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Rasmussen crowned Indy Nxt champion with dominant victory

by Bethonie Waring

Photo: James Black

Christian Rasmussen dominated the final race of the Indy Nxt season at Laguna Seca to take the 2023 title in style.

The HMD Motorsports driver only needed to start the race to become champion, but Rasmussen would go far beyond that point. 

He was untouchable throughout the race, starting with a good getaway that enabled him to instantly break away from the rest of the field. There was then an incident between Kyffin Simpson and Reece Gold that sent the latter into a spin. Gold was able to get going by himself but the pace car was brought out before he could get his car started. 

Rasmussen’s (former) title rival Hunter McElrea was unable to challenge him on the restart, and the leader had a far superior pace. His fastest lap six tenths of a second quicker than McElrea, and by the end of the 35-lap race contest he was 17.8813s clear of his Andretti Autosport-run opponent. 

McElrea himself had a comfortable gap to team-mate Louis Foster in third, who finished a second ahead of Juncos Hollinger Racing’s Matthew Brabham. 

The main battle in the second half of the race involved Jacob Abel and Danial Frost. Abel managed to find a way past after the restart, but would spend the remainder of the race with Frost on his tail. Frost couldn’t find a way back past and had to settle for sixth. 

James Roe Jr spent most of the race close behind that battle, but also had Francesco Pizzi behind to contend with. Pizzi ran wide over the kerbs as he tried to find a way past and ended the race with damage to his front wing. Roe would later spin, dropping to the back of the field.

Nolan Siegel avoided the drama to finish seventh, ahead of Ernie Francis Jr, Yuven Sundaramoorthy and Jagger Jones. 

Race results (35 laps)
Pos Driver Team Time
1 Christian Rasmussen HMD Motorsports
2 Hunter McElrea Andretti Autosport +17.8813s
3 Louis Foster Andretti Autosport +19.9417s
4 Matthew Brabham Juncos Racing +20.9423s
5 Jacob Abel Abel Motorsports +24.7039s
6 Danial Frost HMD Motorsports +25.0889s
7 Nolan Siegel HMD Motorsports +40.5302s
8 Ernie Francis Jr HMD Motorsports +41.2152s
9 Yuven Sundaramoorthy Abel Motorsports +41.8865s
10 Jagger Jones Cape Motorsports +46.1279s
11 Kiko Porto Cape Motorsports +46.4199s
12 Jamie Chadwick Andretti Autosport +51.1442s
13 Reece Gold HMD Motorsports +51.5776s
14 Victor Franzoni Juncos Racing +52.2342s
15 James Roe Jr Andretti Autosport +1m00.0982s
16 Christian Bogle HMD Motorsports +1m05.6808s
17 Kyffin Simpson HMD Motorsports +1 lap
Ret Francesco Pizzi Abel Motorsports
Fastest lap: Rasmussen, 1m12.7677s

Championship standings
Rasmussen 538   2 McElrea 473   3 Siegel 415   4 Foster 409   5 Abel 397   6 Frost 361   7 Roe 335   8 Gold 332   9 Francis 300   10 Simpson 283