Danial Frost survived an incident-packed Indy Nxt race to start the 2023 season with a win in St. Petersburg.
A total of five caution periods disrupted running, with five of the 19 cars failing to finish. Frost jumped ahead of Nolan Siegel after the final caution period to secure the win, the second of his Indy Nxt career.
For much of the race, it seemed to be Jacob Abel’s win to lose.
Two caution periods limited running in the opening eight laps – the first brought out for a collision between Reece Gold and Enaam Ahmed, and the second caused by Jagger Jones running into the barriers.
The incidents put Abel back onto the tail of Christian Rasmussen, who had moved up to second behind poleman Louis Foster in the limited green flag running that had taken place.
Rasmussen and Abel were battling side-by-side on the restart when Abel swept past both Rasmussen and Foster at Turn 1 to take the race lead.
He spent the next laps growing his lead to almost three seconds over Foster. But gradually Foster began to reel Abel back in and was a little over a second behind when the next caution period was thrown. This time Josh Pierson had run into the tyre barriers and was unable to get going again.
Foster couldn’t find a way past on the restart and actually ran wide at the first corner, dropping back two positions. He then clipped the wall at turn three, damaging his rear-left.
During this time, Abel had managed to hold onto the race lead, but another safety car period would undo that. Jamie Chadwick ran into the tyres at Turn 4 – her second incident after running into the back of Jones early on –and couldn’t remove herself.
On the restart, Rasmussen challenged straight away and pressured Abel into going wide through Turn 1. Nolan Siegel seized the opportunity to pass both for the lead.
Siegel and Frost had been carefully working their way forward from sixth and seventh respectively. They were in first and second when the next caution period was thrown for a spinning Josh Green.
With only two minutes left on the clock when racing resumed, Frost had to act fast. He managed to sweep past Siegel on the restart to snatch the race win and left his HMD Motorsports team-mate battling with Abel for the runner-up position.
Siegel held onto second, with Abel denying HMD a podium lockout.
Rasmussen finished fourth, while Hunter McElrea made up for a disappointing qualifying by finishing fifth.
Ernie Francis Jr was sixth and the last of those that managed to avoid trouble throughout the race. A recovering Green took seventh, ahead of Gold, Rasmus Lindh and Kyffin Simpson.
Chadwick and Foster both managed to finish but off the lead lap.
Race result (40 laps)
|1||Danial Frost||HMD Motorsports||55m24.0489s|
|2||Nolan Siegel||HMD Motorsports||+1.8038s|
|3||Jacob Abel||Abel Motorsports||+1.9782s|
|4||Christian Rasmussen||HMD Motorsports||+2.2621s|
|5||Hunter McElrea||Andretti Autosport||+2.7494s|
|6||Ernie Francis Jr||HMD Motorsports||+4.3832s|
|7||Josh Green||HMD Motorsports||+4.7900s|
|8||Reece Gold||Juncos Racing||+7.2390s|
|9||Rasmus Lindh||HMD Motorsports||+8.2011s|
|10||Kyffin Simpson||HMD Motorsports||+9.1595s|
|11||Colin Kaminsky||Abel Motorsports||+16.6940s|
|12||Christian Bogle||HMD Motorsports||+1 lap|
|13||Jamie Chadwick||Andretti Autosport||+1 lap|
|14||Louis Foster||Andretti Autosport||+2 laps|
|Ret||Matteo Nannini||Juncos Racing|
|Ret||Josh Pierson||HMD Motorsports|
|Ret||James Roe Jr||Andretti Autosport|
|Ret||Jagger Jones||Cape Motorsports|
|Ret||Enaam Ahmed||Cape Motorsports|
|Fastest lap: Rasmussen, 1m05.7314s|