Road America Indy NXT and USF Pro Weekend Primers, Indy NXT FP1 Notes, Check-Ins with Foster and Rowe

By Tony DiZinno and Patrick Stephan

Lots happening today – I (Tony) inadvertently got busy with a run down to the paddock in the wake of Juncos Hollinger Racing making a day-of, in-weekend switch from Agustin Canapino to Nolan Siegel in its No. 78 Chevrolet – so this will be a pretty quick times recap as the Indy NXT by Firestone had its first and only 45-minute practice session of the day around the 4.014-mile, 14-turn Road America.

The field remains at 21 cars again this weekend, albeit with a swap of Abel Motorsports’ third car for Jordan Missig back this weekend – the Illinois native is very experienced in multiple series at Road America – and the second Juncos Hollinger Racing car for Ricardo Escotto off until WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca. Escotto is still in action this weekend in USF Pro 2000 competition. The race-to-race program for Michael d’Orlando at Andretti Cape continues as well; he enters the weekend tied with Reece Gold in seventh in points, 97 back of championship leader Jacob Abel.

Abel heads into the weekend with 221 points, 25 ahead of Louis Foster (196) in second and 44 ahead of Siegel (177) in third. Siegel’s day changed dramatically after running only seven laps, as he got called up to fill in for Canapino.


The big story of the session is that there may not be much running prior to the race, and it’s also quite windy. Teams only have three sets of primary Firestone tires to use for the four sessions, which covers two practice sessions, qualifying and the race.

Note from Cara Krstolic, Director of Race Tire Engineering and Manufacturing: “We produce an INDY NXT tire specifically for Road America’s high speed natural terrain road course. This tire has a lighter gauge and a more durable compound than what is provided for all other road and street course race tires in the series.”

Foster led the practice session as all four Andretti Global cars ended in the top six. The only interlopers were Caio Collet, best of the 10 HMD Motorsports entries in second, and championship leader Abel, top of the three Abel Motorsports entries, in third. Local driver Yuven Sundaramoorthy (Oconomowoc, Wis.) only completed three laps after going off in Turn 12, Canada Corner.

After its only session of the day on Friday, Indy NXT competitors have their busiest day of the weekend on Saturday with second practice at 9:00 a.m. CT and local time, qualifying at 1:30 p.m. and its autograph session at 4:00 p.m. in the Fan Village.


126Louis FosterAndretti Global1:51.90701:51.907015
218Caio ColletHMD Motorsports1:52.11010.203114
351Jacob AbelAbel Motorsports1:52.40960.502613
429James RoeAndretti Global1:52.54880.641814
527Bryce AronAndretti Global1:52.83170.924713
628Jamie ChadwickAndretti Global1:52.89240.985411
717Callum HedgeHMD Motorsports1:53.06151.154517
823Jonathan BrowneHMD Motorsports1:53.07401.167018
93Michael d’OrlandoAndretti Cape INDY NXT1:53.17441.267416
1039Nolan SiegelHMD Motorsports1:53.24021.33327
112Salvador de Alba JrAndretti Cape INDY NXT1:53.24191.33499
1214Josh PiersonHMD Motorsports1:53.28101.374016
1310Reece GoldHMD Motorsports1:53.52651.619513
1499Myles RoweHMD Motorsports with Force Indy1:53.59441.687416
1521Jordan MissigAbel Motorsports1:53.60791.700917
1611Nolan AllaerHMD Motorsports1:53.75151.844516
177Christian BogleHMD Motorsports1:53.82111.914113
1840Jack William MillerMiller Vinatieri Motorsports1:53.87971.972715
1933Niels KoolenHMD Motorsports1:54.16592.258916
2076Lindsay BrewerJuncos Hollinger Racing1:55.69653.789519
2122Yuven SundaramoorthyAbel Motorsports1:55.97434.06733
Louis Foster during the XPEL Grand Prix at Road America in Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin. (Photo by Joe Skibinski | IMS Photo)

Louis Foster talked to Patrick earlier today, where he was asked about his challenging early season, including an incredible bounce back at Barber where he suffered car issues all weekend, started 21st and then raced his way to 5th. 

“Yeah, a bit mentally taxing I guess, but not really. We were never too far back, we were always third in the standings, so I wasn’t super super concerned. Definitely doesn’t help as we started behind the 8 ball which is never easy. These last two wins have really pushed us into a position to put the other two under a lot more pressure than they were feeling previously. I’m hoping that we can get another win this weekend and put the guys under more pressure and they make more mistakes. And hopefully we can keep having some decent luck (he stressed “Luck”).”

On the wind issues this weekend, Foster, said it’s “..kind of the same for everyone…the key is to not get overly worried about it and messing around with set-up and doing stuff to the car because to the wind you aren’t going to get anywhere, you just have to drive around it.” 

Foster also noted, “if the wind changes (like getting a big gust of a tailwind) and you brake at the same point you’ll be going straight on.”

Judging the wind factor can be done by looking at your speed entering a corner, but Foster noted that isn’t always practical while driving the race car and you just have to deal with it.

Myles Rowe at speed. (Photo by Chris Owens | IMS Photo)

Two notes from Myles Rowe of HMD Motorsports with Force Indy, who I talked to as well, re: tire conservation and the repave in year two:

“We’re definitely pacing ourselves probably,” he told TSO. It’s a proper lap. You can really mess up yourself. The speeds are so high. Qualifying same situation. You have to be a lot more cautious about new tires (only are three sets for four sessions). You’ll see some people push in qualifying. You have to manage tires a lot.

“The repave was great. Traction naturally is a lot better. We’ll see how it feels and how it goes in this car. Last year, we were basically flat through the Carousel. This car will be a bit of a lift, been waiting for High Gs. I love high-speed stuff, since Barber. Will be a lot of aero push. It’s been a bit since that was a factory. Indy wasn’t much and Detroit was next to none. It’ll see how it’ll fare.”

USF Pro Championships Near Halfway Marks of 2024

In what feels like an “old school” docket of Indy NXT coupled with the two top rungs of the USF Pro Championships, we’re back to six races of North American junior open-wheel racing supporting the NTT INDYCAR SERIES on the XPEL Grand Prix at Road America weekend.

St. Petersburg, the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course, Road America, the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course and Portland International Raceway are the only five venues in 2024 where Indy NXT, USF Pro 2000 and USF2000 all run alongside IndyCar.

Indy NXT runs its only race on Sunday at 12:15 p.m. CT and local time. USF Pro 2000 has three races (Saturday at 8:00 a.m. and 4:10 p.m., Sunday at 10:00 a.m.) while USF2000 has two races (Saturday at 12:30 p.m. and 5:05 p.m.).

The USF races, for the series that now runs on Continental Tires, is part of the Elite Engines Grand Prix of Road America weekend. For USF Pro 2000, these are Rounds 10 through 12 of 18, and for USF2000, these are Rounds 9 and 10 of 18.

USF Pro 2000 had a pair of qualifying sessions on Friday. Lochie Hughes (Race 1, Turn 3 Motorsport) and Simon Sikes (Race 2, Pabst Racing) scored the pole positions with Hughes’ lap in the morning the best of the day at 2:02.6851 around the 4.014-mile, 14-turn track.

The top four drivers in the championship run with four different teams. Points leader Nikita Johnson’s otherwise quick start to the year with VRD Racing has been slowed significantly by back-to-back weekend infractions, and with 14th and 12th grid spots this weekend he’s got an uphill battle to keep the lead.

At Race 2 (of 3) on the Indianapolis Grand Prix road course, Johnson was disqualified from the win as his team was violation of Rule 12.1.1 which specifies: “All components provided by Andersen Promotions, an authorized Manufacturer or supplier, must be used without modification unless otherwise stated in these Rules, the Technical manual or in update bulletins.” The next race weekend at the Lucas Oil Indianapolis Raceway Park, Johnson incurred a 30-point deduction for a technical violation followed by an accident.

Those setbacks see Johnson just one point ahead of Hughes (178-177), with Pabst Racing’s Jace Denmark lurking in third 17 points back (161) at that team’s home race and TJ Speed Motorsports’ Liam Sceats in fourth, 24 points back (154). Fifth placed Hunter Yeany is not entered for a second consecutive weekend, which will allow those below him the chance to advance.

USF2000 appears a two, or maybe three, horse race heading into its two races. Pabst’s Max Garcia holds a 28-point lead on Jay Howard Driver Development’s Evagoras Papasavvas (205-177). Garcia’s teammate Sam Corry is third but 50 points back. Garcia was the fastest qualifier Friday with Papasavvas back in ninth and Corry in sixth.