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Indy NXT’s Nolan Siegel Is Making Most of His INDYCAR Opportunity


Nolan Siegel embraces the opportunity to compete in INDYCAR for Dale Coyne Racing with Rick Ware Racing (Photo: Luis Torres | The Podium Finish)

LONG BEACH, Calif. — Thermal Club may have been the first time that INDYCAR saw current Indy NXT racer Nolan Siegel compete, but Sunday’s Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach will be his formal debut as far as points are concerned.

Driving the No. 51 King Taco Honda for Dale Coyne Racing and their partnered team Rick Ware Racing, Siegel has the unique task of running American open wheel racing’s premier series, but also competing for a championship in Indy NXT, the final step before making it to INDYCAR. All eyes at the moment are on making a good impression at the treacherous yet driver-favored 1.968-mile street course as the 19-year-old knows that there is a lot to learn this weekend.

“It’s gonna be a big challenge and there’s gonna be a lot to learn,” Siegel told The Podium Finish. “But every race weekend, I think the approach is the same and you go into it trying to extract as much as possible out of the car and out of the weekend. I will do my best to perform at the highest level I can and I’m sure the team will do the same.”

Siegel’s venture into INDYCAR began last month at Thermal Club where he displayed an impressive showing in his heat race and, while he did not qualify for the 20-lap main feature, a lot of learning happened as he logged hours upon hours of track time. What he successfully picked up on right away were working with new folks and driving the much more powerful and heavier cars compared to what he primarily races.

“I don’t know if there’s one thing you know, everyone on the team was a new person to me,” said Siegel. “Working with everyone and seeing how the team functions was big and I think is gonna be big going into (Sunday). Having that experience of working with all these new people.

“The car itself, I’ve learned a lot and it’s gonna be different this weekend with real strategy and pit stops and a normal race weekend. I think learning how everyone works and how the team works together is big.”


Nolan Siegel is one of two drivers making their INDYCAR debut this Sunday at Long Beach (Photo: Luis Torres | The Podium Finish)

Additionally, Siegel will have an opportunity of a lifetime next month as he will be driving the No. 18 Honda, piloted by Jack Harvey this Sunday, for the 108th Indianapolis 500. He will be one of seven confirmed rookies that hopes to make the 33-car field.

Once Long Beach wraps up, Siegel will shift his focus back to his quest for the Indy NXT championship, in which he drives the No. 39 machine for HMD Motorsports. After the opening round at St. Petersburg, Siegel currently leads the standings after scoring the victory in early March.

The Palo Alto native explained that competing in INDYCAR is going to make things easier for him going into Barber Motorsports Park, where he hopes to keep the championship lead. On the plus side, Siegel has had tremendous help from his teammate Jack Harvey, who has been competing in the series regularly since 2018.

“Jack has been very helpful, which I am very grateful for. He’s been more helpful than anyone that he didn’t need to be this helpful and he’s gone out of his way to help me, which I really appreciate,” Siegel remarked on Harvey. “He was at Thermal. He was at the Indy open test, not driving, but just there to help the team perform. It’s been huge for me to have someone with that experience that can help teach me a little bit.”

Siegel will have his work cut out for him on Sunday as he will be rolling off shotgun of the field of 27 cars. Coverage of the 49th Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach begins Sunday at 3 p.m. ET on USA Network.

Throughout my young motorsports media career, my number-one goal is to be a personnel that can be flexible with my writing and photography in the world of NASCAR and INDYCAR. Content delivery is vital because this is my main passion and what keeps me going. On the side, I also do sports production ranging from Seattle Kraken hockey to the 2023 NCAA Women's March Madness. All for the love of the game. With four National Motorsports Press Association photography awards, I'm not slowing down anytime soon. Outside of media, I'm super vocal about my musical tastes that goes from Metallica to HAIM. At times, there might be some Paul Thomas Anderson and Southern California references in my social media.

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