By Steve Wittich

The Menlo Ventures sponsored No. 39 (HMD Motorsports) of Nolan Siegel during practice at Barber Motorsports Park ((Photo Courtesy of Penske Entertainment – Karl Zemlin)

HMD Motorsports rookie Nolan Siegel led his second INDY NXT by Firestone practice session of the young 2023 season. The Californian was one of a dozen drivers under the current track record of 71.5149 seconds set by Linus Lundqvist in 2021.

The top four drivers came from the HMD Motorsports stable, and 16 of the 18 drivers were within a second of Siegel.

The green flag for the second 45-minute INDY NXT by Firestone practice session got the green flag at 10 am.

The skies were sunny; the humidity was down from Friday, and the ambient temperature of 68F.

TSO checked in with HMD Motorsports and confirmed the issue with Danial Frost’s Dan-Jet sponsored No. 68 was electrical. So to ensure they sorted the issue, they switched the entire wiring loom. As a result, they believe they have the problem sorted.

At the one-third point of practice, Hunter McElrea was at the top of the timing screens, with a lap at 71.0668 seconds, over a half-second quicker than the track record.

Practice #1 leader Christian Rasmussen (HMD Motorsports) was within a tenth of rival McElrea. Nolan Siegel (HMD Motorsports), Enaam Ahmed (Cape Motorsports), Louis Foster (Andretti Autosport), James Roe, Jr. (Andretti Autosport) and Frost were within a half-second of McElrea.

Most drivers were on used Firestone INDY NXT in the first half of practice.

With 20 minutes remaining in practice, a dozen of the 18 entries circulated on the 2.3-mile, 17-turn natural terrain road course and only 1.2 seconds separated the entire field.

With 15 minutes remaining, teams began to bolt on fresh Firestones, with drivers simulating qualification efforts.

With ten minutes remaining, the top ten drivers were all within a second, and the top nine were all under the track record.

Rasmussen was the first driver to go under 71 seconds, jumping to the top of the timing screens with six minutes remaining. With drivers on fresh tires, purple – signifying drivers setting their best laps – filled the timing screen.

On his last lap of the session, the Menlo Ventures sponsored No. 39 of Siegel jumped to the top of the timing screens.

The 18 drivers completed 434 laps, with Irishman James Roe, Jr., the busiest, completing 27 circuits of Barber Motorsports Park.

INDY NXT by Firestone practice #2 results

139Nolan SiegelHMD Motorsports1:10.6303——25
26Christian RasmussenHMD Motorsports1:10.7030-0.072724
368Danial FrostHMD Motorsports1:10.8493-0.21924
421Kyffin SimpsonHMD Motorsports1:10.8569-0.226623
527Hunter McElreaAndretti Autosport1:10.9006-0.270324
626Louis FosterAndretti Autosport1:10.9470-0.316725
714Toby SoweryHMD Motorsports1:11.2180-0.587723
851Jacob AbelAbel Motorsports1:11.2419-0.611624
929James RoeAndretti Autosport1:11.3057-0.675427
103Josh GreenHMD Motorsports1:11.3894-0.759123
1157Colin KaminskyAbel Motorsports1:11.4237-0.793426
1247Enaam AhmedCape Motorsports1:11.4359-0.805621
1398Jagger JonesCape Motorsports1:11.5168-0.886524
147Christian BogleHMD Motorsports1:11.5304-0.900126
1576Reece GoldJuncos Hollinger Racing1:11.6511-1.020822
1699Ernie Francis Jr.HMD Motorsports1:11.6911-1.060824
1728Jamie ChadwickAndretti Autosport1:11.7773-1.14725
1875Matteo NanniniJuncos Hollinger Racing1:11.9712-1.340924

The next time the INDY NXT by Firestone drivers are back on track is for qualifying at 1:20 pm.