Rasmussen cruises to dominant fifth win to close out Indy NXT season at Laguna

Christian Rasmussen of HMD Motorsports demolished the opposition in race two at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca, defeating his fastest opponents from Andretti Global by almost 18s.

New champion Rasmussen, who only needed to start the race to clinch the title, took off from pole but Hunter McElrea — Saturday’s race winner — wheelspun on the curbs out of Turn 11 when the green waved and lost out to Andretti teammate Louis Foster through the Turn 2-3 sequence.

McElrea, though, got him at the same place next time by to begin his pursuit of Rasmussen. Kyffin Simpson (HMD) moved up to challenge Foster, chased by his teammates Reece Gold and Danial Frost. At the end of lap two, Juncos Hollinger Racing’s Matt Brabham outbraked Jacob Abel of Abel Motorsports at Turn 11 to take seventh.


Gold had taken fourth, when Simpson tried to retaliate down the inside at Turn 5 and knocked his teammate into a spin. Gold just got his car started when the caution came out to rescue him. Brabham had taken advantage of the collision to move past the pair of them into fifth place, but he’d have gained that spot anyway since Simpson had to serve a drive-through penalty for avoidable contact.

The lap eight restart saw Rasmussen again jump away, and McElrea had to get defensive to keep Foster behind him. By lap 10, the leader had a 2s margin over McElrea who was a similar distance ahead of his teammate Foster. There was a change for fourth on lap 12, however, as both Brabham and Abel got around Frost. Further back, Ernie Francis Jr (HMD Force Indy) passed Yuven Sundaramoorthy to snatch ninth. Later Nolan Siegel would also demote Sundaramoorthy.

Rasmussen’s lead on lap 23 of 35 was 6s, with Foster 3.7s behind McElrea but 5.3s ahead of Brabham, who was beginning to come under pressure from Abel and Frost.

On lap 25, James Roe spun away his distant seventh place, promoting Francesco Pizzi (Abel) and Siegel, who had earlier gotten around Francis Jr. Sadly for Pizzi, his left-front wing was damaged from an attempted pass on Roe that ended up with him going through the rough at the Corkscrew, thus netting a black flag ordering him to the pits for repair.

Now Siegel, Francis Jr, Sundaramoorthy and Jagger Jones (Cape Motorsports) ran seventh through 10th.

With five laps to go, Rasmussen’s lead was over 11s, with two to go it was 15s, and finally it was over 17s — a rout by the new champion. His fastest lap, set on lap 13, had been 0.5s faster than McElrea’s best effort.

Foster was only 2s adrift of McElrea, but also only 1s ahead of Brabham. Abel just held off Frost for fifth.


Story originally appeared on Racer