Louis Foster

Louis Foster knew capturing a maiden win in INDY NXT by Firestone was only a matter of time.

Even still, there was a look of relief that came across the 19-year-old Briton’s face as he climbed out to celebrate in Victory Lane at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course on Sunday, July 2.

It only took until the seventh round of his rookie campaign, but in many ways, that seemed too long for Foster, already a three-time pole-sitter as a rookie in the developmental category for the NTT INDYCAR SERIES.

“I think we deserved this a while ago, but nevertheless, super happy with the result,” Foster said.

Foster, the 2022 USF Pro 2000 champion, demonstrated tremendous pace throughout the early part of this season, with bad luck also not far behind. The opening six races saw him stand on the podium twice, including a runner-up finish on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course in early May, but it also came with three results of 14th or worse.

“We've had a few poles this year already, we're the top qualifier, we've always been started at the front, and we've just had a lot of unfortunate things happen to us, to be honest,” Foster said.

One instance of Foster being in the wrong place at the wrong time came last month on the streets of Detroit. Starting from the pole, he was hit from behind by Andretti Autosport teammate Hunter McElrea moments after the green flag, ending his race.

“Detroit was the most obvious one, but it happens; it's racing,” Foster said. “We just get our head down every weekend. ... Just trying to do our best and see what happens, really. And that's the same mindset we came into this weekend with. Frustration had been mounting a little bit, but at the end of the day I knew we had the pace. I knew it was eventually going to come, so I wasn't really stressing about it too much.”

And Foster showcased that mindset with a calm drive at Mid-Ohio despite spending the opening 26 of 35 laps trailing race leader Christian Rasmussen as wet conditions made the 2.258-mile, 13-turn natural terrain road course slick and treacherous.

Then, entering Turn 4, Foster’s No. 26 Copart/USF Pro Championship machine swung to the outside of Rasmussen’s No. 6 HMD Motorsports with Dale Coyne Racing entry and charged into the corner, braking late with smoke wafting from the right front Firestone tire as he moved into the lead and drove to the win.

“The entire race following Christian, I could see where he was weak and where he was strong,” Foster said. “One of the places he was weaker than me was at that corner, and I knew that I could probably out-brake him there.

“So, going into that corner, coming alongside him, I just set a point where I was just going to brake, and I just broke at it. He broke earlier. I didn't brake super, super deep. I don't know how there was such a massive lockup, but I think it was probably (because) I turned in a little bit early once I realized that I had to move pretty much sorted. It was pretty close. I was close to running wide, but I managed to keep on the track and hold the position.”

Despite enduring a rollercoaster first half of 2023, Foster is fourth in the standings at the halfway point of the season, 42 points behind leader Nolan Siegel (244-202).

“For me, just because of the abysmal start that we've had so far of the year, we're just racing to win,” Foster said. “I'm not thinking about championship because Nolan and Christian have had a really good start. We've had a quite poor start.

“At the end of the day, we're just going to be taking risks and throwing moves on the inside of people who are ahead of me in the championship, seeing what we can take. But yeah, I won't race any different from now on. I think the only time you really should be thinking about the championship is the last two rounds of the year.”