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May 11, 2024

Jacob Abel

Caio Collet

Louis Foster

Indianapolis, Indiana, USA

Press Conference

THE MODERATOR: Good afternoon, everyone. Welcome to the world famous Indianapolis Motor Speedway as we wrap up INDY NXT by Firestone Grand Prix here at Indianapolis, race No. 2, of course won by Louis Foster. Joining us up here on the podium, third-place finishing driver, Caio Collet, driver of the No. 18 HMD Motorsports machine, the first podium of his young INDY NXT career, bouncing back from a 19th place yesterday. Caio led 24 laps today. Jacob Abel returns, as well, driver of the No. 51 Abel Construction car for Abel Motorsports, second runner-up finish of the season, eighth podium of his career, first and second this weekend on the IMS road course. He finishes second, as mentioned. Congratulations to Louis, led 11 of the 35 laps driving the No. 26 Copart/Novara Technologies machine for Andretti Global. First win of the season, third career win, bouncing back from a seventh yesterday.

Louis, we'll begin with you. Congratulations. First and foremost, a couple really nice passes in that race. Take us through what you were thinking on lap 25 when you got underneath Collet there and exited Turn 10 and into Turn 11. Haven't seen too many passes in that area, but you made it stick.

LOUIS FOSTER: Yeah, yesterday me and Caio had a battle, and then I think he got a penalty for blocking, so I kind of knew I could play that to my advantage. So as soon as I came around the corner, I put on Push-to-Pass and put my nose there so he couldn't defend it, otherwise he'd have gotten a penalty for blocking. Gave me the position pretty easy.

Yeah, it was hard to get past him. He was using quite a bit of Push-to-Pass. Yeah, it was difficult to manage, especially as I had to use quite a lot to get past Jacob at the start and Caio was able to clear off without using much.

I think we learnt from last year here, definitely the two races last year where we were in second place and battling trying to catch the leader for the entirety of those two races. I definitely have experience here with chasing down the leader from second place.

Q. I know it's been a difficult or weird past couple of races to get to the top step of the podium finally. What does that mean to you?

LOUIS FOSTER: Yeah, I think it's great. I think we've had a little bit of misfortune recently, especially at Barber obviously. Yeah, I think it's where we deserve to be, and I think we're going to try and aim to be here a lot longer, and I think the biggest thing is we need to make sure we qualify higher up. We've struggled with qualifying for some reason definitely at St. Pete and IMS. Yeah, I think if we can just try and figure out what's going wrong there, we've got the race car. We've got the race pace. We just need to start a bit higher up.

Q. Jacob, another podium for you, first and second, that's your MO so far this season. Just your thoughts obviously with a double podium weekend and then you leave Indianapolis here with a 25-point championship advantage over Nolan. Your thoughts?

JACOB ABEL: Yeah, it was an excellent weekend. Unfortunately Louis got the better of us today. But I think I don't want that to overshadow what we were able to accomplish this weekend. Two poles, a first and a second. If we can keep that up for the rest of the season, we'll be just fine.

The race went well, unfortunately lost the lead to Caio there at the start. He made a good move around the outside and then Louis was pushing hard. I wanted to make sure we didn't lose all of our Push-to-Pass and tires battling with each other for second, so I wasn't going to battle him too terribly hard.

Then I saw him running down Caio and they were battling pretty hard, and I was just kind of saving my tires and Push-to-Pass and biding my time. I did exactly what I wanted to do; I pushed it at exactly the point that I wanted to and was able to get around Caio. He used a lot of his tires, and unfortunately Louis was just really quick.

Just came up a little bit short there but still super happy with second.

Q. Caio, welcome to the podium for INDY NXT for Firestone. Congratulations. You led 24 laps today. Take us through your race, obviously the tremendous pass on the outside in Turn 1 to get the lead and then the hard work you had to do to try to keep these guys behind you.

CAIO COLLET: Yeah, I had opportunity to go around the outside and I took it. I think it worked. For the first part of the race I was quite happy with my tires and Push-to-Pass but then I saw Louis was coming quite fast, and I think we struggled a little bit with balance today, especially with tires, I started to lose towards the end of the race. Was just not quite good enough today to hang on to the lead. But quite happy to be P3 and get my first podium.

Q. Just your thoughts on maybe just the learning experience you have in a situation like this. This is obviously a moment for that.

CAIO COLLET: Yeah, for sure. I think yesterday, as well. I'm starting to get used to defending here. It's a little bit different than in Europe. Still a learning curve, and I think I was quite happy to deliver a good result for the team. I think they did a very good job yesterday. I had quite a lot of damage and they rebuilt the car, so was really good today but just not quite good enough for me to hang on to the lead.

Q. Caio, obviously when you don't know something, it's kind of hard to figure things out. Do you think there's anything that you could have done differently managing the lead to keep Louis behind you?

CAIO COLLET: I don't know, I think I left it all out there. He was just quicker than me, and I used quite a lot of my tires and Push-to-Pass to defend, but at one point he was a little bit quicker today, and that's racing. Some days you lose, some days you win.

Q. Louis, it's almost kind of fitting that it's IMS road course that this win, this kind of breakthrough for the season happens for you. Kind of from last year to what happened yesterday, how do you outlook today?

LOUIS FOSTER: Yeah, I think obviously nice to get the first win of the season, get the monkey off the back for the year, so to say. Anyway, we've always been strong here as a team. I think had we have qualified a bit higher up, we could have challenged Jacob for the win yesterday, as well, maybe. But yeah, wasn't in the cards for us yesterday, but again, super happy to do it here, and hopefully we can continue with some momentum.

Q. Jacob, was there any point, because Nolan was behind you, were you aware of that? Were you points racing a little bit in your mind based on the fact that Nolan was behind you?

JACOB ABEL: Yeah. I mean, I was just mainly focused on these two the whole entire race and just kind of managing my gap to them. I think us three were a lot faster than the rest of the field. Felt that way. Felt like we were pushing away. Yeah, it was just eyes forward the whole time. I wanted to have a chance to go for the win again, so that was my mentality the whole race was just managing the gap to them, staying as close as I could while not using any Push-to-Pass and not using too much tires. It worked on Caio, it just didn't work on Louis.

Yeah, I think the best way to go after a championship is to get the best results as possible, and the best result possible is winning, so that was my attitude the whole entire race.

Q. We're four races into the season. Obviously HMD Motorsports, big program, Andretti Global is a big program, but it's Abel Motorsports that has the most wins this year so far through four races. Can you talk about the team's growth and improvements to start the year?

JACOB ABEL: Yeah, it's pretty awesome. Going against really powerhouses like those two teams is very difficult. It's a task we haven't taken lightly at all. We were just able to work really hard and do what we can. It's very helpful now that I have two teammates. They're getting better and better each race, which is helping me and helping the whole entire team.

We have some really, really smart people, some really talented people top to bottom in this program, and it's finally showing off, and I'm glad to be able to prove that to the world.

Q. Jacob, I was going to ask you about today's race, but the finish of the Kentucky Derby this year remind you of an oval race that used to happen here, and would you have liked to have had the chance to race in the Freedom 100?

JACOB ABEL: Yeah, of course the one oval race that I really want to be a part of here is the Indianapolis 500, so hopefully I'll get to do that one one day. But yeah, it's pretty cool. We get to race on a bunch of ovals this year. We had one of the closest finishes in history last year at Iowa. Super excited to get back to those.

Q. You got your first win just a couple weeks ago at Barber and then a win yesterday, a second today. Where does this weekend stack up compared to Barber or are they even comparable at all?

JACOB ABEL: They're just super different. Barber was spectacular start to finish. We just rolled off with a fantastic car and it was just head down the whole entire week. It basically got to the point where it was like, don't mess up. We knew we were way faster than everyone in the practices and all of that, so it was almost more pressure where this weekend we didn't roll off perfect. We really worked on that car throughout that one practice session. I had a lot to gain in me, as well, and we kind of put that all together through qualifying, got the win yesterday and second today.

Just very different journeys. I think they're both great learning experiences and things that will help us a lot moving forward.

Q. Has the addition of your two teammates this season helped your confidence as well as your race team?

JACOB ABEL: Yeah, 100 percent. I think they've been providing a ton of data to me, which is great, and at the same time in the engineering room we have three times the brain power just with all the engineers that can work together, bounce things off one another and all of that.

I think it's given me a lot of confidence, and it's helped for sure.

Q. Louis, how frustrating was it having the issue again yesterday and then how did you overcome that both in the race yesterday and then to get that win today?

LOUIS FOSTER: Yeah, I think yesterday was a bit of unfortunate contact between me and Caio. A bit of a racing incident there really. I didn't know there was a penalty coming his way for the blocking previously. I took that one on the chin. Probably could have waited a bit longer there.

We came into today's race just knowing we needed to get some points because we've obviously had a few rough rounds. Just kind of opened the door for me really with James falling back, coming in P3 and then Caio taking the lead, Jacob kind of fell into my lap and then just chased down Caio. We took what we were given and didn't overextend ourselves today, so I think that says a lot.

Q. Is there anything specific today that you feel maybe give you the edge over the rest of the competition?

LOUIS FOSTER: I think I managed tires a lot better than the other drivers I would say. I think that's been a pretty strong precedent here previously in other years. We've done a better job managing tires. I think that really helped me with Caio, getting past him. I was watching him burn up his whilst I was just looking after mine, and then that allowed me to use less Push-to-Pass than him and eventually get past him.

Q. Caio, you're obviously an F3 race winner, got experience over in Europe. How have you found INDY NXT? How does it compare to things you've done in the past? Are you happy that you made this move over?

CAIO COLLET: Sure. I think I was really happy to come to the U.S. I'm finding it really fun out here. It's a little bit different both series, I think the format of the weekend and also tires especially, it's a big thing between those two series.

I think the car itself to drive is not that different at all but just the Push-to-Pass and also racing here the moves you can do, cannot do. It's a little bit different than in Europe and obviously the starts, as well. So it's just something that I'm getting used to it.

But I'm really enjoying myself here and starting to -- thankfully starting to get some good results, as well.

Q. Jacob, did losing the lead early on, did that change your approach today, or was it always going to be the way that it was?

JACOB ABEL: Yeah, I mean, I had the experience from yesterday by leading, and I understood the limits of the tires, and I saw Caio, how hard he was pushing the first few laps. I figured there was no way he could hold up that pace.

Very similar mentality to yesterday and how I was managing things. It would have been easy to get sucked into pushing really hard and trying to catch him and trying to get him back, but was able to just manage it. Unfortunately Louis got by me, as well, but was able to get Caio back, and I think Louis was taking it a bit more of a mindset than I was with managing the tires.

Yeah, props to him on that, but yeah, not too terribly of a different mentality. I just tried to be patient and save everything that I had until the end.

THE MODERATOR: Congratulations, and we'll see you in a couple weekends in Detroit.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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