Christian Rasmussen continued to lay claim to the 2023 ndy NXT by Firestone championship, leading the opening practice Friday for the Grand Prix of Portland at Portland International Raceway.
Rasmussen, from Denmark, led with a top lap of 1m2.8194s in the No. 6 HMD Motorsports with DCR car. Rasmussen, who has won three of the last four races, leads Hunter McElrea by 50 points in the standings with three races remaining.
“We’re starting off where we left off at St. Louis, so that’s good,” Rasmussen said. “We knew we had a strong car around here, that this was going to be a strong weekend. So far, so good. I’m looking forward to another practice and qualifying tomorrow, and hopefully we can stay up front.”
Up next is the second practice at 2:20 p.m. ET Saturday on the 12-turn, 1.964-mile road course, followed by qualifying at 7:30 p.m. ET (both sessions live on IndyCar Live and the IndyCar Radio Network). Live coverage of the 35-lap race starts at 1:10 p.m. ET Sunday on Peacock and the IndyCar Radio Network.
Rasmussen and the rest of the field will aim in qualifying for the track record for the series, 1m02.8074s by current NTT IndyCar Series star Pato O’Ward in 2018. Rasmussen’s quick time in this session was only 0.0120s slower than O’Ward’s mark.
Kyffin Simpson returned to the series with speed after a one-race hiatus, ending up second at 1m02.9945s in the No. 21 HMD Motorsports with CGR machine. Simpson missed the round last weekend at World Wide Technology Raceway due to a clashing European Le Mans Series race.
McElrea was third at 1m03.0333s in the No. 27 Smart Motors machine fielded by Andretti Autosport.
Louis Foster was fourth overall and the top rookie at 1m03.0517s in the No. 26 Copart/USF Pro Championship car of Andretti Autosport, and Jacob Abel rounded out the top five at 1m03.1108s in the No. 51 Abel Motorsports machine.