ABEL Motorsports holds points lead on a rough and tumble day in Detroit

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ABEL Motorsports holds points lead on a rough and tumble day in Detroit

– Jacob Abel brings the No. 51 home in fifth position to retain the points lead

– Yuven Sundaramoorthy holds the quickest race lap time for much of the race before a late incident puts him back in the field

DETROIT (2 June 2024) – At the end of a chaotic 500th INDY NXT by Firestone series race, ABEL Motorsports had retained the points lead and posted solid runs with both team entries in Sunday’s 45-lap Grand Prix of Detroit.

Jacob Abel (Louisville, Ky.) and Yuven Sundaramoorthy (Oconomowoc, Wis.) both endured incidents on track that left their respective Dallaras with damage, but each driver fought hard to the end, with Sundaramoorthy coming home in 14th and Abel in fifth – retaining the championship lead by 25 points over race winner Louis Foster.

Abel started on the front row for the fifth straight race, while Sundaramoorthy took the green in a season-high fourth. Abel held off the cars behind who tried to go three-wide through the turn 1 hairpin but on lap two, Caio Collett was able to make the inside pass stick, with Abel slotting right behind in third.

Sundaramoorthy jumped on the throttle through the first three corners, taking seventh by laps end. But on lap three, a car hard into the Turn 7 wall brought out the race’s first yellow.

Going green once again on lap nine, another three-wide group of cars through Turn 1 saw Sundaramoorthy stuck on the inside of Callum Hedge and slide back to eighth – but only momentarily, as a car ahead went into the turn 1 runoff. Meanwhile, Abel held his position and managed his push-to-pass ahead of Michael d’Orlando behind.

On lap 20, d’Orlando moved alongside, and as the pair went down the back straight side-by-side, d’Orlando spun, catching Abel’s left rear wheel and sending the No. 51 sideways. Abel kept his composure as the ABEL team confirmed to him that the tire was fine, though Abel was left with a resulting shift in balance that caused an increase in rear tire wear. He held onto third while Sundaramoorthy took advantage of the slowdown behind them to take sixth as the yellow came out.

On the restart, Abel continued to fight the balance issue, finding himself pinwheeled through the hairpin back into fourth. Sundaramoorthy tried to follow his teammate through turn 4 but tagged the car ahead and damaged his front wing, sending him back to ninth.

Nursing his damaged car, Abel couldn’t hold off Myles Rowe and fell to fifth, while Sundaramoorthy, with the damaged front wing affecting aero, went into the turn 1 runoff, coming back on track a lap down. A late incident ended the race under caution, with Abel fifth and Sundaramoorthy in 14th.

For ABEL Motorsports team manager John Brunner, the hectic race was as expected, given Detroit’s tight corners – but he takes away many more positives than negatives at the end of the race weekend.

“There aren’t many places to pass here so drivers have to be aggressive,” said Brunner. “Yes, we’re disappointed, but that’s what happens when you finish on the podium in every race up to this point – so if this turns out to be our worst race, we’re in for a pretty good year. Yuven drove an outstanding race, just one mistake that ruined his day, but other than that, the run he had throughout the day was outstanding. He did a really, really good job out there. Yes, Jacob had a tough run, but a lot of teams had a worse day than that.
And we’re still leading the championship.”

While both drivers were disappointed, both were also happy to leave the streets of Detroit with cars
engendering limited damage.

“We lacked a bit of pace, but I was also driving too conservatively,” said Abel. “The other drivers were more aggressive and took advantage of the situations better than I did, so there’s no reason we shouldn’t have been on the podium. But we finished in the top five and still have the points lead with a bit of damage, but we still brought it home. I was lucky in the incident with Michael to come away with minimal damage, but I did really have to hang onto it there through the end.”

“We were fast, the team gave me a great car,” said Sundaramoorthy. “Hopefully this speed translates going forward. But I feel bad that I gave it up there. I should have defended better but when I lost the position to Hedge, I got really mad at myself and made a move that probably wasn’t there, so I feel bad for Jamie. I’m going to have to just put that behind me as I head to my home race (at Road America).”

Abel’s No. 51 Dallara sported a new color scheme this weekend that represents the new BlueOval SK pair of facilities: a six square mile auto production complex in Tennessee and a pair of plants in Kentucky that will manufacture the next generation of electric vehicle batteries. The BlueOval SK Battery Park in Glendale, Ky. is ABEL Construction Company’s largest project to date.

ABEL Motorsports thanks partners ABEL Construction Company, Advance Ready Mix, Boyd Cat®, S Team Motorsports and OMP for their continued support.

Next up for ABEL Motorsports and the INDY NXT by Firestone will be the Grand Prix at Road America, June 9 at 1:05 p.m. ET. The race will be streamed live in the U.S. on Peacock, while international viewers can watch via INDYCARLIVE, with INDYCAR Radio available at indycar.com and on Sirius XM.