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Race report

Indy NXT Iowa: Rasmussen beats Abel by 0.1227s, Siegel spins out

Christian Rasmussen won the rain-delayed Indy NXT race at Iowa Speedway, the first oval round of the season, by just a tenth of a second from Jacob Abel.

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After being delayed from its 10:00am start time to 6:30pm in the evening due to the rain that impacted IndyCar Series qualifying, polewinner Abel led the 16-car field to green in the 75-lap race.

Rasmussen challenged Abel from the start, grabbing the lead at the end of the opening lap. Abel attempted to retaliate but that only allowed points leader Nolan Siegel to get a run. But when that attack didn’t work, Hunter McElrea snatched third from Siegel for half a lap, before Siegel took it back.

That allowed Mid-Ohio winner Louis Foster to get a run on McElrea but the race order was established with Rasmussen leading Abel by 1.5s from Siegel, McElrea and Foster. Further back, Danial Frost and Kyffin Simpson clashed wheels and sent both pitwards.

Rasmussen began to hit traffic on lap 20, making short work of the tailenders despite having a near-miss with Jamie Chadwick. Siegel grabbed second from Abel after a wild three-wide moment in traffic, with Abel losing a further spot to McElrea after he lost momentum.

That helped race dominator Rasmussen extend a 10s lead by the halfway point. Abel reclaimed third from McElrea when he tripped over Chadwick, but McElrea responded a lap later to snatch back third.

Behind them, Juncos Hollinger Racing team-mates Rasmus Lindh and Matty Brabham – who was a late substitute for Matteo Nannini – swept past Foster for fifth and sixth respectively.

McElrea lost third to Abel again after a hugely sketchy moment in traffic at Turn 4, but McElrea passed him back around the outside of Turns 3 and 4 with 21 laps to go.

McElrea caught second-placed Siegel but they touched wheels at Turn 2, causing Siegel to spin. That caused a full-course yellow, with Siegel rejoining in sixth but then pitting as his car was crabbing. He was classified 15th and loses his points lead as a result.

The race restarted with 10 laps remaining, with Rasmussen leading McElrea, Abel, Lindh, Brabham and Foster. McElrea struggled in the latter stages after his clash, and was passed by Abel, Lindh and Brabham.

Abel then charged after Rasmussen, but just fell short of catching him on the final lap. Rasmussen won by 0.1227s from Abel, Lindh, Brabham and McElrea. Josh Pierson was a lapped sixth, ahead of Foster.

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