough this championship is as well, and I think just respecting the level and coming at it this year with the speed we’ve had, I’m just super happy.”

Chadwick had to hold off Andretti Global team-mate Louis Foster to win and “knew I had to be aggressive” to stay ahead of him and points leader Jacob Abel.

“This year we’ve definitely made a big step. It’s where I feel like we should be now. Normally, before this weekend, I felt like there was a bit of a gap to these two [Abel and Foster] especially. But now we’re closing that gap and after today, I think we can try and always be up with these two as much as we can.”

She added that it was her plan to make Abel and Foster fight each other in certain areas of the track so she could then break the tow on the straights where she would be more susceptible to being passed.

When asked how she handled the pressure of leading at the end of the race, Chadwick replied: “I know the level and everything’s very different, but because I come from winning in W Series, I felt a lot more comfortable out front than I’ve ever felt all year. It’s kind of what I’m almost used to. I know it’s a different level, but I felt pretty comfortable and happy.”

Chadwick said she “would have taken [an] arm for a win” but coming into the weekend “wouldn’t have expected that” would be her result. It has left her “excited for the rest of the year”, adding “there’s no reason we can’t just keep improving”.

There was naturally a lot of attention on the fact that Chadwick became Indy Nxt’s first female race winner since 2010. It was a statistic she had mixed feelings on.

“I find the stats scary because there is no reason [why women cannot win more often]. It’s tough, it’s physical, but there’s no reason why women can’t be competing at the highest level of motorsport. So it shouldn’t be that, and it’s not something I think we should be proud of to celebrate, in a way. I really want more women [racing single-seaters].”

She added: “I think we should have more and more young girls starting in the Indy feeder series and ultimately getting through to Indy Nxt.”