Andretti Autosport’s Louis Foster claimed his first Indy NXT win of the season in a breakthrough performance at Mid-Ohio which included a stunning late overtake for victory.
Reigning Indy Pro 2000 champion Foster entered Mid-Ohio having been on pole position for half of the races so far in 2023, but multiple factors outside of his control had halted his race charges. Foster - driver of the #26 Copart/USF Pro Championship car - finished fourth in both practice sessions on the twisty and undulating Mid-Ohio road course before qualifying on the front row for the race. Despite changeable conditions, Foster held his second place and bided his time until lap 27 of the 35-lap race when he pulled off an absolutely spectacular move at Turn 4 to take the lead. With light rain making every corner a potential hazard zone - and a late caution flag bunching up the field to contend with - Foster showed race management beyond his years to seal Andretti’s first win of the year as well as his own.
“It’s been a long time coming, for sure,” said Foster, who is backed by Copart, a global leader in online auto auctions.
“I’m so thankful to get it, finally.
“I have to thank everyone at Andretti for their support and the fast race cars we’ve put on pole a lot this year. We’ve continued to work hard and never gave up in the races and today is a symptom of that hard work of everyone at the track and back at the Andretti base.
“It’s still only our second year racing full-time in the US, so I have to thank Copart and all my sponsors too for putting us in the position to be here and to make this result possible.”
The result puts Foster fourth in the championship standings at the halfway point of the year, 42 points off the top spot. The overtake for the lead was without doubt the standout moment of the Mid-Ohio race, as a locked front-right tyre sent smoke billowing into the air and it took every ounce of ability for Foster to keep his car off the treacherous wet grass on the outside of the corner to make the move stick.
“I think it was starting to rain a little bit or something,” said Foster. “It was slicker in the back part of the track. That made Christian [Rasmussen, erstwhile leader] make a mistake and then (the hard braking approaching Turn 4) destroyed my front right (tyre).
“Going down the straights, the car was shaking.”
The next race is at Iowa Speedway, on a short oval.
Foster won on his first ever oval race in Indy Pro 2000 last year but Iowa will be a tougher test where his competitors generally have much more oval experience than he has and the threat of tyre degradation is huge at the banked track. Iowa is quickly followed by Nashville’s street circuit and the Indy road course, so Foster is hoping momentum will continue to carry him up the standings in a busy period for driver and team.