Nolan Siegel

Eleven years ago, Carlos Munoz had an opportunity with Andretti Global to race a full season in INDY NXT by Firestone as well as competing in the 2013 Indianapolis 500. Coming off a two-win rookie season in INDY NXT in 2012, a season where Munoz finished fifth in points, he made his NTT INDYCAR SERIES debut at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, qualifying in the middle of Row 1 and finishing second.

Another driver is following those footsteps.

INDY NXT by Firestone sophomore Nolan Siegel will set out to accomplish a similar feat for the 108th Running of the Indianapolis 500 presented by Gainbridge. The 19-year-old driver will run full-time for HMD Motorsports in INDY NXT during the upcoming season in addition to competing in the NTT INDYCAR SERIES for four non-conflicting races with Dale Coyne Racing. He will make his DCR debut later this month in the $1 Million Challenge at Thermal Club in Southern California (March 24) and then compete in the Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach (April 21), the Honda Indy Toronto (July 21) and will have the opportunity to qualify for his first Indianapolis 500 presented by Gainbridge (May 26).

Siegel said this opportunity began with a conversation while testing his IMSA ride in the annual Roar Before The Rolex 24 this past January. Dale Coyne was in attendance and chatted with Siegel about testing one of his NTT INDYCAR SERIES cars at Homestead-Miami Speedway in the week between the Roar and the Rolex 24 At Daytona.

“I was at Daytona didn’t know I was going to drive an INDYCAR,” Siegel said. “Dale said, ‘We’re testing next week, can you be in Miami tomorrow?’ I was like, ‘I’ll be there!’

“Brought my seat and showed up. Didn’t quite know what to expect.”

The Honda personnel on site asked Siegel if he had been able to get versed with the manual; he hadn’t had time to. He had also never seen the steering wheel either and had no idea what the buttons did.

Despite those obstacles, Siegel rose up the speed charts rapidly. By day’s end he was near the top five of the unofficial speed charts.

The chaos of getting from Daytona to Homestead ironically helped his psyche for that NTT INDYCAR SERIES test.

“I think that might have helped,” he said. “I literally didn’t have time to think about it. In some sense, I think that might have helped me. It’s cool looking back on it now that everything happened. I’m glad that opportunity didn’t allow me to overthink it.”

That aspect and racing as many cars as he did in 2023 helped him get up to speed quicker. He raced seven different cars last season.

“I drive so many different cars all the time that I don’t think that I have the luxury of having a driving style,” Siegel said. “One of the biggest things I’ve learned over the last few years of driving so many different cars is having the ability to adapt to the car and drive it the way that it needs to be driven.”

That should make his transition between a full INDY NXT by Firestone season and four NTT INDYCAR SERIES race weekends easier.

Both series kick off their seasons with races Sunday in St. Petersburg. The INDY NXT by Firestone race is at 10 a.m. on Peacock while the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg for the NTT INDYCAR SERIES will air at noon ET on NBC and Peacock. Both races can be heard on the INDYCAR Radio Network and the INDYCAR Mobile App powered by NTT DATA.