Rasmussen Aiming to Keep Pole-to-Victory Trend Alive at Mid-Ohio

Christian Rasmussen is eager to keep an INDY NXT by Firestone trend going Sunday at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course.
Since 2013, 13 of the 16 pole winners have won the race, including six of the past seven. Saturday, Rasmussen earned the prized starting position for the INDY NXT by Firestone Grand Prix at Mid-Ohio (11:40 a.m. ET, Peacock, INDYCAR LIVE, INDYCAR Radio Network).
However, Rasmussen didn’t have much breathing room in the qualifying session, completing his best lap just .0107 seconds faster than that of second-place Louis Foster.
“It’s awesome,” said Rasmussen, the driver of the No. 6 HMD Motorsports with Dale Coyne Racing car. “It was kind of a wild session. It was about getting a free lap and then people started to go by each other – it’s kind of a gentleman’s agreement in this series that you don’t do that – but we managed to pull it off.
“On my second-to-last lap I managed to pull a gap but even though I created a gap I caught up to (a slower car) by so much. So, the last bit of the lap I had aero wash. But yeah, we pulled it off. That’s half the battle around here. So, let’s go finish it tomorrow.”
Rasmussen’s victory this season came April 30 in the INDY NXT by Firestone Grand Prix of Alabama at Barber Motorsports Park.
Rasmussen could be in for an important day relative to the series championship. He stands 40 points behind pacesetter Nolan Siegel, who starts sixth in the No. 39 HMD Motorsports with Dale Coyne Racing entry following a best lap of 1:11.9676. Siegel has won the past two races in the series.
If Rasmussen doesn’t win his second race of the season, history suggests the winner will be a driver starting in the first two rows as Mid-Ohio’s other series winners over the past decade have started in the second, third and fourth positions. That bodes well for Foster, Kyffin Simpson and Hunter McElrea, respectively, who will occupy those positions when the green flag waves.
Foster will start alongside Rasmussen on the front row after posting a lap of 1:11.5105 in the No. 26 Copart/USF Pro Championship car of Andretti Autosport. Simpson, who drives the No. 5 HMD Motorsports with Chip Ganassi Racing entry, will grid third (1:11.5905) with McElrea fourth in the No. 21 Smart Motors car of Andretti Autosport.
McElrea won last year’s race from the pole, leading all 35 laps. Kyle Kirkwood, Oliver Askew and Pato O’Ward are other recent INDY NXT drivers to win Mid-Ohio from the pole.
Sunday’s race will be the seventh in the 14-race season.
IndyCar NXT PR