PORTLAND, Ore. - Avoiding the first-lap melee, Louis Foster started from pole position and kept his No. 26 Copart/USF Pro Championship Dallara upfront, leading all 35 laps to win the INDY NXT by Firestone Grand Prix of Portland at Portland International Raceway.
The 20-year-old Andretti Autosport driver was unchallenged, defeating HMD Motorsports with DCR’s Nolan Siegel by 7.8583 seconds. This is Foster’s second win of the year after taking his first career INDY NXT victory at Mid-Ohio in early July.
“The boys gave me an amazing car,” Foster said. “I can’t thank them enough. I was just turning laps out there, to be honest. Once I had a comfortable gap that I knew I couldn’t be closed down from, I was just saving my tires, to be honest. I’m really looking forward to Laguna next weekend now.”
Siegel and Danial Frost completed the podium at PIR. On the final lap, Siegel made an aggressive move on Frost in the Shelton Chicane to take the runner-up position.
He capitalized on the disappointing day for the top-three drivers in points entering the day. Siegel heads into next weekend’s doubleheader season finale at Laguna Seca third in points, moving up one position after Portland.
In the closing laps, Jagger Jones was in a position to pick up his second top-five of 2023, but contact with Christian Bogle sent the No. 98 Cape Motorsport/Total Sim Mecum Auction Dallara sliding through the grass. Despite the damage on Bogle’s front wing, race control penalized Jones, who ended up finishing 12th.
On Lap 1, the typical Portland chaos emerged heading into the Shelton Chicane in a pileup that saw championship leader Christian Rasmussen get caught up in it. Juncos Hollinger Racing’s Victor Franzoni got into the back of Reece Gold entering Turn 1, who sent Rasmussen’s No. 6 Dallara spinning.
This incident also collected drivers who entered Portland second and third in points, Hunter McElrea and Jacob Abel. Kyffin Simpson and Josh Pierson were also involved.
Race control initially deemed Gold at fault for the incident by issuing a penalty for avoidable contact, before reviewing the incident and rescinding the penalty. Instead, Franzoni had to come to pit road for a stop-and-hold after causing the multi-car wreck on the opening lap.
Rasmussen was able to salvage a good points day after the contact, bringing his No. 6 HMD Motorsports with DCR car home in fifth place in a solid comeback drive. Meanwhile, McElrea and Abel were not so lucky as both finished 15th and 16th.
“Wow – good recovery,” Rasmussen said. “That’s all I can ask for today, extending the championship lead going into Laguna.
“Very happy about that. We just basically have to finish the races at Laguna, and we’re champions.”
The 2023 INDY NXT by Firestone season concludes next weekend with a pair of races at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca. Both races on Saturday, Sept. 9 (3:25 p.m. ET) and Sunday, Sept. 10 (12:50 p.m. ET) can be viewed on Peacock.
Rasmussen heads into the season finale with a 65-point advantage over McElrea. If the 23-year-old Danish racing driver can finish Saturday’s race with 54 or more points ahead, he will clinch this year’s INDY NXT by Firestone title.
Results: 2023 INDY NXT by Firestone Grand Prix of Portland at Portland International Raceway
(26) Louis Foster (R), Andretti Autosport/Copart USF Pro Championship-Dallara, Running
(39) Nolan Siegel (R), HMD Motorsports with DCR-Dallara, Running
(68) Danial Frost, HMD Motorsports with DCR-Dallara, Running
(7) Christian Bogle, HMD Motorsports with DCR-Dallara, Running
(6) Christian Rasmussen, HMD Motorsports with DCR-Dallara, Running
(28) Jamie Chadwick (R), Andretti Autosport/DHL-Dallara, Running
(99) Ernie Francis Jr., HMD Motorsports with Force Indy-Dallara, Running
(29) James Roe, Andretti Autosport/Topcon-Dallara, Running
(76) Matthew Brabham, Juncos Hollinger Racing-Dallara, Running
(57) Yuven Sundaramoorthy (R), Abel Motorsports-Dallara, Running
(75) Victor Franzoni, Juncos Hollinger Racing-Dallara, Running
(98) Jagger Jones (R), Cape Motorsport/Total Sim Mecum Auction-Dallara, Running
(21) Kyffin Simpson, HMD Motorsports with CGR-Dallara, Running
(10) Reece Gold (R), HMD Motorsports with DCR-Dallara, Running
(27) Hunter McElrea, Andretti Autosport/Smart Motors-Dallara, Contact
(51) Jacob Abel, Abel Motorsports-Dallara, Contact
(14) Josh Pierson (R), HMD Motorsports with ECR-Dallara, Contact