Juncos Hollinger Racing’s Matteo Nannini led from start to finish for his first Indy Nxt win on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course.
It took three attempts for the race to begin, with the first rolling start too slow and the second too fast, and when green flag action got underway on lap three Louis Foster passed front row man Hunter McElrea for second straight away.
McElrea got squeezed at turn two and dropped to fourth behind Christian Rasmussen, then lost another spot to Kyffin Simpson.
Nannini built a lead of 1.5 seconds in the first three laps of racing, and his team told him to maintain that gap to Foster. However almost as soon as they did, Foster started to close in and it took him 10 laps to bring the gap down to under a second.
A front-right lock-up for Nannini into turn one on lap 26 of 35 enabled Foster to draw in even closer, and he had a slide exiting turn four two laps after that but still kept Foster at bay.
Foster was being tactical with his push-to-pass boost, saving it for the last few laps. He was 0.374s behind with three laps to go, and a lock-up by Nannini at turn three helped him get a slipstream fron the leader down to turn seven.
There was not room to overtake though, and by using his P2P he went into the final lap just 0.271s behind. Nannini got defensive early on the straight to turn seven, trying to break the tow and doing enough to keep the lead once again. He brought it home in the final corners, winning by just under 0.4s to take Juncos’s first victory of its Indy Nxt comeback.
“I really wanted this win, mainly for the team. We didn’t start the championship the way we wanted, but I know we have the car to do it, we have the crew to do it,” Nannini said, admitting that his car moving under braking “quite a bit” in the last laps.
Simpson passed Rasmussen for third around the outside of turn seven on lap seven then gradually pulled out a gap to secure the final podium spot, and McElrea tried doing the same to points leader Rasmussen on lap 18 as Josh Green was on his tail.
Rasmussen held firm all the way until lap 30, when McElrea attempted a move at turn 11 and then stayed alongside through to turn one on the next lap. They both braked as late as possible and McElrea got through, then pulled away in the remaining laps.
There was little overtaking after the first laps in the rest of the top 10, but there was some action towards the back. Jagger Jones had a big lock-up early on while trying to pass Reece Gold, then Jamie Chawick passed him. She cleared Christian Bogle too a few laps later, and then got by Josh Pierson after a late-braking move on his inside at turn one.
Finally she passed Gold for 15th after he locked up so early going into turn seven that he damaged his car’s bodywork.
Race result (35 laps)
|1||Matteo Nannini||Juncos Racing||46m11.1605s|
|2||Louis Foster||Andretti Autosport||+0.3909s|
|3||Kyffin Simpson||HMD Motorsports||+10.1974s|
|4||Hunter McElrea||Andretti Autosport||+15.4142s|
|5||Christian Rasmussen||HMD Motorsports||+18.7555s|
|6||Josh Green||HMD Motorsports||+19.6161s|
|7||James Roe Jr||HMD Motorsports||+21.2875s|
|8||Rasmus Lindh||Juncos Racing||+24.1775s|
|9||Jacob Abel||Abel Motorsports||+26.7275s|
|10||Enaam Ahmed||Cape Motorsports||+30.3672s|
|11||Danial Frost||HMD Motorsports||+32.1352s|
|12||Colin Kaminsky||Abel Motorsports||+33.3460s|
|13||Nolan Siegel||HMD Motorsports||+34.1163s|
|14||Jagger Jones||Cape Motorsports||+37.5289s|
|15||Jamie Chadwick||Andretti Autosport||+38.9149s|
|16||Reece Gold||Juncos Racing||+43.8057s|
|17||Josh Pierson||HMD Motorsports||+46.2890s|
|18||Christian Bogle||HMD Motorsports||+1m03.6811s|
|Fastest lap: Nannini, 1m16.9591s