Hunter McElrea has powered to fifth in this morning’s incident-filled Indy NXT race on the Streets of St. Petersburg.
Only 14 of 19 cars finished the race with Danial Frost from Singapore taking the victory. Frost only led for two laps of the race but they were the two that mattered to see him start the season in perfect fashion. Nolan Siegel finished second with Jacob Abel- who competed in this year’s Toyota Formula Regional Oceania Championship- finishing in third.
For McElrea it was a weekend of two parts which began with a massive shunt in the opening practice session of the year. The Turn 3 impact was estimated to come with 100G of force and forced the Kiwi out of the session.
The Andretti Autosport crew worked some magic on McElrea’s severely damaged car and got him back on track yesterday where he set the 10th fastest time in Practice 2.
Qualifying was done the hard way for the Kiwi who was forced to start from 12th on the grid some half a second off the leaders. It was another 2023 Toyota Formula Regional Oceania alum who qualified on pole with Louis Foster and Abel taking the front row.
Race time was a hectic affair, five cautions complimented by an incredible 119 passes in the 55 minute affair. Several of those passes belonged to McElrea who went about quietly picking off cars in the pack but also benefitting as cars around came into grief.
One of those to struggle was Foster himself who had led early proceedings. The lap he lost the lead was where he came into grief by hitting the wall and breaking a left-rear toelink. He returned to the lane for repairs and re-emerged two laps down.
Abel also led at various points and looked set for victory but got his Turn 1 lines wrong off the penultimate restart which allowed Siegel and Frost through respectively.
Frost went about chasing down the lead and did so on the penultimate lap after Siegel also ran wide at the same corner, allowing his teammate through.
McElrea wound up fifth overall, a solid start to his Indy NXT season after taking Rookie of the Year honours last campaign.
Indy NXT next returns at the Grand Prix of Alabama at Barber Motorsports Park on April 28-30.
Header Image: Andretti Autosport