Nolan Siegel

Nolan Siegel led the INDY NXT by Firestone practice Saturday morning at the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg, establishing himself as a favorite to win the pole in qualifying later this afternoon.

Series rookie Siegel turned a top lap of one minute, 4.8896 seconds in the No. 39 HMD Motorsports with DCR car. Siegel, from Palo Alto, California, was second in the opening practice Friday at 1:06.3652.

SEE: Practice Results

“The HMD guys have done a fantastic job making it the fastest car on the grid,” Siegel said. “I’m really excited for qualifying today and the race tomorrow. Everyone here is super competitive and is on it right out of the box, so it’s going to be about who can put that perfect lap in.”

Qualifying starts at 1:35 p.m. ET today on the 14-turn, 1.8-mile temporary street circuit that includes the streets of downtown St. Petersburg and a runway at Albert Whitted Airport.

Fellow rookie Reece Gold was second at 1:04.9714 in the No. 76 Juncos Hollinger Racing car. Veteran Christian Rasmussen rebounded from an incident Friday to end up third at 1:04.9777 in the No. 6 HMD Motorsports with DCR car.

Josh Pierson was fourth at 1:04.9870 in the No. 14 HMD Motorsports with ECR car, the last of the drivers to dip under the 1:15 mark.