Friday, June 2, 2023

Christian Rasmussen Dominant at Barber; Scores Third-Career IndyCar NXT Win

Christian Rasmussen IndyCar NXT Barber win 2023 HMD Motorsports
Christian Rasmussen scored his first IndyCar NXT win of the 2023 season after a dominant performance Sunday at Barber Motorsports Park. Photo Credit: Penske Entertainment: Karl Zemlin

Christian Rasmussen started from the pole, after setting a track record in qualifying, and dominated down the stretch in Sunday’s GP of Alabama at Barber Motorsports Park to score his first win of the 2023 IndyCar NXT season. The victory marks the third win of the 22-year-old’s career in the series.

While the HMD Motorsports driver was the dominant force throughout the 35-lap event, Rasmussen had to endure a few late-race restarts, including the final one with four laps remaining, in order to score the victory.

If you were unable to watch Sunday’s race, here was the scene on the Peacock broadcast as Rasmussen took the win:

Rasmussen turned in a perfect race from behind the wheel, as he led all 35 laps in the contest, but the driver says the credit for his dominant weekend belongs to his race team.

“I think the HMD boys just gave us an amazing car all weekend,” Rasmussen said after climbing from his car. “Right from the get-go in first practice we were on top, and we just continued that all weekend. It was pure HMD domination all weekend, and I can’t thank them enough. They make me look good out there.”

Rasmussen, a native of Copenhagen, Denmark, finished sixth in the IndyCar NXT championship standings a season ago while driving for Andretti Autosport. The young racer announced a move to HMD Motorsports in the offseason, and he has gotten off to a very swift start this season, as he will assume the point lead heading into the third race of the season.

Rasmussen now holds a five-point lead over Siegel.

Rasmussen’s HMD Motorsports teammate Nolan Siegel was able to hang onto the runner-up finish after a fierce battle with Toby Sowery over the final four circuits of Sunday’s race.

Behind the podium finishers was Enaam Ahmed in fourth and James Roe in fifth. The top-five finishes for Ahmed and Roe were made possible due to a crash on the final lap between HMD Motorsports teammates Danial Frost and Josh Green.

In the incident, it appeared that Frost, the point leader heading into the day, hopped his No. 68 machine onto a curb, which skipped his car into the rear of his teammate, which sent Green crashing as well.

Frost would limp home to a ninth-place finish, while Green would come in right behind him in the 10th position. But IndyCar officials issued a penalty to Frost for causing the incident, which resulted in the two drivers swapping finishing positions.

Race Results: IndyCar NXT GP of Alabama at Barber Motorsports Park

FinNo.DriverLapsDiffStatusFastest Lap
16Christian Rasmussen35--Running1:12.2818
239Nolan Siegel351.9983Running1:12.5565
314Toby Sowery352.4034Running1:12.2960
447Enaam Ahmed357.2734Running1:13.2055
529James Roe358.1976Running1:12.9329
657Colin Kaminsky359.2278Running1:13.4078
77Christian Bogle359.6447Running1:13.3894
899Ernie Francis Jr.3510.1627Running1:13.4357
93Josh Green3540.9199Running1:12.5243
1068Danial Frost3543.2945Running1:12.5122
1128Jamie Chadwick323 lapsRunning1:13.8914
1298Jagger Jones305 lapsRunning1:13.0825
1327Hunter McElrea305 lapsRunning1:12.3293
1426Louis Foster2510 lapsContact1:12.4976
1575Matteo Nannini1322 lapsContact1:13.2678
1651Jacob Abel1322 lapsContact1:13.2382
1776Reece Gold1322 lapsMachanical1:13.2496
1821Kyffin Simpson035 lapsDQ--

Foster OK After Scary Incident

Another driver that had a solid run going in Sunday’s GP, but failed to get the finish they deserved was Andretti Autosport driver Louis Foster.

On Lap 26, Foster went off course while running third, skipped through the gravel trap, and collided with the barrier to end his race. At the time of the incident, Foster stated on the team radio that he felt the throttle stuck on his No. 26 car, however, when conducting an interview afterward, Foster explained that the team has yet to discover the issue that led to the end of his race just yet.

“Just kind of felt like the car was driving itself down the hill,” Foster said. “Wasn’t able to downshift. I was kind of a passenger really. We’ll look to see what the data says to see if there is anything we can fix. At this point in time, I don’t really have any information, I can’t really say much.”

Fortunately, Foster was okay after a crash, where he explained he had no control over what the car was doing.

Jacob Abel vs Matteo Nannini

It was kind of a wild day at Barber Motorsports Park for the Indy NXT Series as there were numerous run-ins throughout the entire event. On Lap 13, Jacob Abel and Matteo Nannini had a difference of opinion. The two drivers crashed while battling for ninth place.

After climbing from his car, Abel explained that he felt the crash occurred when he just wasn’t given the proper room in the battle with Nannini.

“I saw Nannimi was slowing down a little bit, and I saw it as an opportunity to kind of mount a charge. I started using a lot of push-to-pass, and had a run and got him into the second-to-last corner there. Got alongside him, and gave him enough room to stay there. I expected him to give me the same room through the last corner, and he did for a little bit. And then I got on the push-to-pass again and he turned straight across my nose. I don’t really know what else I could have done there,” Abel explained to the Peacock broadcast team.

And while Nannini was reserved in a post-crash interview on Peacock, Abel said that when he spoke to Nannini that his competitor shoveled all of the blame on him.

“He basically thought it was all my fault,” Abel scoffed. “It was pretty interesting, there. I kind of asked him what he had raced before this, and kind of what his experience is because I had never talked to the guy before, and he said he felt more experienced than any driver in the field. Pretty interesting there, and a little embarrassing.”

Kyffin Simpson Disqualified

On Lap 2 of Sunday’s race, Kyffin Simpson made a divebomb move that ultimately did not pay off, as he made contact with Hunter McElrea. The contact sent McElrea spinning, and it caused significant damage to the cars of both drivers.

After his team spent several laps repairing his No. 21 car, Simpson returned to the track. Upon return to the track, Simpson was assessed with a drive-through penalty for causing the incident with McElrea. However, Simpson failed to serve the penalty and was eventually disqualified from the race mid-event.

While it looked like a defiant move by the young racer, Simpson explained that the radio communication system between him and his race engineer was not working, which caused him to not know that he had been black-flagged.

“Yeah, I wasn’t hearing what my engineer Alex was saying, unfortunately,” Simpson stated. “Every time I would go by, I radio back to him, ‘What are you saying,’ and he couldn’t hear me either. So, that didn’t help things. Really unfortunate. This car was really quick today. It is what it is, but bummer.”

Simpson would be credited with a last-place finish in 18th.

Toby Christie
Toby Christie
Toby is the Founder, and Editor-in-Chief of Toby is also the co-host of The Final Lap Weekly Podcast. Additionally, he is a NMPA (National Motorsports Press Association) award-winning writer, and has followed the sport as a fan since 1993.

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