On the second weekend in September, the 2023 Indy NXT season came to an end at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca in Monterey, California. This year, we were once again able to watch some thrilling races. In this review, I'll mention the drivers who stood out for me most. But first let's start with the individual race weekends. Round by round.




In the 2023 Indy NXT season opener at St. Petersburg, Danial Frost secured victory amidst a race marked by five caution periods and challenges. Initially, Jacob Abel led the race but faced disruptions due to caution periods. Abel's lead was briefly challenged by Christian Rasmussen, who battled side-by-side with him on a restart. Ultimately, Frost surged ahead on the restart to snatch his second Indy NXT career win, with Siegel and Abel securing second and third positions respectively. Amid caution periods and incidents, Ernie Francis Jr. and Hunter McElrea showcased strong performances, while Jamie Chadwick and Louis Foster both finished outside the lead lap on their Indy NXT debut weekend.




Christian Rasmussen took the lead in the championship by winning the disrupted second race at Barber Motorsports Park. The race saw multiple safety car periods and a red flag due to a recovery vehicle getting stuck in the mud. Rasmussen maintained control throughout, building a comfortable lead over Nolan Siegel. The safety car came out twice due to incidents involving Matteo Nannini and Jacob Abel, as well as Louis Foster. After the red flag, Rasmussen led the race to victory, with Siegel finishing second and Toby Sowery in third. Danial Frost, initially in contention for second place in the standings, dropped due to an incident with Josh Green. Enaam Ahmed secured fourth, while several other drivers encountered incidents but managed to finish.




Matteo Nannini secured his first Indy NXT victory at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course, leading the race from start to finish. The race had three start attempts, and Louis Foster maneuvered past Hunter McElrea to take second. McElrea lost positions due to being squeezed, while Nannini established a lead of 1.5 seconds. Foster gradually closed the gap, but Nannini defended his position strategically, ultimately winning by just under 0.4 seconds. Simpson overtook Christian Rasmussen for third and maintained a gap to secure the final podium spot. McElrea managed to fight back and successfully overtook Rasmussen for fourth place at the end of the race.




Reece Gold secured his first Indy NXT win in Detroit's first race after Nolan Siegel experienced a last-minute mechanical issue, allowing Gold to take the lead. Siegel, who had led comfortably, suffered a gearbox problem near the finish line, ultimately finishing eighth. Gold and Siegel battled for the lead, having risen to the front following an early safety car due to Hunter McElrea spinning Louis Foster. Gold maintained his lead during restarts, with Rasmus Lindh also in the mix before a collision with Josh Green. Siegel managed to overtake Gold but faced pressure from behind. When Siegel's car broke down, Reece Gold, Jagger Jones and Ernie Francis Jr. passed him to take the podium places, leading to Gold's victory. Jacob Abel finished fourth, while Enaam Ahmed and Christian Bogle also moved up the ranks. McElrea passed Siegel just before the finish line, with Rasmussen and Roe completing the top 10.


In Race 2 it was redemption time for Nolan Siegel who secured his first Indy NXT win in Detroit, overcoming two pace car restarts. He took the lead from Louis Foster and Christian Rasmussen on the opening lap after they ran wide in a side-by-side battle. Rasmussen closed in on Siegel but couldn't overtake, with Foster and Hunter McElrea trailing. The race was neutralized due to Jagger Jones hitting the wall. Siegel successfully defended his lead against Rasmussen during restarts, ultimately winning by 0.6559s, moving him two points behind championship leader Rasmussen. Foster secured third, and Colin Kaminsky's late mistake shuffled the order. James Roe Jr capitalized, finishing sixth after gaining from mistakes by Ahmed and Abel. Ernie Francis Jr recovered after front wing damage, while Kaminsky took eighth ahead of Abel and Ahmed.




Simpson secured his first-ever pole position when the championship visited Road America. However, he went off the track in the first turn, relinquishing his lead to Gold, with Foster and Siegel following closely, causing him to drop to seventh place. Foster later attempted to pass Gold but couldn't, losing momentum in the process. Siegel seized the opportunity to move into second place. A few laps later, Siegel successfully overtook Gold to claim the lead. Following an interruption when the championship leader, Rasmussen, retired, Gold's podium hopes faded as Abel and later McElrea passed him. Siegel's victory propelled him to the championship lead, 39 points ahead of Rasmussen, who finished 19th.




The first part of the season came to a close at Mid-Ohio, where Rasmussen began the race from the front position on the grid. Despite two instances of the safety car being deployed - the first due to Frost's spin and the second when HMD's Christian Bogle got stuck - Rasmussen's lead remained unaffected. He held onto his position until rain started falling toward the end of the race. A mistake on his part allowed Foster to overtake him. Simultaneously, the championship leader, Siegel, lost control of his car on the final lap, dropping from the top five to the 15th position. In the subsequent restart, Simpson managed to pass Rasmussen and secure second place. Foster maintained his position to claim his first victory, while Siegel's late error, combined with Rasmussen finishing in third place, reduced Siegel's lead in the championship to 17 points.




Indy NXT's first and only oval race took place at Iowa Speedway, with Abel claiming pole position. His lead lasted only two laps before Rasmussen took over. The overtake disrupted Abel's momentum, and he fell behind Siegel, engaging in a battle for third place with McElrea. Later in the race, McElrea began challenging Siegel for second place. Contact between their cars damaged Siegel's suspension, forcing him to pit. McElrea was subsequently overtaken by Rasmus Lindh of Juncos, while Abel closed in on Rasmussen. Although Abel was much faster than the race leader, he ran out of laps and finished second in a close photo finish, just 0.1 seconds behind. Rasmussen's win propelled him to a 22-point lead in the championship over Siegel.




Qualifying in Nashville got canceled due to unfavorable weather conditions, which meant Rasmussen began the race from the first position on the grid. He held onto his lead ahead of Siegel, while the latter dropped in the rankings. McElrea, who moved up to second place, couldn't keep pace with Rasmussen. Throughout the race, there were three instances where the safety car was deployed, but Rasmussen executed flawless restarts each time, maintaining his lead without any pressure from McElrea. He secured a victory from start to finish, extending his championship lead over Siegel, who finished in fifth place, by a margin of 44 points. Abel completed the podium after a lengthy battle with Foster, although their race was marred by contact that caused Foster to lose positions.




In the series' return to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, McElrea secured the top starting position. Foster advanced from behind Simpson to take third place and later moved into second place by overtaking his teammate James Roe Jr. by the end of the second lap. He closely followed McElrea until lap 27 when an attempt to pass resulted in contact, leading to Foster's retirement. This opened the door for Roe to regain second place, trailing the leader by only 6.5 seconds. Roe significantly closed the gap on the final lap and seemed ready to pass McElrea. However, McElrea defended vigorously as they entered turn one to maintain his lead and secure the victory. This victory moved McElrea into second place in the championship standings, 33 points behind Rasmussen, who faced difficulties and finished sixth.




The weekend at Gateway was impacted by heavy rain, resulting in the cancellation of qualifying and multiple hours of delay before the race. Rasmussen maintained his lead in the race, determined by entrant points, while Roe briefly moved up from sixth to second place before being overtaken again by McElrea, causing Roe to drop down the order. Traffic brought Rasmussen and McElrea into close competition, with McElrea making a smart move to take the lead when Rasmussen attempted to lap McElrea's teammate Jamie Chadwick. Rasmussen later used a similar maneuver to regain the lead when McElrea lapped Lindh. A late caution rekindled the battle for the remaining podium positions, with Foster finishing second ahead of McElrea. Rasmussen expanded his championship lead to 50 points.




The penultimate race took place at Portland International Raceway, where Foster secured pole position. The race began with a multi-car crash on the opening lap, involving championship leaders Rasmussen and McElrea. Juncos's Victor Franzoni locked up into turn one, colliding with Gold, leading to further contact and spins. Foster led after the restart, followed by Frost and Siegel, maintaining this order until the race's final stages. There, Siegel managed to overtake Frost to claim second place. Rasmussen, despite the crash, stayed on the lead lap and finished fifth, while McElrea came in 15th. This widened Rasmussen's lead to 65 points, while Siegel closed the gap to McElrea to just five points.




The season's final weekend at Laguna Seca saw McElrea and Rasmussen sharing pole positions. The early stages of the race were relatively uneventful, with McElrea leading Rasmussen. A safety car period, caused by Foster's retirement, bunched up the field, but the restart was short-lived before another caution. Two more cautions disrupted the race, which eventually ended under yellow flag conditions. Rasmussen, aware that he only needed to start the next race to secure the championship, chose not to challenge McElrea for the lead. McElrea was now 53 points behind Rasmussen, with Siegel a further 44 points back after retiring from the race.


Rasmussen became the inaugural Indy NXT champion by starting the final race of the season from pole position. He dominated the race, building a substantial lead over the rest of the field, which was nullified briefly by a safety car period due to Simpson and Gold colliding. Rasmussen quickly re-established his lead at the restart, lapping significantly faster than his competitors. By the end of the race, he had a 17-second lead. McElrea also faced little challenge from behind, as he built a 19-second gap to Foster in third place. Siegel finished seventh, securing third place in the standings, five points ahead of Foster, and also claiming the Rookie of the Year title.


Christian Rasmussen


After winning the USF 2000 and Indy Pro 2000 championship, the Dane Christian Rasmussen now also won the title in the Indy NXT Series in his second year. Considered, controlled and for long stretches almost inconspicuous, he succeeded in taking five pole positions, setting five fastest race laps and winning five races. He also finished on the podium three more times. With the exception of one race, he finished all of them in the top ten. A place in the Indy Car Series for next year would be more than deserved.


Hunter McElrea


In his second Indy NXT year, Hunter McElrea got more and more up to speed as the season progressed. In the first half of the season, the New Zealander once stood on the podium in third place. Then from Nashville on his year really started. Five podiums and two wins from the last six races secured him the runner-up title. With a better start to the year, even more would have been possible for him.


Louis Foster


The Briton also attracted attention several times in his second year in the United States. The 2022 Indy Pro 2000 champion won two races and was on the podium a further four times. With a little more consistency and fewer accidents, he probably would have won the Rookie of the Year title. In the coming season, Foster will be my main favorite to win the championship.


Nolan Siegel


The rookie of the year was surprisingly strong for me, especially at the beginning of the year. For a while he even led the championship. Siegel won two races in his first full Indy NXT season. He also finished second on the podium three more times and set two fastest race laps. Should he be back on the grid next year, Nolan will definitely be one of the favorites for the championship title.


Reece Gold


Another rookie who convinced me this season was Reece Gold. In a strong field of drivers, he managed to take his first win in his very first year. He also finished third on the podium in Indianapolis. I think he will definitely take another step in his second season and compete more regularly for wins and podiums.


P1: Christian Rasmussen / 539

P2: Hunter McElrea / 474

P3: Nolan Siegel / 415

P4: Louis Foster / 410

P5: Jacob Abel / 397

P6: Danial Frost / 361

P7: James Roe / 335

P8: Reece Gold / 334

P9: Ernie Francis Jr. / 300

P10: Kyffin Simpson / 283

P11: Christian Bogle / 266

P12: Jamie Chadwick / 262

P13: Jagger Jones / 241

P14: Rasmus Lindh / 210

P15: Josh Pierson / 173

P16: Matthew Brabham / 159

P17: Colin Kaminsky / 159

P18: Enaam Ahmed / 150

P19: Matteo Nannini / 146

P20: Josh Green / 119

P21: Victor Franzoni / 91

P22: Yuven Sundaramoorthy / 77

P23: Toby Sowery / 65

P24: Francesco Pizzi / 55

P25: Kiko Porto / 54


P1: HMD Motorsports with Dale Coyne Racing / 433

P2: Andretti Autosport / 364

P3: Abel Motorsports / 184

P4: Juncos Hollinger Racing / 144

P5: HMD Motorsports / 133

P6: HMD Motorsports with Force Indy / 113

P7: Cape Motorsports / 90

written by Claudio Graf  / 1st October, 2023