Top three qualifying effort for ABEL Motorsports at Mid-Ohio

The ABEL Motorsports trio managed varying conditions, a constantly changing track and a rapidly updating information database after a recent repave reset the game for the INDY NXT by Firestone field this weekend at the Mid-Ohio Sport Car Course.

At the end of qualifying, Jacob Abel – second in the series point standings – was set to start third, with YuvenSundaramoorthy 15th and Jordan Missig 16th in Sunday’s INDY NXT by Firestone Grand Prix of Mid-Ohio.

All three drivers have a great deal of experience at Mid-Ohio, with Abel (No. 51 ABEL Construction), Sundaramoorthy (No. 22 S Team Motorsports) and Missig (No. 21 ABEL Motorsports) tallying 61 races between them. But that experience all but went out the window this weekend, as the track’s off-season repaving reset teams’ information databases. That gave the ABEL team two practice sessions to figure out setup and get ready for qualifying.

As is typical for a Midwest summer weekend, the pair of practice sessions saw completely different weather conditions. Friday afternoon was warm, cloudy and threatening rain as all three drivers worked on setup, posting top times early but fighting for rear grip late over Mid-Ohio’s 2.258-mile, 13-turn natural terrain road course.

Saturday morning’s session was sunny and cool, as Abel once again shot to the top of the speed charts, with Sundaramoorthy close behind and Missig just two-tenths back. All three drivers pitted for new tires with 13 minutes remaining in the 40-minute session, but a late red flag limited them to one flyer lap at the end of the session. At the checkered flag, combined session times put Abel P3, Missig P15 and Sundaramoorthy P16.

Missig took the green flag in the first of two 15-minute qualifying sessions, with Abel and Sundaramoorthy both in group two. Points leader Louis Foster set the quick time in group one, but Abel aimed for that speed and better, posting the early quick time. Quicker each lap, Abel’s predictive times were quickest on three separate laps but he could not put that perfect lap together, as 11 of the 19 drivers beat the existing track record. Missig was happy with the setup but found himself missing that last bit of pace, while Sundaramoorthy continued to look for grip.

When the final grid was set, Abel was set to start third in Sunday’s 35-lap race, with Sundaramoorthy 15th and Missig 16th – with the entire field separated by just over one second.
“We made a lot of changes to the car in the two practice sessions, and we’ve made a lot of progress,” said Abel. “The track changed a lot through those sessions, and then again in qualifying, it kind of came to us. We missed pole, just barely, but it’s super close, super competitive in this series. I know we could have gotten pole, I just had to work pretty hard to do it and unfortunately, I just didn’t put everything together there in the end. But we’ll be in a good spot at the start, on the inside, and I’m looking forward to that. It’s always a quick start here, so it’s going to be interesting.”

“The car was great,” said Sundaramoorthy. “The team obviously put together a great car, with Jacob P3, but I just didn’t have it. We need to go back and look at the data and try to put it all together. We know it’s going to be difficult, since this track is known to be rough on passing, but we’ll do the best we can. As far as the new pavement goes, I like it – I think it drives well, I just need to be faster.”

“I just don’t have the base,” said Missig. “The biggest thing right now is just trying to figure out where we’re losing the time in the critical corners and trying to work on that. The car I feel like is there and obviously we’re pretty close on times, and you see where Jacob is, so it’s just a matter of trusting the car, and putting the power down and everything and that’s one of the biggest issues. And yes, we’re re-learning the track after the repave, but at the end of the day, everyone’s on the exact same track, on the exact same tire, so we’ll go back and look at that now.”

ABEL Motorsports thanks partners ABEL Construction Company, Advance Ready Mix, Boyd Cat®, S Team Motorsports, Quest Global and OMP for their continued support.

The INDY NXT by Firestone Grand Prix at Mid-Ohio takes the green flag Sunday, July 7 at 11:15 a.m. ET. The race will be streamed live in the U.S. on Peacock, while international viewers can watch via INDYCARLIVE, with INDYCAR Radio available at indycar.com and on Sirius XM.

Abel Motorsports PR