By Steve Wittich
The 19 drivers that took part in the season-opening INDY NXT by Firestone race were joined by Jack William Miller (No. 40 Abel Motorsports) on a chilly April morning at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway for an open test on the 2.439-mile, 14-turn road course.
It was chilly enough that INDYCAR pushed the 10 am start to 11 am, canceling a scheduled lunch break to compensate for the lost time.
Each entry was allotted two sets of Firestone INDY NXT tires for the day of testing. These tires were the exact construction and compound utilized at the St. Petersburg season opener.
There were two red flags in the first half of the five hours of testing. Both were for tow-ins.
Andretti Autosport veteran Hunter McElrea led the first half of the session with a lap time of 74.6257 seconds. Despite a cold and dirty track, that lap was below the track record set by Ed Jones during qualifying in 2016 and 1.7 seconds quicker than last year’s pole lap set by Linus Lundqvist.
INDY NXT by Firestone timesheet at the halfway point of testing
|RANK||CAR NO.||NAME||TEAM||FAST LAP||DIFF.||TOTAL LAPS|
|1||27||Hunter McElrea||Andretti Autosport||1:14.6257||——||30|
|2||6||Christian Rasmussen||HMD Motorsports||1:14.6881||-0.0624||19|
|3||47||Enaam Ahmed||Cape Motorsports||1:14.8663||-0.2406||22|
|4||51||Jacob Abel||Abel Motorsports||1:14.9739||-0.3482||22|
|5||75||Matteo Nannini||Juncos Hollinger Racing||1:14.9749||-0.3492||16|
|6||76||Reece Gold||Juncos Hollinger Racing||1:14.9837||-0.358||23|
|7||26||Louis Foster||Andretti Autosport||1:15.0388||-0.4131||22|
|8||21||Kyffin Simpson||HMD Motorsports||1:15.0522||-0.4265||29|
|9||39||Nolan Siegel||HMD Motorsports||1:15.0705||-0.4448||29|
|10||10||Rasmus Lindh||HMD Motorsports||1:15.1053||-0.4796||29|
|11||99||Ernie Francis Jr.||HMD Motorsports||1:15.1249||-0.4992||31|
|12||98||Jagger Jones||Cape Motorsports||1:15.2376||-0.6119||28|
|13||3||Josh Green||HMD Motorsports||1:15.3162||-0.6905||29|
|14||68||Danial Frost||HMD Motorsports||1:15.3368||-0.7111||24|
|15||7||Christian Bogle||HMD Motorsports||1:15.3712||-0.7455||24|
|16||29||James Roe||Andretti Autosport||1:15.4343||-0.8086||24|
|17||28||Jamie Chadwick||Andretti Autosport||1:15.5200||-0.8943||28|
|18||14||Josh Pierson||HMD Motorsports||1:15.6274||-1.0017||28|
|19||57||Colin Kaminsky||Abel Motorsports||1:15.6283||-1.0026||20|
|20||40||Jack William Miller||Abel Motorsports||1:16.3011||-1.6754||11|