ABEL Motorsports trio poised for success at Barber

Sundaramoorthy looks to repeat his junior formula success, when he became the first Indian American driver to win an INDYCAR-sanctioned race

SPEEDWAY, Ind. (22 April 2024) – Riding momentum from the INDY NXT by Firestone season opener six weeks ago on the streets of St. Petersburg, Fla., ABEL Motorsports heads to the scenic roller coaster that is Barber Motorsports Park for the 35-lap Grand Prix of Alabama – part of the Children’s of Alabama Indy Grand Prix.

Drivers Jacob Abel (Louisville, Ky.) and Yuven Sundaramoorthy (Oconomowoc, Wis.) have raced at Barber before during their junior formula careers (four races for Sundaramoorthy, nine races for Abel), while Josh Mason (Maresfield, UK) will get his first look at the 17-turn, 2.3-mile road course this week.

Barber has long been a driver favorite, with 80’ of elevation changes and extremely high-speed corners. In fact, the slowest corner at Barber clocks in at nearly the same speed as the fastest corner at St Pete.

Sundaramoorthy, 21, achieved a milestone at Barber in 2021, becoming the first Indian American driver to score a win in an INDYCAR-sanctioned series race when he captured a dominant USF2000 Championship victory from the pole position.

“2021 really was a breakout year for me,” said Sundaramoorthy. “That year gave me a great deal of confidence as I continued up the ladder. I learned how to keep the momentum going through the inevitable ups and downs. That’s been the benefit of coming up through the ladder series, knowing the tracks and in some cases, having had success on those tracks.”

Heading into just his fifth INDY NXT weekend, Sundaramoorthy knows what he is looking for out of his ABEL Motorsports-prepared Dallara this weekend.

“Barber is such a high-commitment track: you have to have a good feel for the car, to know that you can trust the car, and just commit,” said Sundaramoorthy. “Finding that place with the INDY NXT car is the priority – if you make one tiny mistake, it makes a huge difference in time. Given how competitive the series is, one small mistake could be 10 positions.”

Abel, 23, hopes to capitalize on his second-place finish in the season opener on a track he knows well, having earned three top 10 finishes in four junior formula races at Barber. He topped the speed charts in the series test late last year so it’s unsurprising that he counts the track as one of his favorites.

“Of all the tracks we go to, Barber is probably the most fun to drive and the most liked by the drivers,” said Abel. “There are so many elevation changes and high-speed corners, and the track surface is so smooth, so it requires a very different set up in the car than St. Pete. We were super strong in the test so hoping to carry that momentum into the race weekend.”

Showing solid pace in his Stateside debut in St. Pete, Mason, 22, flew home after the race and went straight to the simulator, ready to learn everything he could about the track before seeing it for the first time this week.

“St. Pete was a good first step, looking at where we ended up compared with where we started,” said Mason. “Obviously, as a driver, you’re here to win, but for the first time in the car and the first time at St. Pete, there were some challenges, and I think we overcame them. We showed that we can compete at the front, with the pace we had. I’m comfortable with the car and the crew – ABEL Motorsports is a brilliant team. I’ve been with many different teams and ABEL is definitely the most open team, right from the start. They made me feel comfortable from the outset and looking at their history, they’re good at what they do and they’re very professional – but they have a fun side as well, which is a nice balance!”

With seven weeks between races, the break between St. Pete and Barber is the longest of the INDY NXT season. For Abel, living in Indianapolis and being near the shop – and coaching some of the junior formula racers – has helped to fill the time.

“It’s all about staying focused,” said Abel. “I’ve been at the shop a lot, working with all the team members and really making sure we’re on it come Barber. I’ve also been doing a lot of coaching in the lower categories which keeps me at a racetrack. I think just working with race cars on track and telling people how to go fast is really good mental training for me. Because of that, I feel as though I’m still in it.”

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

The INDY NXT by Firestone Grand Prix of Alabama takes the green flag Sunday, April 28 at 11:05 a.m. Eastern. The race will be streamed live in the U.S. on Peacock, while international viewers can watch via INDYCARLIVE.com with INDYCAR Radio available at indycar.com/radio and on Sirius XM.

About ABEL Motorsports: Team principal Bill Abel began racing motocross in 1972, earning numerous championship titles as he continued the family tradition. In 2015, ABEL Motorsports was launched, starting in the USF2000 series and building up the junior open wheel ladder. The team captured the inaugural Formula Regional Americas Championship with driver Kyle Kirkwood in 2018.

ABEL Motorsports currently competes in the INDY NXT by Firestone series, the official development series for the NTT INDYCAR SERIES, led by third-generation driver Jacob Abel. The team made its INDYCAR debut in 2023 with driver RC Enerson in the Indianapolis 500. For more information visit the official team website at abelmotorsports.com.

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of SpeedwayMedia.com

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