Mixed Fortunes for ABEL Motorsports in Monterey

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Mixed Fortunes for ABEL Motorsports in Monterey

MONTEREY, Calif. (June 23, 2024) – After 35 laps of hard-fought INDY NXT by Firestone competition on the fabled WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca, ABEL Motorsports driver Yuven Sundaramoorthy (No. 22 S Team Motorsports) finished fourth, with his teammate Jacob Abel (No. 51 ABEL Construction) coming home 11th after a frustrating late race penalty on Sunday.

The duo was looking to back up their solid points-paying run from Saturday, where Abel notched another podium run with a third-place result, as Sundaramoorthy capped a career-best fourth.

Abel took the green from fourth on the grid and slotted into position in the early stages of the race. When a caution came out on lap 16, which bunched up the field, Abel looked to find a way back to the podium. The restart offered little opportunity for progression, but Abel continued to stalk the third-place runner lap after lap, while also keeping as much of a reserve of both push-to-pass and Firestone tire life as he could preserve on the recently repaved circuit.

On lap 28, Abel had a strong run up the long hill that leads to the Corkscrew, making the inside move on Reese Gold going into the turn 8 section. But Gold held firm as the duo made contact atop the circuit, sending Gold briefly off track.

The incident looked to be side-to-side contact, but INDYCAR race officials were swift to ascertain that Abel owed a drive-through penalty for the incident, dropping him from podium contention to rejoin the pack 13th. He was able to recover two spots in the final laps of the race but was classified a frustrating 11th at the finish.

For teammate Sundaramoorthy, the second race marked yet more progress and confidence from the young rookie as he drove a heady race to move from sixth at the start to fourth at the finish, matching his career-best result from Saturday and adding to his continued upward trajectory in INDY NXT competition.

“I was happy with the race, and I think we got everything we could out of the car,” said Sundaramoorthy, who recently closed out his SAE engineering career with Wisconsin, earning an impressive third place result in the electric car competition. “We were on old tires and everyone around us was on new tires, but I think we were still paced in the field pretty much, so I was happy with it. I got close to Bryce Aron (in third) a couple of times, but it’s just it’s so hard with the (aero) wash here. He drove a great race; he really made no mistakes. You need a mistake here to make a move and I didn’t get anything out of him there. So overall, really happy with this weekend and very eager to get back to racing at Mid-Ohio in a couple of weeks!”

“We were way faster than Reese and in retrospect, I probably should have been a little bit more patient, but this track is impossible to pass on,” said Abel. “So I was just trying to make the move whenever I could. The move was really similar to what happened to me yesterday, and I feel like if Reese wanted to back out of it, he very easily could, but he chose to just completely turn into me. And that kind of wrecked him so I think that’s why the penalty was called, so it was very frustrating. But we will move forward, we’ve got some ground to make up now and that’s our full push – to make the most of the next few weekends here in the championship.”

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 Grand Prix at Mid-Ohio, Sunday, July 7 at 11:15 a.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.