Event: INDY NXT by Firestone Music City Grand Prix, 35 laps or 55 minutes
Track Specs: 2.1-mile, 11-turn temporary street course
Tune In (all times Eastern): Race – 10:05 a.m. Sunday, Aug. 6 (Peacock, INDYCAR LIVE, INDYCAR Radio Network); Qualifying – 2:05 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 5 (INDYCAR LIVE, INDYCAR Radio Network); Practice 2 – 10:35 a.m. Saturday, Aug. 5 (INDYCAR LIVE, INDYCAR Radio Network); Practice 1 – 2:55 p.m. Friday, Aug. 4 (INDYCAR LIVE, INDYCAR Radio Network)
Last Year’s Winner: Linus Lundqvist (HMD Motorsports with Dale Coyne Racing)
Last Year’s Pole Sitter: Linus Lundqvist (HMD Motorsports with Dale Coyne Racing, field set by points)
Spotlight: A field of 19 drivers for INDY NXT by Firestone is bringing the thunderous low growl of over 400 horsepower to the streets of Nashville. This weekend marks just the second time the series will contest the event, which marks the ninth round of the 14-race schedule.
After winning the most recent race at Iowa Speedway, Christian Rasmussen has widened his overall lead in the championship standings, which sits at 22 points ahead of rival and fellow HMD Motorsports with Dale Coyne Racing teammate Nolan Siegel (281-259). The two are the only drivers to have multiple victories this season, with two apiece.
Rasmussen finished fifth in last year’s race in Nashville, while this year will be Siegel’s first trip to Music City. That inexperience shouldn’t be viewed as a severe deficit, though, as Siegel won the most recent race on a street circuit, in June at Detroit.
Although the top two in the standings have separated themselves some, it isn’t by much as third-place Jacob Abel (Abel Motorsports) is 21 points behind Siegel (259-238) and is riding a wave of two runner-up results in his last three races. Abel is also leading another tight battle as his spot in the standings is under fire from the Andretti Autosport duo of Hunter McElrea and Louis Foster, with only 10 points separating the three drivers (238-228) that complete the top five in the overall championship.
Notes & Nuggets: HMD Motorsports with Dale Coyne Racing has won six of eight races this season, with Juncos Hollinger Racing (JHR) and Andretti Autosport splitting the difference on the other two. Although HMD Motorsports with Dale Coyne Racing has victories in the three previous races this season on street circuits, each has been won by a different driver, with Danial Frost (St. Petersburg), Reece Gold (Detroit-1) and Siegel (Detroit-2) taking the top step of the podium in each respective contest.
This weekend will feature some new faces on the grid, with Abel Motorsports adding Indian American Yuven Sundaramoorthy and Italian Francesco Pizzi to complete a three-car lineup. It will also mark the return of Victor Franzoni, who will drive the No. 75 entry for JHR. Franzoni, the 2017 USF Pro 2000 champion, last competed in INDY NXT in 2018 with JHR, earning one win, five podium finishes and one pole en route to finishing fifth in a championship battle that featured titlist Pato O’Ward and runner-up Colton Herta.
Matthew Brabham will make a second consecutive start in INDY NXT, though with a different team. The 29-year-old Australian American drove from 11th to fourth in the last round at Iowa with JHR and will contest this weekend in the No. 47 entry for Cape Motorsports, teaming with rookie Jagger Jones. Brabham finished fourth in last year’s race in Nashville.