New Zealander Hunter McElrea finished Sunday’s Indy NXT race in fourth place on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Road Course, scoring a good haul of points towards his championship challenge.
The Kiwi had qualified well for the event, setting the second-fastest time in Friday’s session to start on the front row for the 35-lap race.
The starting spot was less than ideal for McElrea, a lack of tow off the outside front row seeing him quickly swallowed by the pack into Turn 1. He recovered to hold firm in the top 10 as a rhythm set early.
As tyres came to life in the second half of the race, championship leader Christian Rasmussen put pressure on the Kiwi for fourth, McElrea doing what he needed for the position to pull clear over the final laps.
Rookie Matteo Nannini took his maiden Indy NXT victory over Toyota Formula Regional Oceania alumnus Louis Foster, the two pulling well clear of the pack to come home split by less than half a second between themselves with third-placed Kyffin Simpson a lonely 10 seconds down the road.
McElrea was a further 5 seconds down the road in fourth, with Rasmussen rounding out the top five another 3 seconds behind. Jacob Abel, the second Toyota Formula Regional Oceania Alumnus in the field, finished ninth.
The result sees Rasmussen retain his place atop the standings over Nolan Siegel and Danial Frost. The victory sees Nannini jump from 17th in the standings to fourth, one spot ahead of McElrea.
Indy NXT returns with a doubleheader at the Detroit Grand Prix on June 3-4.
Header Image: Andretti Autosport