Hunter McElrea

It’s no surprise the two INDY NXT by Firestone open tests in June have taken place at Iowa Speedway and World Wide Technology Raceway, the only two ovals on the schedule.

Championships can be won – and lost – on the series’ two circle tracks, and teams know it. All 19 of the series’ full-time drivers participated in an open test June 21 at WWTR, a 1.25-mile oval located in Madison, Illinois, in the shadow of the Gateway Arch in St. Louis.

Here are a few facts and trends from the test, which prepared drivers and teams in the INDYCAR development series for the INDY NXT by Firestone OUTFRONT 100 on Saturday, Aug. 26:

Resurgent McElrea Fastest

Hunter McElrea of Andretti Autosport earned his first podium finish of the season by placing third last Sunday at Road America. The good times kept rolling for McElrea at Iowa, as he led the open test with a top lap of 155.271 mph in the No. 27 Smart Motors car.

That was .460 of a mph faster than former teammate Christian Rasmussen, who ended up second at 154.811 in the No. 6 HMD Motorsports with DCR car.

Rasmussen, Abel Stay Speedy on Ovals

Rasmussen must feel good about the state of his team’s oval program. The Dane was fastest in the open test June 8 at Iowa and was second Wednesday.

Jacob Abel was the only other driver to end up in the top three at both tests, second at Iowa and third at WWTR in the No. 51 Abel Motorsports car.

The Usual Suspects

The top five drivers on the final time sheets from WWTR all are in the top five of the standings.

Points leader Nolan Siegel was fifth at 153.858 in the No. 39 HMD Motorsports with DCR car. Second place Rasmussen was second in the test, and third place McElrea was fastest. Fourth place Abel was third on the WWTR time sheets, and fifth place Danial Frost produced the fourth-fastest lap in this week’s test.

Green, Chadwick Getting There

Rookies Josh Green and Jamie Chadwick are getting the hang of going fast on ovals, if this week’s test is any indication.

Green was sixth overall at 153.485 in the No. 3 HMD Motorsports with DCR car at WWRT after ending up 12th at Iowa. Chadwick also climbed the board at WWTR in the No. 28 DHL machine fielded by Andretti Autosport, turning the 12th-fastest lap after she was 16th at Iowa.

Watch for Kaminsky

Rookie Colin Kaminsky didn’t participate in the Iowa test, but he was seventh fastest at WWTR at 152.958 in the No. 57 Abel Motorsports car.

That performance came on the heels of a race weekend at Road America in which Kaminsky earned a career-best start of second and finished 10th, his third top-10 result of the season.