Caio Collet

Caio Collet found even more speed Saturday morning, leading pre-qualifying practice for the INDY NXT by Firestone Grand Prix at Mid-Ohio with a lap quicker than the track record.

Brazilian rookie Collet turned a best lap of 1 minute, 10.7894 in the No. 18 HMD Motorsports car. That’s quicker than his session-leading time of 1:11.4390 in Friday practice and better than the track record of 1:10.8079 set by Oliver Askew in July 2019. Track records can only be set in qualifying and the race.

SEE: Practice Results

Championship leader Louis Foster was second at 1:10.8375 in the No. 26 Copart/Novara Technologies car of Andretti Global, followed by his closest title rival, Jacob Abel, at 1:11.0281 in the No. 51 Abel Construction machine of Abel Motorsports. Foster leads Abel, 345-310, in the series standings.

Rookie Christian Brooks, second in Friday practice, continued his impressive weekend by ending up fourth at 1:11.2354 in the No. 39 HMD Motorsports car. This will be the third career start in the INDYCAR development series for Brooks, who also is racing in the USF Pro 2000 series this weekend.

Jonathan Browne rounded out the top five at 1:11.2698 in the No. 23 HMD Motorsports car.

Up next is qualifying at 2:05 p.m. ET today, with live coverage on INDYCAR LIVE and the INDYCAR Radio Network. Live coverage of the 35-lap race starts at 11:15 a.m. ET Sunday on Peacock and the INDYCAR Radio Network.

Abel and the entire 19-driver field are coming to grips with the fresh asphalt on the entire 13-turn, 2.258-mile circuit at Mid-Ohio.

“It’s definitely a lot different with the new surface,” Abel said. “We made a lot of good changes for today. Unfortunately, we didn’t get all of our new tire run in there. I don’t think a lot of people did. Still a lot to find, but we made good progress.”

Two red flag periods limited track time in the 45-minute session. Myles Rowe speared into the tire barrier in Turn 12 in the No. 99 HMD Motorsports with Force Indy car 12 minutes into the session. He was unhurt. Jamie Chadwick slid off course in Turn 8 late in the session with no contact in the No. 28 VEXT machine of Andretti Global.