Home Road to IndyIndy Nxt Jacob Abel tops red flag-shortened first Indy Nxt practice of 2023

Jacob Abel tops red flag-shortened first Indy Nxt practice of 2023

by Bethonie Waring

Photo: Penske Entertainment / Chris Owens

Abel Motorsport’s Jacob Abel topped the times for the first free practice session of the 2023 Indy Nxt season on the streets of St. Petersburg.

It was a delayed start to action due to drama for other series earlier in the day, and Indy Nxt also suffered in losing track time as there were two early red flag stoppages in practice that limiting running. 

The first was brought out by Christian Rasmussen in the first five minutes. The HMD Motorsports driver had just topped the times when he ran into the tyre wall at Turn 4, causing heavy damage to the front of his car. 

The track went green again with a little over half an hour on the clock, only to be red flagged almost immediately. Hunter McElrea, who like Rasmussen is a series sophomore and anticipated to be a title contender, hit the wall at the exit of Turn 3 and it left his car in several pieces. 

The session really got underway with just 17 minutes remaining, but it was green flag running for the remainder of that time. 

Laptimes rapidly tumbled as drivers got used to lapping the street circuit on the series’ new Firestone tyres. Kyffin Simpson, Matteo Nannini, Josh Green and Enaam Ahmed all took turns at the top of the order. 

Abel went fastest late on with a 1m06.3288s lap. Other drivers found time in the closing minutes of the session, but none would better Abel’s lap. 

Nolan Siegel went second quickest with his final lap of the session, just 0.0364 seconds off Abel. The entire top 10 was seperated by just 0.4s. 

Rasmus Lindh secured third in his return to the championship, ahead of Danial Frost and Simpson. 

Josh Green and Ernie Francis Jr were sixth and seventh on the timesheet, with Ahmed, Louis Foster, and Christian Bogle completing the top 10. 

Free practice results
Pos Driver Team Time Gap Laps
1 Jacob Abel Abel Motorsport 1m06.3288s 21
2 Nolan Siegel HMD Motorsports 1m06.3652s +0.0364s 22
3 Rasmus Lindh HMD Motorsports 1m06.4386s +0.1098s 18
4 Danial Frost HMD Motorsports 1m06.5038s +0.1750s 22
5 Kyffin Simpson HMD Motorsports 1m06.5232s +0.1944s 22
6 Josh Green HMD Motorsports 1m06.5311s +0.2023s 22
7 Ernie Francis Jr HMD Motorsports 1m06.5449s +0.2161s 19
8 Enaam Ahmed Cape Motorsports 1m06.6306s +0.3018s 18
9 Louis Foster Andretti Autosport 1m06.6824s +0.3536s 17
10 Christian Bogle HMD Motorsports 1m06.7325s +0.4037s 21
11 Matteo Nannini Juncos Hollinger Racing 1m06.7332s +0.4044s 20
12 Reece Gold Juncos Hollinger Racing 1m06.8816s +0.5528s 20
13 Colin Kaminsky Abel Motorsport 1m06.9127s +0.5839s 17
14 Josh Pierson HMD Motorsports 1m07.1038s +0.7750s 20
15 James Roe Jr Andretti Autosport 1m07.2415s +0.9127s 17
16 Christian Rasmussen HMD Motorsports 1m07.9234s +1.5946s 2
17 Jamie Chadwick Andretti Autosport 1m08.0112s +1.6824s 21
18 Jagger Jones Cape Motorsports 1m08.3508s +2.0220s 18
19 Hunter McElrea Andretti Autosport 1m12.5142s +6.1854s 4