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Rasmussen takes Indy Nxt lead with victory on Iowa oval

by Bethonie Waring

Photo: Travis Hinkle

HMD Motorsports’ Christian Rasmussen took the Indy Nxt points lead with victory in the first oval race of the season at Iowa Speedway.

Rasmussen led almost the whole way, and was nearly denied the win on the final lap by a late charge from Jacob Abel. The pair were separated by just 0.1227 seconds at the chequered flag. 

Abel started from pole, and Rasmussen went down the inside of him to take the lead on lap two of 75. The poleman tried to fight back but could not hold onto Rasmussen and found himself under attack from Nolan Siegel. 

As Abel slipped backwards, Rasmussen gradually extended his lead, and it grew even more as he moved past backmarkers to lap. By the chequered flag, he had lapped all but four of his rivals. 

Abel slipped behind Hunter McElrea and into fourth, but stayed close behind the Andretti Autoport driver. The pair spent most of the race battling, but remained close to Siegel. They swapped positions a number of times, normally as they passed lapped traffic.

Late in the race, McElrea was ahead of Abel and took the fight to Siegel ahead. The pair made slight contact and Siegel was sent sideways. He dropped down the order before coming into the pits with a damaged toe link.  

The incident triggered a caution, reducing Rasmussen’s lead of over 10 seconds down to nothing. On the restart, however, McElrea and Abel resumed their battle, allowing Rasmussen to break free again. 

Abel won the battle for second and closed back into Rasmussen in the final laps. He pulled alongside the long-time race leader on the final lap, but couldn’t quite get his nose ahead by the chequered flag. 

Victory for Rasmussen while Siegel ended the race in the pits means the latter drops to second in the championship standings.

Rasmus Lindh joined the battle for second late on and found a way past McElrea to take third. His Juncos Hollinger Racing team-mate Matthew Brabham, making his series return, followed him through as the pair rose from 10th and 11th on the grid to finish third and fourth. 

McElrea and Siegel were not the only drivers to run into trouble. Danial Frost and Kyffin Simpson made contact early on, forcing both to the pits, and Simpson would end his race there due to damage to his car. Frost finished, but multiple laps down.

The final driver not to be lapped was McElrea in fifth. Behind him Josh Pierson, Louis Foster and Ernie Francis Jr.

Race result (75 laps)
Pos Driver Team Time
1 Christian Rasmussen HMD Motorsports 27m54.7852s
2 Jacob Abel Abel Motorsports +0.1227s
3 Rasmus Lindh Juncos Hollinger Racing +1.3611s
4 Matthew Brabham Juncos Hollinger Racing +2.5090s
5 Hunter McElrea Andretti Autosport +5.6279s
6 Josh Pierson HMD Motorsports +1 lap
7 Louis Foster Andretti Autosport +1 lap
8 Ernie Francis Jr HMD Motorsports +1 lap
9 James Roe Jr Andretti Autosport +1 lap
10 Jamie Chadwick Andretti Autosport +2 laps
11 Jagger Jones Cape Motorsports +2 laps
12 Reece Gold HMD Motorsports +2 laps
13 Christian Bogle HMD Motorsports +3 laps
14 Danial Frost HMD Motorsports +5 laps
Ret Nolan Siegel HMD Motorsports
Ret Kyffin Simpson HMD Motorsports
Fastest lap: Foster, 20.0662s (160.389mph)

Championship standings
1 Rasmussen 281   2 Siegel 259   3 Abel 238   4 McElrea 235   5 Foster 228   6 Gold 203   7 Frost 193   8 Roe 187   9 Simpson 176   10 Francis 172