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Race report
Indy NXT Laguna II

Indy NXT Laguna Seca: Foster dominates opening race of doubleheader weekend

Pole-sitter Louis Foster went flag-to-flag and pulled off a dominant victory in the opening race of the doubleheader weekend for Indy NXT at Laguna Seca.

Louis Foster, Andretti Global

A 20-year-old Briton, Foster wheeled the No. 26 Andretti Global entry to a beatdown of the field to claim a 8.2445s victory and lead all 35 laps around the 2.238-mile, 11-turn natural terrain road course. It is the fifth Indy NXT win of Foster’s career.

“The team gave me a good car,” Foster said. “I was able to just keep pushing, but had very little deg (tire degradation). I was managing tires but they didn’t need much managing to be honest with you. Super happy, let’s go do it tomorrow.”

HMD Motorsports rookie Caio Collet finished exactly where he started in second. 

Meanwhile, Jacob Abel took third in the No. 51 Abel Motorsports entry.

Abel and Foster are now tied for the championship lead with 291 points each. 

Yuven Sundaramoorthy, Abel’s team-mate, was running third coming to the final corner of the final lap, but contact with Juncos Hollinger Racing’s Lindsay Brewer, who was running a lap down in 17th, resulted in severe damage to his right-front. He ended up coasting across the finish line to finish fourth. 

Andretti Global’s James Roe finished fifth, directly ahead of HMD Motorsports with Force Indy’s Myle Rowe in sixth. 

The Race

Foster fended off Collet’s early attempt to get the lead with an outside move into Turn 2 as the field of 20 cars sorted through to a clean opening lap.

Abel progressed up to third, leading the way for Abel Motorsports team-mate Sundaramoorthy in fourth. Meanwhile, the No. 10 HMD Motorsports entry of Reece Gold, who started third, dropped down to sixth.

The opening six laps saw Foster build a 3.2s advantage over Collet, but it was negated on lap 6 after Gold went off in Turn 5 and brought out the caution following a battle with team-mate Christian Bogle. Gold was able to stay on the lead lap after quick work by the AMR Safety Team to retrieve him, needing only to return to pit road for a quick front wing change. 

Foster made a clean getaway on the lap 9 restart as Collet’s runner-up spot was immediately under attack by Abel. 

Despite Abel’s efforts, he was unable to mount a successful push to get by the 22-year-old Brazilian and remained third. 

Over the next 13 laps, the best battle on track was for 10th. Rookie Christian Brooks, making his series debut with HMD Motorsports following the IndyCar-bound Nolan Siegel was announced by Arrow McLaren earlier in the week, was thrust into a tough battle with Andretti Global’s Jamie Chadwick.

Brooks, who started 13th, was put into defending the final spot of the top 10 as Chadwick mounted challenge after challenge, namely in the Corkscrew section of the historic circuit. 

Andretti Global rookie Bryce Aron went off in Turn 6 on lap 21, but managed to gather it back up and continue on and not bring out a caution.

By lap 22, Foster’s lead grew to 5.1s over Collet, who was roughly 7s ahead of Abel in third. 

The lead for Foster grew to over 6.4s with 10 laps to go. 

Brooks and Chadwick remained the closest battle on track, but both elevated two positions in the running order after off-track moments by rivals in the backend of the top 10, notably Jack William Miller.

Foster held an 8.5s lead with five laps to go, with the frontrunners remaining unchanged. 

However, Sundaramoorthy pulled off a strong pass on team-mate Abel entering the Corkscrew on the penultimate lap to move into third.

Foster coasted to the win, ahead of Collet. Sundaramoorthy’s first podium escaped his clutches on the last corner of the last lap after contact with Brewer, which allowed Abel to get back to third.

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