Foster dominates first Indy NXT race at Laguna Seca

Louis Foster converted a dominant pole into a dominant win in Saturday’s Indy NXT race at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca, eventually winning by over 8s. The Andretti Global driver now shares the championship points lead with Jacob Abel, who prevailed in a fraught battle for third with his Abel Motorsports teammate, Yuven Sundaramoorthy.

From his dominant pole, Foster appeared to make a great jump, but Caio Collet of HMD Motorsports braked late enough to threaten him around the outside of Turn 2. However, Foster fended him off and was happy to retain second, ahead of Abel and Sundaramoorthy. They had benefited from Reece Gold dropping two wheels of his HMD car into the dirt and falling to sixth, behind teammate Christian Bogle, but ahead of another teammate, Myles Rowe.

Gold’s day got worse when he had contact with Rowe, which sent him understeering off the track at Turn 5 on lap six, and nosed into the tire wall, bringing out a full course yellow. He was able to pit for a new front tire and rejoin without losing a lap, although he had to hustle on his out lap to catch the tail of the pack.


Foster got a good jump at the restart on lap nine, and the other standout was Rowe, who passed Bogle to claim fifth.

By lap 15 of the 35, Foster was holding a comfortable 3.6s lead over Collett, this pair – and the recovering Gold – being the only drivers to break into the 1m14s lap times. Abel was a similar distance behind Collet, but had pulled 1.8s on Sundaramoorthy who was untroubled by Rowe.

On lap 21, Bryce Aron, who had been running seventh, spun his Andretti car off after running wide exiting Turn 5, but he was able to restart without assistance and the race stayed green. It was a relief for Foster, whose lead was now out to 5s, extending it by two to three tenths with each lap.

Rowe allowed Bogle onto his tail after running wide exiting Turn 3 on lap 22, while Christian Brooks (HMD) and Jamie Chadwick (Andretti) benefited from a Turn 2 error from Jack William Miller to move into eighth and ninth on lap 25.

Two laps later, Bogle made the same error to let James Roe into sixth, but in the closing laps, most of the attention was on the battle for third between teammates Abel and Sundaramoorthy. They were 20s behind the leader, 13s behind second, but well clear of Rowe, so were able to fight without the fear of severe consequence should they lose time. Sundaramoorthy’s efforts paid off with a bold outbraking maneuver at the top of the Corkscrew on the 34th and penultimate lap. However, the pair banged hard against each other during the pass, and on the final lap Sundaramoorthy’s right suspension gave out, forcing him to allow his teammate back in front.

Foster grew his lead to over 9s before easing off on the final lap to beat Collet by 8.2445s. For his part, Collet drove a fine race to beat Abel by 20s. Another final-lap change was Roe demoting Rowe to sixth.

The result leaves Foster and Abel tied at the top of the championship with 291 points.

Race two begins at 1:05 p.m. PT on Sunday.


Story originally appeared on Racer