BROWNSBURG, Ind. – Denmark’s Christian Rasmussen produced another dominant performance Friday evening in the Cooper Tires Freedom 75 at Lucas Oil Raceway at Indianapolis.
Rasmussen won handsomely for the sixth USF2000 race in a row for Jay Howard Driver Development.
Reece Gold extended his streak of podium finishes to four for Cape Motorsports, while local driver Jack William Miller, from Carmel, Ind., overcame Michael d’Orlando to secure his first-ever podium finish for Miller Vinatieri Motorsports.
After the initial attempt at a start was waved off due to outside front row starter Gold jumping on the throttle with a little too much alacrity, the race ran clean and green for the remainder of the 75-lap distance.
Rasmussen, who claimed the Cooper Tires Pole Award during two-lap, single-car qualifying Thursday, withstood a strong early challenge from Gold. The 15-year-old in turn was chased by teammate d’Orlando, who had muscled his way past third-place qualifier Miller on the opening lap.
Josh Green] also made a fine start, vaulting from sixth on the grid to fourth in a third Cape Motorsports Tatuus USF-17, leaving Miller having to slot into fifth ahead of Christian Brooks.
Gold set what was to stand as the fastest lap of the race on lap six, but Rasmussen’s metronomic consistency soon enabled him to edge away from the continuing battle for second.
By the halfway point, the margin between first and second remained at less than two seconds, but as the leaders encountered some lapped traffic, Rasmussen was able to carve through more effectively and extend his advantage.
Rasmussen eventually took the checkered flag 6.4997 seconds ahead of Gold to earn car owner – and former series champion – Jay Howard his sixth successive PFC Award.
Gold and d’Orlando edged away from Green through the middle stages of an intense race, with Miller and Brooks, seemingly inseparable in fifth and sixth, instead closing in.
Miller took advantage of some slower traffic to nip past Green with 10 laps remaining, and then pulled a similar move on d’Orlando just three laps from the finish to clinch his podium result after a fine performance.
Green, unable to work his way through traffic as clearly as his rivals, also slipped behind Brooks, who emerged as the top rookie finisher in fifth.
Green just held on ahead of Englishman Matt Round-Garrido, with Kyle Dupell and two more Pabst cars, driven by Yuven Sundaramoorthy and Brazilian Eduardo Barrichello, completing the top 10.
Prescott Campbell also impressed for Exclusive Autosport.
Starting 19th and last due to an infraction in qualifying, Campbell worked his way up to 12th place to secure the Tilton Hard Charger Award.