Coming off his second career win in the INDY NXT by Firestone program six weeks ago at the season opener in St. Petersburg, Florida, Danial Frost came into Barber Motorsports Park this past weekend leading the championship points chase. While still early in the season, Frost has the experience of a third-year INDY NXT veteran and is considered a favorite for the championship.
While feeling under the weather, Danial started off the second weekend of the championship season. Frost had to quickly readjust and come up to speed after finishing ninth in the opening practice session. Frost found his way toward the front of the field to finish third in practice two Saturday morning ahead of qualifying that was set to take place that afternoon.
After qualifying eighth and on the outside of the fourth row, Frost was determined to work his way up into podium contention. In 2022 at Barber Motorsports Park, Frost also qualified eight and was able to make up four positions to finish just short of the podium, and he was channeling that driver to make it to the podium this year.
In the opening five laps of the INDY NXT by Firestone Grand Prix of Alabama, drivers ahead of Frost were eager to make moves early on and Frost was able to capitalize on their mistakes as he moved up into fifth behind three of his HMD Motorsports with Dale Coyne Racing teammates. After another mistake from a driver ahead of him, Frost moved into the fourth position with a podium in sight.
“I gave it my all and pushed hard despite not feeling the greatest,” expressed Frost. “We overcame some issues from qualifying and had a great drive forward in the race, similar to St. Pete, and I was really pushing hard.”
Nearing the halfway point, an incident between two drivers brought the field to yellow. On the restart on lap 19, Frost began his pursuit of the podium as he passed a fellow competitor for third, though he was unable to make it stick and fell back to fourth on the exit of the corner. One lap later, while he continued to fight for third, Frost drove off track and fell back into seventh, but he was able to quickly recover and began battling and working his way forward. After the driver ahead of him was given a penalty for blocking, Race Control moved Frost back up into the sixth position as he continued his recovery.
With ten laps remaining, the driver in third suffered a mechanical failure and crashed out of the race, bringing out a caution, which turned into a red flag for extended cleanup. Restarting from fifth with four laps remaining in the race, Frost trailed an all-HMD train in fifth. Right on teammate Josh Green’s tail, Frost battled for fourth for the remaining four laps. However, with four turns remaining on the final lap, Frost drove up over the curb and was launched into Green, damaging both cars in an uncharacteristic mistake. Frost finished the race in tenth.
Frost added, “It was a mistake on my part, and I will learn from it. I feel bad for the team and Josh as it would have been an impressive one-through-five finish for HMD Motorsports. Putting that behind me, I am more determined than ever for the future. Our next event is at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and the sight of my first career INDY NXT win so I am excited to get back there and see if I can take the wins in back-to-back years.”
Still in the championship battle, Danial Frost sits in P3 just 15 points behind the leader. However, with 12 races remaining this season, many points are still up for grabs and the championship is still in his sights.
Frost will return with the INDY NXT field in two weeks’ time for the INDY NXT by Firestone Grand Prix at Indianapolis Motor Speedway on Saturday, May 13.
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Photos: RTD Media