Rasmussen goes lights to flag in Indy NXT Barber win
Christian Rasmussen completed his tour de force of Barber Motorsports Park on Sunday, winning the Indy NXT Grand Prix of Alabama from the pole position.
Rasmussen led all 35 laps to drive his No. 6 HMD Motorsports with Dale Coyne Racing entry to a 1.9983s victory over rookie teammate Nolan Siegel in the No. 39 HMD Motorsports with DCR car. It was the third career Indy NXT victory for Rasmussen, who won two races as a series rookie in 2022.
Danish driver Rasmussen also captured the IndyCar development series’ championship lead by five points over Siegel with the win.
“The HMD boys have just given us an amazing car all weekend,” Rasmussen said. “Right from the get-go in first practice, we were on top, and we just continued that the whole weekend.
“It was pure HMD domination this weekend. I can’t thank them enough. They make me look good out there.”
Toby Sowery rounded out the podium finishers in third in the No. 14 HMD Motorsports with Dale Coyne Racing. It was Sowery’s first Indy NXT start since 2021, as he was filling in this weekend for regular driver Josh Pierson, who had clashing commitments in the World Endurance Championship sports car race at Spa-Francorchamps.
Sowery’s first podium result since he placed third in 2021 in Detroit was part of HMD Motorsports’ sweep of the top three spots at the finish. But it could have been the top five spots, as HMD teammates Josh Green and Danial Frost collided on the final lap while dueling for fourth place and ended up ninth and 10th, respectively, after Frost was assessed a 30s post-race penalty for incident responsibility.
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That accident elevated rookie Enaam Ahmed to fourth in the No. 47 Rickshaw Rocket car fielded by Cape Motorsports and veteran James Roe to fifth in the No. 29 Topcon machine from Andretti Autosport.
Rasmussen’s march to victory was interrupted only by two full-course caution periods and a red flag.
Series rookie Louis Foster ran off course on lap 26 and hit the barrier in Turn 9 while running third in the No. 26 Copart/USF Pro Championship car, telling his Andretti Autosport team on the radio that his throttle stuck open. Rasmussen’s 3s lead vanished with that crash.
Race officials halted the race for 11 minutes with a red flag after Foster’s accident to provide more time for track cleanup. On the ensuing restart on lap 31, Rasmussen powered away and drove to the checkered flag under sunny skies.
Rasmussen was cruising out front on lap 14 when his 2.7s lead evaporated due to a collision between the No. 51 Abel Motorsports car of Jacob Abel and the No. 75 Juncos Hollinger Racing machine of Matteo Nannini at the exit of Turn 17.
But Rasmussen pulled away quickly on the restart on lap 18, stretching his lead to 1.3s after just one lap. From there, he padded his lead by a few tenths of a second each lap around the roller coaster of a 17-turn, 2.3-mile circuit until the second caution period and red flag.
The next race is the Indy NXT by Firestone Grand Prix on Saturday, May 13 on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course (1 p.m. ET, Peacock, IndyCar Live, IndyCar Radio Network).