ABEL Motorsports heads to Iowa for the first INDY NXT oval of the season

Strong Silverstone weekend as Crawford back on F2 podium
July 8, 2024
Meyer Shank Racing Heads Back to Oval Competition for Doubleheader at Iowa Speedway
July 9, 2024
Show all

ABEL Motorsports heads to Iowa for the first INDY NXT oval of the season

West Allis, WI - Open Test for the INDY NXT by Firestone Series at the Milwuakee Mile at the Wisconsin State Fair Park. (Photo by Chris Jones | IMS Photo)

– Jacob Abel aims to repeat last year’s pole-winning performance

– USAC star Taylor Ferns makes her INDY NXT debut

– Yuven Sundaramoorthy looks to continue his recent pace on his first series oval

SPEEDWAY, Ind. (July 8 2024) – They may be approaching the weekend from different angles, but all three ABEL Motorsports INDY NXT by Firestone drivers have been eagerly anticipating the first oval race of the season, the Iowa 100 at Iowa Speedway.

Jacob Abel (Louisville, Ky.) looks to repeat last year’s pole winning performance, while Yuven Sundaramoorthy (Oconomowoc, Wis.) races his INDY NXT Dallara on an oval for the first time – and USAC sprint car and Silver Crown star Taylor Ferns (Shelby Township, Mich.) makes her series debut, at the same track where she made her Silver Crown debut at the age of 16.

Weather prevented the INDY NXT field from testing at Iowa last month, so Ferns and Sundaramoorthy come to the .875-mile tri-oval with just the series test on the Milwaukee Mile under their belts – though INDYCAR has given the drivers an additional 30 minutes of practice on Friday, for a total of 75 minutes. But for experienced drivers like Abel, Iowa Speedway’s first repave since the track was built in 2006 adds one more variable to the equation.

“We didn’t get to test at Iowa with the new surface, which is going to be very different from previous years, based on what we saw at the NTT INDYCAR SERIES test,” said Abel, who finished second in last year’s INDY NXT Iowa 100 to eventual series champion Christian Rasmussen in 2023. “It will come down to whichever team adapts the quickest – and I feel confident in my ability and the ability of the team to do that. It’s somewhere I can leverage my experience, especially in traffic: because even if you start on pole, you’re going to catch traffic within 10 or 15 laps and be in traffic the entire race. So that’s going to be the key, rather than optimizing single lap qualifying speed.”

“Nothing is really the same between Milwaukee and Iowa,” said Sundaramoorthy. “It looks as though Iowa will be flat all the way around, but it’s going to be a ‘racing’ race, which is good. That will make the racing interesting. The key will be deciding what we want to do with set up, and we only have 75 minutes to figure that out.”

The Iowa race marks the first INDY NXT race for Ferns, but not her first race at Iowa Speedway. Ferns made her USAC Silver Crown debut at the track in 2012 at the age of 16 and earned a top 10 finish.

“The biggest things I remember are – I was only 16, and at 100 laps, that was the longest race I’d ever done,” said Ferns. “I’d just gotten my street driver’s license, and there I was, racing with the big boys. We knew that we could have a good finish if we completed all the laps and continued to improve, so that was goals box, checked.”

With a test day at Milwaukee last month behind her, Ferns is ready to continue the admittedly significant learning curve.

“There’s so much that I’m looking forward to,” said Ferns. “The strategy, how the race evolves as the laps go on, learning more about the cars. When I started racing USAC at age 12, it was split evenly between pavement and dirt and that taught me at a young age to be a diverse driver. Testing the INDY NXT car was like the first day at school, starting slow and building a steady progression through the day. When I left Milwaukee, I knew what I needed to work on, especially in terms of throttle control and corner timing – and I spent a good deal of time talking to drivers who have done this, like Kody Swanson and Jacob Wilson. While I wasn’t happy with my times from that test, I know there’s more in both me and the car.”

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

The INDY NXT by Firestone’s Iowa 100 takes the green flag Saturday at 2:05 p.m. Eastern. The race will be streamed live in the U.S. on Peacock, while international viewers can watch via INDYCARLIVE.com with INDYCAR Radio available at indycar.com/radio and on Sirius XM.