Jacob Abel

Jacob Abel stayed on top in the second practice Saturday for the INDY NXT by Firestone Music City Grand Prix, as mixed conditions again tested drivers and teams on the streets of Nashville.

Abel, from Louisville, Kentucky, was quickest with a lap of 1 minute, 21.5196 seconds in the No. 51 Abel Motorsports car. The best lap was turned in the opening 10 minutes of the 45-minute session, improving on his session-leading lap of 1:22.6592 on Friday afternoon. Then light rain began to fall on the on the 11-turn, 2.1-mile temporary circuit that includes two crossings of the Korean War Veterans Memorial Bridge per lap.

SEE: Practice Results

Intensifying rain forced drivers to switch to Firestone rain tires for the last half of the session, with many drivers tiptoeing around the dampening circuit only a few times before parking in the pits.

“We got a little bit of dry running there, which was good,” Abel said. “We got to do a new tire run that we didn’t do yesterday. Good session for us. We just don’t want to burn through these Firestone rain tires.

“We’ve been really solid in the dry, but I don’t mind the rain at all. We were good in it yesterday, so we’ll take whatever it gives us.”

Qualifying starts at 2:15 p.m. ET today, live on INDYCAR Live and the INDYCAR Radio Network. The 35-lap race begins at 10:10 a.m. ET Sunday, live on Peacock and the INDYCAR Radio Network.

Ernie Francis Jr. continued his strong weekend by ending up second at 1:21.7326 in the No. 99 HMD Motorsports with Force Indy car. Francis was third quickest Friday.

Hunter McElrea was third at 1:22.0552 in the No. 27 Smart Motors car fielded by Andretti Autosport, with rookie teammate Louis Foster fourth at 1:22.1085 in the No. 26 Copart/USF Pro Championship machine.

Rookie Nolan Siegel rounded out the top five at 1:22.4927 in the No. 39 HMD Motorsports with DCR car.

Championship leader Christian Rasmussen was seventh at 1:22.8911 in the No. 6 HMD Motorsports with DCR machine. Rasmussen was one of the few drivers who spent extra time running laps on rain tires as the track further dampened, which could pay dividends if there are more wet sessions this weekend.

“It’s a handful, that’s for sure,” Rasmussen said of the tricky conditions.