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  • Writer's pictureVIVIEN STREBELOW

Jamie Chadwick secures first Podium in Indy NXT at Indianapolis

"The No. 28 team and I have been working so hard this season and after the last two races, it’s exciting to finally get this one in the bag." - Jamie Chadwick has shined through the Indy NXT double header at Indianapolis and scored the first podium in the series - and became the first woman to do so since Pippa Mann in 2010.

Jamie Chadwick, Andretti Autosport, Indy NXT, 2024, Indianapolis Motor Speedway
Photo by Penske Entertainment / Chris Jones

The Sonsio Grand Prix at the Indianapolis Road Course kicked off the always action-packed month of May at the Speedway, as Indycar gears up for its biggest event of the year. The road course layout at Indianapolis also hosts the third and fourth round of the IndyNXT season, with a double header following the first races at St Petersburg and Barber Motorsports Park.

Jamie Chadwick was back behind the wheel of her Dallara IL-15 - the former looking for redemption after a stellar round in Alabama which ultimately went unrewarded, as the British racer went off in the closing laps after running arguably her best race in the series close to a top five finish.

The three-time W Series champion, now in her second season in IndyNXT, is in fact showing huge steps forward: from improved qualifying to great race pace, only bad luck has prevented the driver of the #28 Andretti Autosport machine to finish among the front runners in 2024. Yet, returning at Indianapolis offered her a great chance on a circuit where she had a very strong run last year: her second half of the race almost represented a turning point in her rookie campaign, as Chadwick showed great pace and made good passes for position.

"The Indianapolis road course is a track that feels a bit more like home now having raced there before and it being so close to our team’s shop", Jamie commented before the weekend. "It’s a special opportunity for any team to race on this track, and I can’t wait to do it again. I think there’s a great opportunity to push for some good results this weekend", she explained.

The practice session was led by championship leader Nolan Siegel, ahead of Louis Foster and Bryce Aron, who was also the fastest rookie. Just like at Barber, Jamie Chadwick's speed was evident from early on in the weekend: she was 6th fastest, less than four tenths off the top of the timing sheets.

The qualifying session followed on the same day; Jacob Abel took pole position after being fastest in the second qualifying group - and his second best lap was also enough to claim the top spot in the second race of the weekend. He preceded Caio Collet - who led the first group - and James Roe. The order of the first nine places was unchanged for race 2.

Jamie Chadwick had one of her best qualifying sessions to date: she ran at the front in group 1, held provisional pole for a while, then improved again on her final run to set a 1:15.1588 that placed her third in the group, 0.046 of a second from the front row. The qualifying format eventually meant that she would line up on the third row, sixth for both races.

Jamie Chadwick, Andretti Autosport, Indy NXT, 2024, Indianapolis Motor Speedway
Photo by Penske Entertainment / Karl Zemlin
Race 1

Abel took off from pole and held on to the first position as he entered turn 1. Jamie Chadwick was able to gain a position in the starting phase to move up to fifth.

The mid-field was less lucky and there was some chaos with a few cars going off; Jamie, though, was able to hold on to P5 and focused ahead.

Things heated up in the leading pack, as Foster made contact with Collet - and the Brazilian driver picked up a puncture and ultimately slided into a spin. Chadwick seized the opportunity and was through, securing fourth place on lap 4.

Abel meanwhile was able to pull away into a five second advantage, as Foster had damage from his previous contact with Collet. Despite a swinging front wing, he tried to defend from Siegel and Chadwick, who were putting pressure right on his tail; the Briton couldn't hold Siegel for long and eventually had to pit on lap 9 for a new front wing. Jamie therefore moved up into third place - and was also faster than the cars behind her.

In the leading pack, Jamie extended her gap by setting fast lap times, also making the most of a series of battles behind her. A full course caution was deployed with 14 laps which neutralized all the advantage that the top three had built in the first part of the race.

The race was about to go back to green with 11 laps to go but D'Orlando hit and spun around De Alba at turn 13 just before the green flag, which postponed the restart.

As the action finally resumed, Abel had a clean restart with Siegel and Chadwick right behind; Jamie defended well into turn 1 against Callum Hedge, before slightly pulling away once again - until another caution was out when Jordan Missig hit the wall at turn 7.

Jamie would need to survive one more restart with 3 laps to go - and she did manage to stay ahead of Hedge at turn 1, then closed in on Abel and Siegel as the latter had a strong restart and tried to attack Abel. Jamie was less than a second behind and was ready to pick up the pieces when the white flag fell.

Jacob Abel held off the late attacks of Nolan Siegel to win race 1 - but it would be Jamie Chadwick to make history as she crossed the finish line in third. It was a career best, her first podium, and the first podium of a female driver since 2010, when Pippa Mann won in the Indy NXT series at Kentucky Speedway.

"I’m honestly super happy", Jamie commented after the historic result. "We've had good pace all day, so to be able to convert it into a podium result is just such a great feeling."

"The No. 28 team and I have been working so hard this season and after the last two races, it’s exciting to finally get this one in the bag. On to tomorrow!"

Jamie Chadwick, Andretti Autosport, Indy NXT, 2024, Indianapolis Motor Speedway
Photo by Penske Entertainment: James Black
Race 2

On Saturday, Abel was starting again from pole - but was quickly caught by Collet who snatched the lead in the opening lap and pulled away from the rest of the field. Foster, meanwhile, was coming from fourth on the grid and passed Abel for second on lap 11 before he continued to hunt down the race leader.

Foster made a move on lap 14, went side by side with Collet - but the latter defended well and the Andretti driver would need another attempt on lap 24, although again Collet shut the door. Meanwhile Abel had worked his way back into the fight for the win. With more push to pass left for the closing laps of the race, Abel made a pass for second on lap 26 and hunted down Foster for the lead. However, Foster was quicker and was unchallenged, taking his first victory in the series ahead of Abel and Collet.

From sixth on the grid, Jamie Chadwick had another stellar start of the race: she soon gained two positions on the first lap and then kept up the pace with Collet, Abel and Foster throughout the first lap. She ran her fastest lap on lap 4, when she further closed in on the leaders and was eyeing looking to join the battle at the front once again - and her pace surely suggested that she could have contested for a podium again.

Chadwick opened a gap to fifth-placed James Roe and was never under threat, but rather focusing ahead; unfortunately, she was hit by technical problems and lost power on lap 14, as her #28 machine lost a couple of positions. One lap later, Chadwick dropped down the order, mentioning gearbox issues.

While a DNF was looking inevitable, she continued to push and tried to salvage the best possible result in the circumstances. On lap 32 she even made a pass for position on Miller and eventually took the chequered flag in P16.

"Today was super frustrating", Jamie commented. "We had a good one going in the beginning of the race, but then some electrical issues came up and that meant that we couldn't really progress anymore."

"I stuck it out until the end, but I still feel a bit gutted to lose what would have been, I think, maybe a top-five or maybe another podium finish today", she continued. "So, great weekend as a whole, but a bit of a bittersweet ending."

Despite the unlucky second race, Chadwick collected a good haul of points and now sits P13 in the championship standings, with 69 points.

The next race will take place on 2nd June on the streets of downtown Detroit; the circuit represented another important step in Chadwick's last season progression, as she ran competitively in the top 10 for the first time. She will therefore aim to carry momentum on tracks she now has experience on and to keep racing at the front with consistency.  

Jamie Chadwick, Andretti Autosport, Indy NXT, 2024, Indianapolis Motor Speedway
Photo by Penske Entertainment / Karl Zemlin



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