BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (Saturday, April 29, 2023) – Christian Rasmussen won the pole for the INDY NXT Grand Prix of Alabama on Saturday, leading a train of 13 drivers quicker than the track record at Barber Motorsports Park.
Rasmussen, from Denmark, saved his best lap for last in the frantic, eight-minute session, earning his second career INDY NXT pole with a time of 1 minute, 10.7371 seconds in the No. 6 HMD Motorsports with Dale Coyne Racing entry. That lap obliterated the track record of 1:11.5149 set by Linus Lundqvist during qualifying in 2021 on the 17-turn, 2.3-mile road course.
“It was really just about getting a free lap,” Rasmussen said. “There was so much traffic out there. Very happy and got it strung together at the end, got a free lap. It was enough. That’s part one done. Now we have part two tomorrow, and hopefully we can stay in front.”
The 35-lap race is scheduled for 12:55 p.m. Sunday (live on Peacock, INDYCAR Radio Network).
Rookie Nolan Siegel, quickest in practice Saturday morning, will join Rasmussen on the front row after his best lap of 1:10.8682 in the No. 39 HMD Motorsports with DCR car. Fellow rookie Louis Foster qualified third at 1:10.9247 in the No. 26 Copart/USF Pro Championship machine fielded by Andretti Autosport.
A top-three starting position has been an essential path to victory at this race. In 17 INDY NXT races at Barber, the winner has come from the first three starting spots. The pole sitter has won 14 times and finished second three times, a good omen for Rasmussen.
“When you look back at history, 14 out of the last 17 races have been won from pole,” Rasmussen said. “We’ll just try to replicate that.”
Veteran Hunter McElrea helped Andretti Autosport lock out the second row of the starting grid by qualifying fourth at 1:11.0690 in the No. 27 Smart Motors car.
Toby Sowery, making his first INDY NXT start since 2021, qualified fifth at 1:11.0836 in the No. 14 HMD Motorsports with Dale Coyne Racing car. His teammate Kyffin Simpson rounded out the third row of the grid after his best lap of 1:11.1578 in the No. 21 HMD Motorsports with CGR entry.
Categories: Road to Indy, Starting Line-Up
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