Louis Foster set the fastest lap of the race in his Indy NXT oval debut at Iowa.
The Andretti Autosport driver faced a tough baptism of fire racing at Iowa Speedway for the first time in just the third oval event of his career, having switched from European-based racing to the US last year when he won the prestigious Indy Pro 2000 title at the first attempt.
He also won his first ever oval race last year, but Iowa was always going to provide an uphill challenge with the bumpy and rough surface making success at the venue a real art.
Foster - driving the #26 Copart/USF Pro Championship car - was fifth in practice and qualified sixth in a tricky qualifying where a number of cars were able to go after Foster in the queue.
In the race, Foster made a great start and moved up to P5 where he sat running comfortably behind the pack leaving a gap to ensure tyre management. After a third of the race Foster experienced a significant reduction of rear grip and from that point on it was damage limitation. Foster was really pleased to bring the car home in P7 considering the challenging circumstances.
“Seventh isn’t where we aim for at the start of a weekend, but there were positives to take from the weekend as a whole,” said Foster.
“It was only my third oval race and Indy NXT is really competitive, it was always going to be one of the biggest challenges of the second part of the season to come here and be competitive.
“To set the fastest lap was a highlight, but we lost rear grip in the car and that meant it was tough to keep up with the pack and once you’re disconnected from it, it’s really tough to get back up there.
“As always, we’ll crunch the data and do our very best to understand everything that’s happened this weekend to make a step forward in the future.
“We race at Gateway later in the year, another short oval, and while that’s really different in characteristics, I think we can take some of what we’ve learned here to be even better there.”
The next race is at Nashville, a street circuit, which will be another new venue for Foster but he’s been strong on road and street circuits since he came to America.
“The championship fight is still on, and I’m looking forward to getting to Nashville where the approach will be a bit more familiar,” he said.
“We’ve been on pole for all of the street course races so far this year so the aim is certainly to go there and do the same and reduce the gap to the lead of the championship.
“There are six races left and I’m hopeful that we can put together a really good challenge.
"We know our Andretti team is really strong and continues to work so hard to get me more comfortable here, so I have to say a big thank you to them and we’ll keep doubling our efforts to achieve more.”