Collet dominates Indy NXT at Mid-Ohio to earn first career win

Caio Collet left no doubt.

The Brazilian rookie led all 35 laps from the pole to earn his first career Indy NXT by Firestone victory Sunday in the Grand Prix at Mid-Ohio. Collet drove his No. 18 HMD Motorsports entry to a 6.8091s victory over runner-up Louis Foster in the No. 26 Copart/Novara Technologies car fielded by Andretti Global.

“We couldn’t have asked for a better weekend,” Collet said. “We led every session, pole position, fastest lap. I think the car was great since Friday. The first lap, I felt really, really good. I managed to put the weekend together, and I’m really, really happy.”

Jacob Abel finished third in the No. 51 Abel Construction entry fielded by Abel Motorsports.


Rookies filled three of the top five finishing positions on the 13-turn, 2.258-mile Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course. Callum Hedge placed fourth in the No. 17 HMD Motorsports car, followed by fellow first-year driver and teammate Christian Brooks in the No. 39 HMD Motorsports machine.

Collet produced a command performance all weekend, earning the “grand slam” of leading both practice sessions, winning the pole and the race, and completing the fastest lap of the race. He was never threatened, both at the start and on the only restart of the race, on lap four.

Foster stayed in touch during the first half of the race, staying within 1.2s at the halfway mark, but Collet inexorably pulled away over the second half, building a gap of 3.4s by lap 29 as Foster and Abel struggled with tire wear. Collet also produced the fastest lap of the race in the final five trips around the repaved asphalt ribbon.

While Foster’s two-race win streak ended, his lead increased in the championship with his sixth consecutive top-two finish this season. He’s first in the standings with 386 points, followed by Abel with 345 and Collet with 315.

There are five races remaining this season for the IndyCar development series, with four on ovals. The next event is the first oval race of the season, the Iowa 100 this Saturday, July 13 at Iowa Speedway.

Neither Foster, Abel nor Collet – the top three drivers in the standings – have an oval win in Indy NXT. Collet will make his first career oval start this Saturday at Iowa, and he knows his status as a championship contender hinges on his quick adaptation to circle tracks.

“I’ll answer that question next Sunday at this time and see how my first oval race goes,” he said.


Story originally appeared on Racer