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Race report
Indy NXT Gateway

Indy NXT St Louis: Rasmussen wins despite backmarker drama

Championship leader Christian Rasmussen won the rain-delayed Indy NXT race at World Wide Technology Raceway, but his victory wasn’t helped by some uncooperative tailender traffic.

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After being delayed from its afternoon start time to 9:50pm under the floodlights in the evening due to rain, Rasmussen led the 15-car field to green in the 75-lap race as the field was set by points order for the final oval race of the season.

Rasmussen headed Hunter McElrea, Nolan Siegel, Jacob Abel and Louis Foster to the green.

James Roe surged around the outside to grab third from sixth on the grid, before Danial Frost – who started eighth – did the same to him a corner later to snatch third away. Matty Brabham was also on the move, jumping up from 11th to fifth over the frantic opening three laps.

Nashville rivals Foster and Abel banged wheels as Foster forced his way through on lap 10, the pair having another near miss soon after.

Foster and Abel quickly dealt with Siegel to run sixth and seventh respectively, then Foster pulled a brutal move on Brabham at Turn 1 that allowed Abel to follow by him too.

Rasmussen suffered a big moment at Turn 2 on lap 14, which briefly allowed McElrea to close in, but the Dane extended his lead to 2s by lap 22. But he hit backmarkers four laps later, losing all his advantage while lapping tailender Colin Kaminsky.

Rasmussen then tripped over backmarkers Jamie Chadwick and Rasmus Lindh, losing enough momentum to cost him the lead to McElrea.

Rasmussen bounced back by cleverly using Lindh as a pick on McElrea just after half distance, and pulled away by over 4s. While Rasmussen was by far the quickest in clean air, when he caught more backmarkers he struggled badly and McElrea closed in once again.

Roe came to his rescue by crashing out with 20 laps to go, causing a full-course caution.

That led to a 12-lap sprint to the finish, with Rasmussen leading McElrea, Frost, Foster and Abel.

McElrea attacked Rasmussen into Turn 3 with 10 laps to go, but Foster passed Frost and then McElrea in quick succession, as Abel overtook Frost for fourth after brushing wheels.

Rasmussen remained out of Foster’s reach in the closing stages, recording his fourth victory of the season, with McElrea finishing third from Abel, Frost, Siegel and Brabham.

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