Home Featured Rasmussen tops Indy Nxt’s Gateway practice as qualifying is called off

Rasmussen tops Indy Nxt’s Gateway practice as qualifying is called off

by Ida Wood

Photo: Penske Entertainment/James Black

Heavy rain has overhauled the schedule for Indy Nxt’s one-day round at the Gateway oval, and left Christian Rasmussen with pole.

Qualifying has been called off, with the grid now being set by entrant points, while the sole half-hour practice session took place over nine hours late than scheduled at 6pm on Saturday. The race was set to start at 2:25pm, and now has a provisional start time of 8:50pm.

Although the practice times would count for nothing, HMD Motorsports’ points leader Rasmussen showed he would have likely started on pole regardles as he went fastest by over half a second in practice, which equated to a speed advantage of over 3mph.

It only two attempts for him to lap at 150mph, with his 29.829s laptime only beaten by himself and one other driver through the rest of practice.

Jacob Abel was his closest rival at first, 0.3051s back, then yellow flags were out as HMD’s Nolan Siegel spun at turn two and his team-mate Ernie Francis Jr then also spun at the corner as came into it a few seconds later and made light contact with Siegel’s stationary car.

Siegel said “there was no grip” following the day-long rain that had preceded the session, and as he was “in a pack of cars” he got caught out when he came off throttle in reaction to the cars ahead. The rear-end of his car swung up and around into the barriers, with Francis crashing in a similar way and also lamenting the low-grip surface of the oval.

It took seven minutes before the clear-up was complete and the track went green again, and after a few minutes Rasmussen was back up to speed. He set a new 151.256mph benchmark, while Andretti Autosport’s Hunter McElrea went fourth fastest behind Juncos Hollinger Racing’s Rasmus Lindh.

McElrea moved up to third with 13 minutes left of practice, and was just short of the 150-mph mark, while Rasmussen had improved again to 151.465mph.

It took a few more laps for McElrea to get faster, and he set a 150.879mph lap to rise into second place as HMD’s Christian Bogle went from seventh to fourth by breaking the 150mph barrier.

McElrea improved to 151.265mph next tome by, but Rasmussen then lapped at 153.418mph and Andretti’s Louis Foster set a 150.152mph lap to climb to third.

Rasmussen’s fastest lap, a 29.1511s at 154.368mph, was set for Lindh brought out yellow flags with just under seven minutes remaining by spinning off pit road. Four minutes later he spun at turn two, and the resultant yellows stopped others from improving.

Free practice results

Pos Driver Team Speed Time Gap
1 Christian Rasmussen HMD Motorsports 154.368mph 29.1511s
2 Hunter McElrea Andretti Autosport 151.265mph 29.7491s +0.5980s
3 Louis Foster Andretti Autosport 150.152mph 29.9697s +0.8186s
4 Jacob Abel Abel Motorsports 150.093mph 29.9815s +0.8304s
5 Christian Bogle HMD Motorsports 150.038mph 29.9924s +0.8413s
6 Matthew Brabham Juncos Hollinger Racing 149.843mph 30.0314s +0.8803s
7 Rasmus Lindh Juncos Hollinger Racing 149.129mph 30.1753s +1.0242s
8 Reece Gold HMD Motorsports 148.829mph 30.2360s +1.0849s
9 James Roe Jr Andretti Autosport 148.289mph 30.3462s +1.1951s
10 Danial Frost HMD Motorsports 148.236mph 30.3570s +1.2059s
11 Jamie Chadwick Andretti Autosport 148.184mph 30.3677s +1.2166s
12 Josh Pierson HMD Motorsports 147.720mph 30.4631s +1.3120s
13 Nolan Siegel HMD Motorsports 146.781mph 30.6580s +1.5069s
14 Ernie Francis Jr HMD Motorsports 146.736mph 30.6674s +1.5163s
15 Colin Kaminsky Abel Motorsports 144.391mph 31.1654s +2.0143s