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  • Writer's pictureVIVIEN STREBELOW

Indy NXT: Jamie Chadwick recovers to top-10 finish at Mid-Ohio

"An unfortunate start set us back today but we made some good progress there as we went" - While a first-lap contact that ultimately hindered her chances of finishing among the front runners, Jamie Chadwick put on a solid recovery drive and, with great pace, she ultimately secured her fifth top-ten finish of the season at Mid Ohio Sports Car Course.

Photo credits: Penske Entertainment / Paul Hurley

IndyNXT race winner Jamie Chadwick was the protagonist of a solid recovery at Mid Ohio Sports Car Course, which hosted the ninth round of the 2024 championship. The Andretti Autosport driver, who had shown promising speed throughout the weekend, had a tricky qualifying session. Starting a bit out of position, she was involved in a first-lap contact that ultimately hindered her chances of finishing among the front runners.

Nevertheless, Chadwick's racecraft and impressive pace in the second part of the race saw the British driver making her way up the order and clinching a still positive top ten, making the most out of the circumstances to salvage good points for the championship.

The Mid-Ohio weekend started with bad news for the other female racer in the field, as Juncos Hollinger announced that Lindsay Brewer would not be in the driving seat due to funding issues. Jamie Chadwick was therefore the only female racer at the INDY NXT By Firestone Grand Prix at Mid-Ohio.

“I think Mid-Ohio will be a unique challenge this year", Jamie said before the event. "The whole track has been resurfaced again, so that's just going to add grip and speed. It’s a really physical circuit with a good mix of high and low-speed corners, but it’s also a track where I felt like I had a good breakthrough race last year", she continued. "I’m really looking forward to heading back there and taking on that race again.”

Chadwick had in fact scored her career-first top ten in Indy NXT in last year's edition of the race. Since then, Jamie has made strides, collecting one race win, one podium, and four top-ten finishes on road courses.

Her experience was again on display early in the weekend, as she was soon up to speed in the first practice session, setting the sixth fastest time in 1:11.9522, half a second from pace setter Caio Collet. The Brazilian would finish both practice sessions on top of the leaderboard.

In a slightly more troubled second session, Chadwick had a small off and could only finish 13th fastest - in a very close field that saw the entire 19-car field within 1.7 seconds.

However, the driver of the #28 Andretti machine was again in strong form for qualifying, where she ran solid laps in the second group.

With a new track record, Collet - also in Group 2 - was unchallenged for his first pole position in Indy NXT, displacing Louis Foster to second place as the latter had previously topped the first qualifying group. Jamie Chadwick put in some clean laps and was sixth in her group but couldn't quite capitalize on her speed and would be starting the race from 11th place on Sunday.

“I’m a little disappointed considering how close it all ended up being", she explained. "I think we missed a little bit of balance. Putting it together would have been important today", she continued, aware of the nature of the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, a circuit where passing can be tricky. "So, not thrilled with today’s performance, but I think we can hopefully work hard tonight and have a good race car for tomorrow.”

Photo credits: Penske Entertainment / Travis Hinkle

Caio Collet claimed his maiden victory on Sunday, wrapping up a perfect weekend after he topped every session of the race meeting, including a trouble-free race.

There was drama, however, a bit further down the field: on the first lap, four cars made contact in turn four. Jordan Missing (Abel Motorsports), Bryce Aron (Andretti Global), Jack Williams Miller (Miller Vinatieri Racing), and Jamie Chadwick were engaged in a close battle. A chain reaction saw Chadwick being squeezed and tagged into the path of her teammate Aron, with all drivers ending in the gravel. Chadwick and Miller were luckily able to continue the race albeit from the back of the pack, as the pace car bunched up the field to recover the other two stranded cars.

The restart took place on lap 4, with Collet still leading the pack and pulling away quickly. In an uninterrupted race until the chequered flag, the Brazilian won unchallenged ahead of Foster, over 6 seconds adrift, and Abel in third.

While positions ahead remained unchanged, it would be Jamie Chadwick to provide the most exciting action: having dropped to P16 after the opening lap contact, Jamie started a remarkable recovery drive and picked up one position on the first green flag lap. By lap 8, she had already made her way back to P13 after passing James Roe with a bold move and Salvador de Alba.

On lap 10, Chadwick capitalized on attrition ahead to leapfrog Yuven Sundaramoorthy and, with strong pace and determined moves, had already reclaimed her starting position.

In clear air, Jamie showcased strong race pace and continuously improved her personal best times, often on par with the leading drivers. The gap to the rest of the pack, however, meant that she would need a caution to catch back and challenge the drivers ahead.

The race went on uninterrupted until the end, but Chadwick kept her head down and on lap 32, she set the fastest lap of the race up until that point.

The gap to tenth-placed Christian Bogle continued to reduce steadily and, fast lap after fast lap, Jamie put her competitor in her target.

When she had almost obliterated the margin, a small mistake saw Chadwick losing a couple of seconds - but she immediately bounced back with the fastest lap and, on lap 33, she grabbed the tenth spot with just two laps to go.

Despite the challenging start of the race, Chadwick's pace allowed her to make up ground and salvage a top ten, her fifth of the season so far, in a bittersweet round.

“I have mixed feelings about today", she stated. "We dropped back at the very start and our race was kind of done after that."

"We came through and had good pace, but I made a little mistake at the end that prevented us from getting further forward. So, an unfortunate start set us back today but we made some good progress there as we went.”

The 20 points collected at Mid-Ohio, however, meant that Chadwick retained sixth place in the championship standings, just one point behind Reece Gold and a handful of points off fourth-placed Hedge.

The next chance for Jamie Chadwick will take place at the first oval race of the season at Iowa on the 13th of July. Jamie will be joined on the grid by fellow female racer Taylor Ferns, in an Abel Motorsports entry.

Photo credits: Penske Entertainment / James Black



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