Nolan Siegel earned his second consecutive victory this season and took the championship lead with a composed drive to the checkered flag Sunday in the INDY NXT by Firestone Grand Prix at Road America.
Rookie Siegel added his second career victory in the No. 39 HMD Motorsports with DCR car to his win in Round 2 of the Streets of Detroit doubleheader on June 4. It could have been three wins in a row, as Siegel’s car suffered a mechanical breakdown with two turns to go while leading the first race at Detroit.
SEE: Race Results
Siegel, 18, from Palo Alto, California, finished 1.2695 seconds ahead of veteran Jacob Abel, who earned a career-best runner-up result in the No. 51 Abel Motorsports car. Veteran Hunter McElrea finished third in the No. 27 Smart Motors car fielded by Andretti Autosport, his first podium finish of the season.
Reece Gold finished fourth in the No. 10 HMD Motorsports with DCR car, with James Roe rounding out the top five in the No. 29 Topcon machine fielded by Andretti Autosport.
“I’ve now done a few races in this car, and it’s all starting to come together,” Siegel said. “I’m comfortable in the lead now. There’s no stress when we see people catching up, and I think we’ve got the strategy down. Super, super happy with the job everyone did.”
Siegel became the first two-time winner this season in the INDYCAR development series. The win also vaulted Siegel from a two-point deficit to Christian Rasmussen in the standings to a 40-point lead. Rasmussen crashed out on Lap 10 of the 20-lap race, ending up last in the 19-car field in the No. 6 HMD Motorsports with DCR car. He was unhurt in the incident.
“I like that,” Siegel said of seizing the championship lead. “I’d like to keep it like that.”
Siegel, who started fourth, passed teammate Gold for the lead on Lap 8 of the 20-lap race with an outside pass under braking in Turn 5. Abel passed Gold for second in Turn 1 after a Lap 13 restart and pulled to within six-tenths of a second of Siegel with four laps remaining, but Siegel eased away on the final trips around the 14-turn, 4.014-mile circuit.
Gold grabbed the lead after a chaotic first corner of the race. Pole sitter Kyffin Simpson went wide in the inviting Turn 1, with his No. 21 HMD Motorsports with CGR car launching all four wheels into the air after hitting a curb on the exit of the first turn. Simpson slipped to seventh place after the incident and eventually placed eighth.
Siegel climbed to third on the opening lap, behind Gold and fellow rookie Louis Foster in the No. 26 Copart/USF Pro Championship car. Siegel passed Foster for second on Lap 5 and then began to devour the 1.2-second margin to leader Gold over the next three laps.
Rasmussen’s heavy crash in the fast Turn 11 triggered the only caution period of the race, on Lap 10. But Siegel skillfully managed the gap on the Lap 13 restart, getting a great jump on the long, uphill straightaway to the green flag.
The next race is the INDY NXT by Firestone Grand Prix at Mid-Ohio on Sunday, July 2.