INDY NXT by Firestone at Road America

For the first time this season, INDY NXT by Firestone will compete on consecutive weekends. Following last Sunday’s 45-lap race around the bumpy, 1.645-mile Detroit city street circuit, the series returns to action around the smooth Road America tarmac.

The 4.014-mile racing surface was repaved before last June’s visit, with the picturesque Wisconsin track being among the paddock’s favorite places to compete.

SEE: Race Details

Here are five storylines to watch for Saturday’s 20-lap race.

Can Foster Score Hat Trick?

Louis Foster entered the 2024 INDY NXT by Firestone season with two victories during his 14-start rookie season. He has an opportunity to reach more wins in a three-race span than he did all of last season.

Foster has led the last 56 INDY NXT by Firestone race laps, leading the final 11 laps in his No. 26 Andretti Global entry for the May 11 race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway and all 45 laps from the pole last Sunday in Detroit securing his fourth career victory.

Can he become the first driver since Linus Lundqvist in 2022 to score a hat trick by winning three races in a row? Ironically enough, Lundqvist took a similar path.

Lundqvist won the second leg of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway doubleheader around the 2.439-mile, 14-turn road course, then swept a doubleheader race weekend at Belle Isle Park.

Without a doubleheader on the streets of Detroit last weekend, Foster goes for his third straight win Sunday in Road America.

He finished sixth on the Wisconsin road course last season but among his four career wins, three are on natural road courses, at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, Portland International Raceway, Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

Foster is second in series points, 25 behind leader Jacob Abel.

Siegel Needs Rebound

Sophomore driver Nolan Siegel is in a rough patch. Following a season-opening victory on the streets of St. Petersburg and a runner-up finish to Abel in the second event of the season at Barber Motorsports Park, Siegel and Abel entered the Month of May tied for the series points lead.

Then finishes of second, fifth and 18th at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway doubleheader in May and last weekend in Detroit dropped Siegel 44 points behind Abel in the championship.

A broken half-shaft before he sped off pit road for last Sunday’s race at Detroit was just the latest bout of bad luck for the driver of the No. 39 HMD Motorsports entry. Can things turn around Sunday in a race in which he’s the defending winner?

Sundaramoorthy Returns Home

Yuven Sundaramoorthy, born in Oconomowoc, Wisconsin, moved to China for his father’s work when he was 3 years old. The family then moved near Albany, New York, when he was 10 and finally back to Wisconsin.

“Growing up, I would always say that I was from Wisconsin,” he said. “My parents always bought me Badger stuff growing up because I was into the Wisconsin sports. It’s always been a faint memory in the back of my mind, and I knew I wanted to go to college there.”

Sundaramoorthy graduated from the University of Wisconsin at Madison last winter with a degree in computer science. He then moved to Indianapolis to be near his racing team’s headquarters, Abel Motorsports. He’s been back to the Badger State for his birthday to see some friends, but he returns this weekend for his job – the driver of the No. 22 Abel Motorsports entry.

Sundaramoorthy figures that between June Sprints, F1600 Championship races and the USF Pro Championships, he has raced at Road America 20 times. He finished 14th last Sunday at Detroit but said that finish is deceptive.

“It’s way better than coming off of every other event we’ve had this year,” Sundaramoorthy said. “Just finally have the pace. Obviously, Road America is a different track, but I’m hoping the pace transfers. I believe it can, and a podium there would mean everything to me.”

At one point during last Sunday’s race at Detroit, Sundaramoorthy had the fastest recorded race lap.

Hedge Ascending

Rookie Callum Hedge has a pair of top-four finishes in his last three INDY NXT by Firestone starts in the No. 17 HMD Motorsports entry. That’s catapulted him from 11th in points to sixth entering Sunday’s race at Road America.

Hedge speeds to the Wisconsin road course after a career-best third place finish last Sunday in Detroit, even with damaged machinery.

“It was an interesting race,” he said. “I had a really good start. Picked up a bit of damage on the first lap. Hit the fence going through the chicane. Sort of bided my time for about 10 laps, waited till I got comfortable with the slightly bent car. Realized I had good pace. Made a few moves forward.”

Collet Closer to Breakout Victory

HMD Motorsports rookie driver Caio Collet claimed another podium finish and heads to Road America with back-to-back top-three results. Brazilian driver Collet achieved his best-career finish in INDY NXT by Firestone last Sunday in Detroit, placing second.

“Behind the scenes, the team is doing a really great job to help me to get all the information, all the preparation I need to come into a track,” Collet said. “I think 90% of the tracks are new for me. Every time we have quite a lot of discussions, information to prep.

“I think having 10 cars, having a team that is really good. It helps a lot. You have all the data, all the information you need to be ready when you first arrive at the track.

“I think they've been doing a really good job with me to help me to understand the car and also the tracks. I'm enjoying myself quite a lot here in the U.S. Glad to be here. I think just keep doing what we are doing, and I think our time will come.”

Track Specs: 4.014-mile, 14-turn permanent road course (clockwise), in Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin.

Qualifying Record: Kyffin Simpson, 1:49.1028, 132.448 mph, June 17, 2023.

Push To Pass Parameters: 150 seconds of total time with a maximum time of 15 seconds per activation.