In yet another dominant weekend, HMD Motorsports brought home their eighth win of the season in INDY NXT by Firestone with Christian Rasmussen while David Malukas claimed his first podium of the season in the NTT INDYCAR SERIES with a third-place finish for Dale Coyne Racing with HMD Motorsports. Racing on the final oval of the season, both series took on World Wide Technology Raceway this past weekend outside St. Louis, Missouri.
As the weekend began, storms also began to come into the area and soaked the track surface. While Saturday’s schedule was supposed to include all practice and qualifying sessions for both series and the INDY NXT by Firestone race, the schedule was derailed and INDY NXT and the NTT INDYCAR SERIES were finally able to take to the track for practice that evening after nearly an eight-hour delay. With limited track availability, INDY NXT qualifying was canceled, and the grid was set by entrant points while the NTT INDYCAR SERIES qualifying was moved to Sunday morning.
Under the lights, INDY NXT by Firestone took the green flag for the INDY NXT by Firestone Outfront Showdown Saturday night. After a lackluster practice, HMD Motorsports came out of the gates strong for the race. Starting from the pole position, Christian Rasmussen quickly made a gap on track as he led the field around the 1.25-mile oval. Behind him, Danial Frost and Josh Pierson had stellar starts with Frost gaining three positions while Pierson gained six positions. By the next lap, Frost gained an additional two positions as he moved up into third. Christian Bogle and Ernie Francis, Jr. also each gained one position in the opening laps, taking over the 12th and tenth positions respectively. Over the next 20 laps, drivers settled into a rhythm, and by lap 24, Rasmussen began to catch the back of the field. For the next ten laps, as lapped traffic began to play a role, Nolan Siegel and Ernie Francis, Jr. each gained two positions and moved into sixth and eighth, Reece Gold and Christian Bogle moved up into tenth and 11th, and Christian Rasmussen briefly lost the lead before retaking his position at the front. After a late caution during laps 56-62, the field retook the green flag for the final stint and Christian Rasmussen claimed his fourth win of the season. Over the course of the race, all seven HMD Motorsports drivers remained on the lead lap and Ernie Francis, Jr. tied for the biggest-mover of the race after gaining four positions.
|Race Results – INDY NXT by Firestone:|
|Championship Update – INDY NXT by Firestone:|
With INDY NXT now moved out of the track, focus switched to the NTT INDYCAR SERIES and David Malukas on Sunday. In the morning qualifying session, Malukas qualified in tenth. However, after a series of penalties given to drivers ahead of him, Malukas took the green flag from the sixth position. With an incredible start, Malukas gained three positions on the opening lap, but a wreck at the rear of the field brought out a caution and Malukas was moved back into fourth after reordering the field. When the field retook the green flag ten laps later, Malukas again jumped back into third where he remained until pitstop cycles began. For the remainder of the race, Malukas maintained a consistent top-five position. With less than 20 laps remaining, Malukas briefly went a lap down in fourth for five laps before he began to charge his way to the front to finish the race in third and claim his first podium of the 2023 NTT INDYCAR SERIES.
Quickly switching gears, both INDY NXT by Firestone and the NTT INDYCAR SERIES will head to the West Coast for the next two weeks to finish out the 2023 season. First up will be Portland International Raceway this upcoming weekend, September 1-3. With two of the three possible wins at Portland International Raceway the past two seasons, HMD Motorsports will roll off the trucks strong. Home to HMD Motorsports first podium in 2019 with Toby Sowery, Portland International Raceway remains a special track to the young team.
Returning to eight drivers, HMD Motorsports will aim to earn their ninth win of the season in INDY NXT by Firestone. While Christian Rasmussen currently maintains a 50-point lead in the championship, three rounds still remain.
HMD Motorsports Entry List, Portland International Raceway
#6 Christian Rasmussen
#7 Christian Bogle
#10 Reece Gold
#14 Josh Pierson
#21 Kyffin Simpson
#39 Nolan Siegel
#68 Danial Frost
#99 Ernie Francis, Jr.
#18 David Malukas, Dale Coyne Racing w/ HMD (NTT INDYCAR SERIES)
Weekend Schedule · Portland International Raceway *All times ET
Friday, September 1
4:55 PM – 7:15 PM INDY NXT by Firestone Practice 1
6:00 PM – 7:15 PM NTT INDYCAR SERIES Practice 1
Saturday, September 2
12:00 PM – 1:00 PM NTT INDYCAR SERIES Practice 2
2:20 PM – 3:05 PM INDY NXT by Firestone Practice 2
3:30 PM – 5:00 PM NTT INDYCAR SERIES Qualifying
7:30 PM – 7:50 PM INDY NXT by Firestone Qualifying
8:15 PM – 8:45 PM NTT INDYCAR SERIES Final Practice
Sunday, September 3
1:10 PM – 2:20 PM INDY NXT by Firestone Race, 35 Laps
3:00 PM – 6:00 PM NTT INDYCAR SERIES Race, 110 Laps
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Photo Credit: RTD Media