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Race report

Indy NXT Barber: Rasmussen dominates, leads 1-2-3 for HMD

Christian Rasmussen led the Indy NXT race at Barber Motorsports Park from green flag to checkered flag, but had to survive restarts after a yellow flag and a red flag.

Christian Rasmussen, HMD Motorsports with Dale Coyne Racing

Photo by: Indy Lights

Christian Rasmussen burst away from pole leading HMD Motorsports teammate Nolan Siegel, while Louis Foster and Hunter McElrea led the Andretti Autosport charge in third and fourth.

However, Kyffin Simpson (HMD), who had passed series returnee Toby Sowery on the opening lap, made a late dive on McElrea at Turn 5 on Lap 2 and his right-front made contact with the Andretti car’s left-rear and spun it around. Thus Sowery moved into fourth ahead of two of his HMD teammates Danial Frost and Josh Green.

While Rasmussen eked out a 2.5s lead out front, Foster was putting pressure on Siegel for second. Close behind them, on Lap 7, Sowery had a wild moment on the grass at the crest of Turn 15, allowing Frost and Green ahead.

On Lap 14, Matteo Nannini (Juncos Hollinger Racing) appeared to try and crowd Jacob Abel (Abel Motorsport) off the track out of the final corner while making a pass. The pair made contact and then struck the barriers on the right side of the track which brought out the full-course caution. It was a bad moment for JHR as it also had Reece Gold on pitlane with a mechanical issue.

The Lap 19 restart was uneventful until Turn 5 when Frost passed Foster around the outside of the downhill left-hand hairpin. However, Foster kept him under pressure along to the tricky Turn 8/9 sequence and got back through, after which Frost made a couple more errors, that allowed Sowery, Green and James Roe ahead of him. However, Roe was ordered by Race Control to give up sixth as he was pinged for blocking.

Frost would gain another spot when Foster appeared to make an unforced error at Turn 8 but he reported to his team a stuck throttle. The car skipped across the gravel and into the barrier, bringing out another full course caution, which turned into a red flag, as the rescue truck got stuck in the mud, after overnight rain.

HMD now ran a 1-2-3-4-5, comprising Rasmussen, Siegel, Sowery, Green and Frost, and at the restart with four laps to go they remained in order, although Enaam Ahmed passed Roe to gain sixth.

Rasmussen eased away from Siegel to win by two seconds, with Sowery just 0.4s further back.

Sadly, as Frost tried to take Green for fifth, he clouted the Turn 12 curb much too hard, launched and couldn’t stop his car from striking the rear of Green’s car, sending them both off the track. Ahmed thus scooped a surprise fourth, with Colin Kaminsky fifth for Abel Motorsport.

 

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