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When Nolan Siegel despatched it, he offered a glimpse of IndyCar’s future

The phrase “just send it” is common among drivers, but the reality is very few have the courage to push through a corner at nearly 240mph without lifting once something feels imperfect. And that can’t really be blamed as one could imagine it is absolutely scary as hell once something goes awry at those speeds;

When Nolan Siegel despatched it, he offered a glimpse of IndyCar’s future

The phrase “simply ship it” is frequent amongst drivers, however the actuality could be very few have the braveness to push by way of a nook at almost 240mph with out lifting as soon as one thing feels imperfect.

And that may’t actually be blamed as one may think about it’s completely scary as hell as soon as one thing goes awry at these speeds; if there’s even sufficient time to really feel worry within the second.

At 19 years previous, Siegel got here into his maiden try and qualify for the Indy 500 with the demeanor and poise of a savvy veteran making his 10th look. A decent buildup regardless of rain limiting helpful monitor time was derailed after he went airborne and crashed when the enhance was turned up for Quick Friday. The first automotive, designed particularly for the two.5-mile oval, was scrapped and Dale Coyne Racing (DCR) had been left prepping the backup automotive that raced on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway street course format simply days prior. 

The distinction between the 2 chassis was almost a full 4 miles per hour.

Even with that, Siegel and the workforce continued to press on and located themselves with a preventing likelihood within the final row spherical in opposition to Graham Rahal, who had been bumped from the sphere final 12 months by then-team-mate Jack Harvey, now a part of DCR in a training function reverse of driving choose races.

Siegel was the primary to make a run at 229.566mph four-lap common however dropped a spot after team-mate Katherine Legge went 230.092mph. After Marcus Ericsson, the 2022 Indy 500 winner, jumped to 32nd with a four-lap tempo of 230.027mph, it bumped Siegel out of the sphere – and Rahal to 33rd – with solely a few minutes to spare within the spherical.

“I wasn’t going to go house as a result of I lifted”

Primed because the final to exit, leaving Rahal with out a capability to defend, Siegel ran a gap lap of 229.288mph. Pushing for each ounce of velocity, he absolutely dedicated into Flip 1 on his second lap and barely clipped the wall on the exit of the nook, sending him right into a spin earlier than hitting the Flip 2 limitations.

“I used to be going to go house as a result of I went flat and did every little thing I may do,” Siegel mentioned. “I wasn’t going to go house as a result of I lifted.”

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The valiant effort portrayed every little thing desired in a racing driver.

And it was observed by a lot of Siegel’s friends, together with Rahal.

“I’ve bought an amazing quantity of respect for Nolan,” Rahal mentioned. “He could also be a brand new identify to lots of people, however he is a reputation that you will develop into aware of. He is gained at each stage. He is gained at every little thing he is achieved. He’ll be right here. He’ll be successful right here. There is not any doubt about that.”

Charlie Kimball, a 10-time starter of the Indy 500 who was in a multi-role (guide, technique, driver coach) with DCR, noticed one thing particular in working with Siegel all month that was encapsulated along with his qualifying efficiency.

Nolan Siegel, Dale Coyne Racing Honda

Nolan Siegel, Dale Coyne Racing Honda

Photograph by: Geoffrey M. Miller / Motorsport Images

“The strain of that, and you have to exit to carry out and know that that could possibly be your solely shot and you might not get an opportunity if somebody goes faster to rebut it,” Kimball mentioned.

“The psychological fortitude and the composure to go run these 4 laps like he did, you noticed an Indy 500 champion [Ericsson], the man who completed second final 12 months, not have that very same psychological energy and make a psychological error on lap 4 (in his first try).”

And the respect for Siegel has prolonged all through the paddock.

“I’ve heard from lots of completely different corners of the sequence — from broadcast to tech, to different groups, different drivers, engineers, how spectacular he was in not solely his strategy, however then additionally how he dealt with the strain after which additionally how he dealt with the frustration,” Kimball mentioned.

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“I imply, he struck the proper be aware during.”

The distinctive side of this end result is that Siegel continues to be competing full-time in Indy NXT, IndyCar’s developmental sequence the place he sits second within the championship standings. He’s solely stepping up in a partial capability to IndyCar this 12 months, with solely considered one of his 4 scheduled begins remaining (Toronto).

Nonetheless hope for Siegel’s Indy 500 bid?

So as to add one other layer to this dynamic, although, is that Siegel additionally had 2013 Indy 500 winner Tony Kanaan, at the moment the Sporting Director for Arrow McLaren, on his timing stand in a guide function alongside Kimball throughout the remaining day of qualifying. That got here collectively because of the truth that Seigel is about to contest subsequent month’s 24 Hours of Le Mans with United Autosports, which is owned by McLaren CEO Zak Brown.

So, though unlikely, it isn’t out of the realm of potentialities to see Siegel known as upon if climate delays forces 2021 NASCAR Cup Sequence champion Kyle Larson out of the No. 17 Arrow McLaren Chevrolet, since he additionally has to run NASCAR’s Coca-Cola 600 on the identical day. And that comes because of Siegel being the one driver certified by present IndyCar guidelines to fill that function – as an alternative of Kanaan, a 21-time starter of the Indy 500 that was tabbed because the reserve driver – because of going by way of the rookie orientation and refresher applications.

Nonetheless, that farfetched situation is probably going the furthest factor from Siegel’s thoughts.

What’s definitely there’s the inconsolable feeling of what transpired and the will of what Siegel and the Dale Coyne Racing displayed.

I want we may have proven that we should be within the 500,” Siegel mentioned.

“Actually the entire occasion has been tough, however we have had a tough couple of days, and we pulled by way of it as a workforce. We did every little thing we presumably may. I really feel like we maximized the runs as we speak. Yeah, I imply, that is all you are able to do.

“I assume I hope that everybody noticed that we as a workforce did every little thing that we may presumably do.”

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Everybody did and now, we’re all left to attend for the promising and fearless future to return.

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