Round two of the INDY NXT by Firestone race took place from the 28th to the 30th May 2023 with Toby Sowery taking a podium on his first return to the series since 2021.
As part of a 5 race program with HMD Motorsports / Dale Coyne Racing, Toby delivered an impressive performance at Barber Motorsport Park with consistently fast sessions throughout the weekend, resulting in a podium finish and narrowly missing out on a new lap record during the race at the Alabama based track.
Quickly adapting to the new format and Firestone tyres, the weekend started with strong results. Toby made an immediate impact delivering the 4th fastest (01:11.7539) lap during FP1. With no testing in the HMD Motorsports with Dale Coyne Racing car, Sowery and his team had just two practice sessions to make changes to his car. The 26-year-old from Cambridge, UK went out in FP2 and gained valuable seat time around the 17-turn, 2.3- mile circuit, finishing the session with an improved lap time of 1:11.280.
Saturday’s qualifying session took place under good conditions with the new format allowing for just an 8-minute window. This lead to some challenges for Toby Sowery, particularly in the later laps of the session where he was held up and unable to deliver a full pace qualifying lap. Despite this he qualified 5th for the race with a time of 1:11.08.
Race day delivered exciting racing from the start with Toby working his way forward after slight contact between HMD Motorsports teammate Kyffin Simpson and a fellow competitor. On lap seven Toby took a quick trip through the grass, but quickly rejoined the field in sixth and made quick work to get back and fight for position.
By the halfway point Toby was in sixth hunting down his HMD teammates, Frost and Green. Unfortunately two drivers made contact and bought out a caution period.
On the restart, with half the race remaining, Sowery moved up to fifth and continued to look aggressive, later securing a podium position. With less than 10 laps remaining, the race was halted for a crash that eventually bought out a red flag for extended clean-up. On the restart, Toby held the final podium position and started to reel in Siegel for second. When the chequered flag drop Toby had taken P3 securing his first podium of the season.
Toby returns to the Indy NXT by Firestone series on the 2nd to 4th of June on the Streets of Detroit.
“It was great to be back in the IndyNXT paddock with HMD Motorsport / Dayle Coyne Racing. Overall I am happy with the weekend. I managed to get up to speed quickly and get into the groove of the new weekend format nicely. Our FP1 pace was strong. We were strong in FP2 on the old tyre but we didn’t get a chance to show our outright pace on new tyres due to the Andretti cars slowing down. New qualifying format is a challenging! With such a short time to deliver, and having so many teammates creates it’s own challenges”
“My personal goal was a podium for the weekend. So I am happy with the result but I feel a made a few mistakes although luckily, nothing race ending! Huge thanks to the mechanics and my engineer who did a great job all weekeng and, my sponsors for all their support this year. I can’t wait to get to Detroit and see what we can do!”