Christian Rasmussen earned the top starting spot for the OUTFRONT Showdown for INDY NXT by Firestone tonight by entrant points after qualifying was rained out, but he also showed he had the speed to deserve that position by leading practice.
Championship leader Rasmussen dominated the 30-minute session with a top lap of 154.368 mph in the No. 6 HMD Motorsports with DCR car. He was more than 3 mph faster than his closest pursuer on the 1.25-mile oval at World Wide Technology Raceway, as his nearest rival in the standings, Hunter McElrea, was second at 151.265 in the No. 27 Smart Motors car fielded by Andretti Autosport.
SEE: Practice Results | Starting Lineup
“We were quick, which I’m happy with, but we’ll see for the race,” Rasmussen said. “It seems like tires are behaving a little bit different (from the open test earlier this summer). I’m very confident, and I showed in this session that I’m the quickest guy out there.”
The 75-lap race starts at 9:50 p.m. ET tonight, with live coverage on Peacock and the INDYCAR Radio Network. McElrea will join Rasmussen in the front row of the starting grid.
Louis Foster was third overall and the fastest rookie at 150.152 in the No. 26 Copart/USF Pro Championship car fielded by Andretti Autosport.
Jacob Abel was fourth at 150.093 in the No. 51 Abel Motorsports car, while Christian Bogle rounded out the top five at 150.038 in the No. 7 HMD Motorsports with DCR machine.
The HMD Motorsports crews of Nolan Siegel and Ernie Francis Jr. will have plenty of work to get their respective driver’s cars ready for the race after an incident between the two drivers four minutes into the session after all-day rain washed away the rubber on the asphalt.
Siegel’s No. 39 HMD Motorsports with DCR car did a lazy spin into the Turn 1 SAFER Barrier after losing rear grip on the green track. Francis, trailing in the No. 99 HMD Motorsports with Force Indy car, lifted to avoid the incident and instead spun into Siegel’s stationary car.
Both drivers were unhurt, but both cars suffered moderate damage.