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Chadwick: First Indy NXT podium shows improvements “starting to pay off”

Jamie Chadwick was finally able to show the progress of all the off-season effort after claiming her maiden Indy NXT podium at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway course on Friday evening.

Jamie Chadwick

Photo by: Penske Entertainment

In a race that featured plenty of contact and spins, Chadwick managed to avoid the chaos to climb from sixth to third and within striking distance of the win on a late restart with three laps to go.

Although there wasn’t enough time to chase down race winner Jacob Abel, the Briton was still able to clinch a career-best third-place result, which came in her 17th start.

She became the first woman to finish on the podium of an Indy NXT race since Pippa Mann won in Kentucky in 2010.

Opinion: How Jamie Chadwick is aiming to make a difference in 2024

Even more, though, it provided “validation” after a rookie campaign last year that featured a steep learning curve after coming over from the W Series, where she was a three-time series champion.

“It's true, and it's also I put in effort but everyone else does, as well,” said Chadwick.

“It's actually very hard to make such a big step. Honestly, I'm so happy with the step that we've made.

“I think actually at the end of last year we started to make the improvements and then it just took the off-season to really make the progress that we needed to.

“I'm very happy in that sense. I think there's still improvement to make. I want to be ultimately where Jacob is at some point, and there's still a step to that, but at the same time I'm very happy with the progress and just the validation that it's all starting to pay off.”

 

Much of the focus for Chadwick was on improving her strength in order to handle the physicality of an Indy NXT car.

“These are physical cars, and coming from something like W Series, which is probably closer to an F4 car, I knew it was going to be a challenge,” said Chadwick.

“But until you're really in the thick of it and in the season, you don't really know. For that reason, I was underprepared last year.

“I beefed up quite a bit over the off-season, which has definitely helped and paid off this year.”

Another element was actually being able to have more experience on tracks she had not competed on before last year, too.

“Last year going to tracks for the first time, spending a lot of energy on learning so much, it makes me take my hat off to the rookies that come in and do an incredible job because it isn't as easy as it looks, especially maybe the perception of coming from Europe over here thinking it will be maybe not as tough, but it definitely is,” Chadwick said.

“I think just knowing what was coming, and yeah, working hard towards that.”

Although Chadwick might reflect back on the restart slightly knowing a potential victory was in sight, her attention is more on the positive of this finish and earning it after the early season pace showed promise.

“I think looking back at it, I'm sure I'll review the footage and our coach, or my engineer will tell me I had an opportunity,” she said.

“But the thing is I haven't had a result at all this year, and I needed to keep my nose clean in that race, and we did, and we were rewarded for that.”

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