Danial Frost has secured victory in the 2023 Indy NXT season opener at the Grand Prix of St. Petersburg.
Frost took the chequered flag in the 40-lap encounter from rookie team-mate Nolan Siegel, with practice pace-setter Jacob Abel rounding out the podium – as New Zealander Hunter McElrea finished fifth.
Pole-sitter Louis Foster led from the outset before losing the lead on Lap 8, running wide while attempting to hold off Christian Rasmussen.
Resultantly, Foster was forced to pit after the encounter due to a broken left-rear toe link for his Andretti Autosport entry.
This allowed Abel to move into first, where he would remain for the next 27 laps.
After a restart on Lap 35, Siegel seized the lead after Abel and Rasmussen ran wide at Turn 1.
He would lead the race for four laps, before running wide at Turn 2 after a restart on Lap 38, allowing Frost to make his race-deciding move on Lap 39.
In the ensuing laps, he built an advantage of 1.8038s before he crossed the stripe to claim the second victory of his career in the second-tier IndyCar category.
“I couldn't believe it at the end,” Frost said.
“I kind of planned it out that everyone else was shooting in [Turn 1] and going wide, so I tried to take a different approach and go inside and get a switchback.
“It's been working for me all race, so I might as well do the same thing – it paid off.
“So, it feels amazing.”
Frost led Siegel across the line, with Abel third, as Rasmussen finished fourth, ahead of McElrea, with Ernie Francis Jnr in sixth.
Josh Green, Reece Gold, Rasmus Lindh and Kyffin Simpson rounded out the top 10.
Colin Kaminsky, Christian Bogle, Jamie Chadwick, Foster, Matteo Nannini, Josh Pierson, James Roe, Jagger Jones and Enaam Ahmed completed the field.
After the season-opener, Frost leads the standings on 51 points, with Siegel on 41 points and Abel on 38 points.
Round 2 of the 2023 Indy NXT season, at the Grand Prix of Alabama, will take place at Barber Motorsports Park on April 30.