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April 22, 2024

Rasmussen was hours away from losing ride during Indy NXT title run

Rasmussen was hours away from losing ride during Indy NXT title run

A native of Copenhagen, Denmark, Rasmussen is preparing for a partial season in 2024 with Ed Carpenter Racing, primarily focused on road and street events in addition to the Indianapolis 500.

The lifelong dream of advancing to IndyCar comes with the aid of $850,000 for claiming the 2023 Indy NXT title with HMD Motorsports following a dominant run of five wins, eight podiums, 10 top-five finishes and 13 top 10s in 14 races.

However, that achievement, which came in only his second season in top developmental category, nearly slipped away on multiple occasions.

“I am out of a very regular family, and obviously I’ve had great support from investors and sponsors during the way,” said Rasmussen, 23.

“But most of the budgets for each year has come from the scholarships. That was why like last year was very hard for us because that was the first time in a while where we didn’t have a scholarship, or I didn’t have a scholarship.

“We had to find a full budget. That proved to be very hard. We pushed through, but not without issues. Like three times during the year, we were less than 24 hours from losing my ride, which was hard. But we pushed through, made it happen, and still won the championship, which got me into IndyCar.”

Christian Rasmussen, HMD Motorsports with Dale Coyne Racing

Photo by: Penske Entertainment

Those issues began even before the season-opener in St. Petersburg, with another at the midway point of the year. Even more gut-wrenching, the third time happened entering the 11th round in St. Louis despite being firmly planted atop the overall standings as the points leader.

“I was able to save it and get some good help from a lot of different people, which was awesome, which helped me get through also,” said Rasmussen, who helped guide Era Motorsport to an LMP2 class victory in the Daytona 24 Hours last month.

“My team was very good working with me, partly also because at the end I was leading the championship. Obviously, they wanted to win a championship as well as I did. I think that helped. “I think if I weren’t leading the championship, I don’t think I would have been able to finish the year because I wouldn’t have that same wiggle room.”

The effort by all involved not only afforded Rasmussen the chance to punch his ticket to North America’s premier open-wheel championship, but also cemented his name in history alongside Kyle Kirkwood as only the second driver to earn titles on each step of the developmental ladder toward IndyCar — USF2000 (2020), USF Pro 2000 (2021) and Indy NXT (2023).

Now, coincidentally a year after financial constraints nearly shelved a title-winning season, Rasmussen put the drama in the rearview and has eyes focused on the journey ahead.

“It’s definitely a weight lifted off my shoulders,” Rasmussen said.

“Obviously, there’s still always pressure in racing. There’s always pressure to perform. You have to perform to stay in the game, especially in a competitive series like IndyCar.

“But having that financial burden off my shoulders is very, very great. I just look forward to start racing and focusing on my craft and getting better.”

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