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Sowery does IndyCar test while Indy Nxt rivals take to Iowa oval

by Ida Wood

Photo: Chris Owens

Indy Nxt held its first oval test of the season today at Iowa Speedway, while its reigning champion and one of its current drivers were in an IndyCar test.

Iowa features on the Indy Nxt schedule in late July as the first of two oval races on the calendar, and in this Thursday’s test day it was HMD Motorsports’ Christian Rasmussen who set the pace.

Abel Motorsports’ Jacob Abel was his closest rival, with HMD’s Danial Frost and Andretti Autosport duo James Roe Jr and Hunter McElrea completing the top five.

Absent from the test was HMD’s Toby Sowery, although he is not currently set to contest the two oval races this season anyway, as he was at Sebring getting his first ever taste of IndyCar with Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing.

“Going straight from race to a test that we don’t normally do, it’s exciting,” said Sowery, who last weekend was racing in Detroit for his part-time Indy Nxt campaign.

“I can’t wait to get going. I’m loving the opportunity. I’ve got to thank RLLR for giving me that. Driving the car, I can’t complain, can I?”

He added: “There’s a lot more open-mindedness of this test than like a strict regime for a race event. In those terms, it’s good. But a lot of fitness, physical and mental preparation for it. These opportunities don’t come around a lot of time, so making the most of it.”

Sowery came third in Indy Nxt in 2019, spent 2020 on the sidelines due to the series being called off during the COVID-19 pandemic, then came ninth in a part-time 2021 campaign which he ended early to switch focus to IndyCar.

However an opportunity at the top level did not arise, until know, and the clashing commitments of another driver brought him back to the Indy Nxt grid on an occasional basis for 2023 after another year spent mostly out of the cockpit.

Another driver who has been waiting for his chance to race in IndyCar is reigning Indy Nxt champion Linus Lundqvist, who has already had a few test outings and was running alongside Sowery on track as Sebring as he tested with Ed Carpenter Racing.

Lundqvist was called up for the test prior to Conor Daly being dropped from his ECR seat, but the Swede missed out on replacing him as the team was quick to announce 2012 IndyCar champion Ryan Hunter-Reay in Daly’s place.