Jay Howard Driver Development’s Christian Rasmussen edged closer to being crowned Indy Pro 2000 champion with victory in the penultimate race of the season at Mid-Ohio.
Rasmussen started second behind Exclusive Autosport’s Artem Petrov, but in just doing so knocked the Russian out of title contention, and held his position at the start.
It stayed that way until lap eight of 24, when Petrov slowed and Rasmussen got through into the lead.
However, he locked up not too long after taking to the front and Petrov was able to claw back into a small advantage Rasmussen had quickly built. Petrov himself had a lock=up late on, and his pace dropped off slightly as a result.
The order across the 12-car grid stagnated until the penultimate lap, when the caution flags were waved as Turn 3 Motorsport’s James Roe had his second off of the day, having gone off at The Keyhole while running in 11th.
Miller Vinatieri Motorsports’ Jack William Miller was also missing from the timing screens, and he was running behind Roe at the time. The final two laps ran under caution, securing Rasmussen’s victory.
As a result, the rookie has extended his championship lead to 27 points. There are 33 on the table on Sunday, with one point for pole and a minimum of nine up for grabs just for starting race two. That means making the green flag lap is enough for Rasmussen to become champion no matter what rival Braden Eves does.
Exclusive driver Eves finished third, and was pressured by Juncos Hollinger Racing’s Reece Gold throughout Saturday’s race but he was unable to find a way past on the twisty circuit.
The third Exclusive entry, driven by debutant Christian Brooks finished fifth, ahead of Abel Motorsports’ Jacob Abel.
Pabst Racing’s Hunter McElrea came seventh and took fastest lap ahead of series returnee Enaam Ahmed.
JHDD’s Wyatt Brichacek and Pabst debutant Jordan Missig rounded out the top 10 – the latter scrapping with Roe and Miller.
Miller had started in sixth but was forced wide at The Keyhole at the start. While he did initially gain a spot on Missig, he proceeded to drop back to last again after that before his late incident.
Race results (25 laps)
|2||Artem Petrov||Exclusive Autosport||+0.4290s|
|3||Braden Eves||Exclusive Autosport||+1.3866s|
|4||Reece Gold||Juncos Hollinger Racing||+2.0908s|
|5||Christian Brooks||Exclusive Autosport||+3.2536s|
|6||Jacob Abel||Abel Motorsports||+4.0697s|
|7||Hunter McElrea||Pabst Racing||+4.8290s|
|8||Enaam Ahmed||Juncos Hollinger Racing||+5.4623s|
|10||Jordan Missig||Pabst Racing||+6.4411s|
|Ret||James Roe Jr||Turn 3 Motorsport|
|Ret||Jack William Miller||Miller Vinatieri Motorsports|
|Fastest lap: McElrea, 1m17.7689s