ABEL Motorsports Take Third and Fourth in Grand Prix of Monterey

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ABEL Motorsports Take Third and Fourth in Grand Prix of Monterey

Monterey, Calif (June 22, 2024) – After a dramatic final lap of the Grand Prix of Monterey, ABEL Motorsports finished third and fourth at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca on Saturday.

Jacob Abel (No. 51 ABEL Construction) finished third and Yuven Sundaramoorthy (No. 22 S Team Motorsports) came home in fourth on the California circuit, which marked round seven of the 2024 INDY NXT by Firestone season. The duo will be in race action again on Sunday to close out the double-header event weekend.

The 35-lap race at Weathertech Raceway Laguna Seca got off to a rapid start for both ABEL Motorsports drivers as Abel held on to third and Sundaramoorthy moved up to fourth from his sixth-place starting position in the opening stanza of the race. A lap six caution slowed the field briefly, but the pace picked up as the race went back to green just two laps later.

The 2.2-mile circuit, which features a brand-new racing surface, has long had a reputation for being tough on tires and even with the new pavement, that proved to be true as the field had to make good decisions to balance pace with tire degradation on the Firestones as they navigated a 24-lap all green flag run to the finish.

The race weekend marked the first INDY NXT event that young Sundaramoorthy had previous INDY NXT race experience, and that showed as the rookie runner pressured Abel for the final podium position, securing the spot late in the race with a confident move in the tight Corkscrew corner at the top of the track.

But his debut INDY NXT podium hopes were dashed when he had contact with a lapped car on the final corner on the last lap of the race, causing significant damage to the right front of the machine. Fortunately, he was able to keep his foot in it and safely guide the car to the start finish line before pulling off track due to the damage.

“She braked at about the 5 marker, so I thought she was letting me by, as she was a lap or two down, but then I don’t know what happened because she turned into me and I lost pretty much all my steering,” said Sundaramoorthy. “I’m just gutted for the team because in the end, it was my fault.”

Having shown good pace with his best-ever INDY NXT qualifying result so far, Sundaramoorthy is hoping to continue that positive progress in race two on Sunday.

“Yes we have had good pace all year long, but just have been really unlucky,” said Sundaramoorthy. “We had a good battle with Jacob (Abel) and I was really looking good for a podium but just some bad racing luck there. But I think we can keep building from here for sure and tomorrow is another day and another race for us to go for it.”

The Laguna outing has featured mixed fortunes for Abel, who entered the event with a points advantage after breaking through with victories at Barber Motorsports Park and the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

“Yuven made a good move on me – it was very aggressive, a little bit more aggressive than I probably thought he was going be to me, but it was a great move nonetheless,” said Abel about the inter-team battle for third. “But they were just a bit faster than us today. We started on new tires but they fell off a lot. But we will take this podium and keep moving forward with the championship to make the most of every chance we have.”

Race two will be aired on Peacock at 4:00 PM ET on Sunday.