Abel Gets Big Jump on Field in Barber Practice

Jacob Abel led the opening practice Friday for the INDY NXT by Firestone Grand Prix of Alabama at Barber Motorsports Park, with an uncommon margin of dominance for the INDYCAR development series.

Abel led the 21-driver field with a top lap of 1 minute, 11.9990 seconds in the No. 51 Abel Construction entry. He was more than a half-second quicker than his closest pursuer, fellow series veteran James Roe of Andretti Global, who ended up second at 1:12.5148 in the No. 29 TopCon car.

SEE: Practice Results

The big gap by Abel over the field was even more impressive considering he turned his best lap on his final trip around the 17-turn, 2.3-mile natural road course on used Firestone Firehawk tires.

“It’s fantastic,” Abel said. “Basically after St. Petersburg, it was the start of another offseason for us. Last year, St. Pete went really well, and Barber not so much. So, this year St. Pete went well, so we’re going to make Barber go well, too. A lot of work in the past six weeks to keep in it.

“No new tires there. So, we’ll see what she does on new tires for qualifying. I’m feeling pretty good about it.”

Qualifying starts at 2:35 p.m. ET Saturday, preceded by a practice at 11:05 a.m. Both sessions will be streamed on INDYCAR LIVE and available on the INDYCAR Radio Network. The 35-lap race starts at 11:05 a.m. ET Sunday, with live coverage on Peacock and the INDYCAR Radio Network.

Points leader Nolan Siegel was third at 1:12.8955 in the No. 39 HMD Motorsports entry, followed by rookie Bryce Aron at 1:13.1150 in the No. 27 Jaguar Land Rover Chesterfield entry fielded by Andretti Global.

Series veteran Josh Pierson rounded out the top five at 1:13.1425 in the No. 14 HMD Motorsports car.

The 45-minute session featured one red flag, to tow in the stalled No. 26 Copart/Novara Technologies entry of Andretti Global driven by series veteran Louis Foster.

IndyCar PR