Louis Foster put in two sensational qualifying sessions to ensure he and Andretti Autosport lead the field to the green in both of this weekend’s Indy NXT rounds on the new downtown Detroit course.

In qualifying for the first race, Foster was 0.646s clear of his nearest challenger, Andretti Autosport teammate Hunter McElrea, with Indy road course winner Matteo Nannini of Juncos Hollinger Racing a further three-tenths adrift.

Reece Gold was top representative for the HMD Motorsports armada, ahead of teammates Nolan Siegel and Christian Rasmussen. Rasmus Lindh was seventh-best in the second Juncos Hollinger machine.

With the session for the second Indy NXT race following right after the first, it looked like a battle for supremacy between McElrea, Gold and Siegel, because Foster gave the Turn 9 wall a substantial hefty slap. Yet with his final flyer, Foster produced magic, a 1m06.8374s with bent left-rear suspension to take top spot by 0.28s.

Rasmussen narrowed the gap to 0.19s to claim second, just ahead of Siegel, with McElrea taking fourth. But on post-session assessment, McElrea was shuffled down to fifth behind Gold while Toby Sowery (HMD) also lost his best times and was dropped to 14th. Th at moves Ernie Francis Jr. up to sixth, his most impressive grid position since he joined the series.

Nannini damaged his JHR car against a wall and thus will start the second race from the back row.