Christian Rasmussen on track at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway during Indy Pro 2000 action in May 2021 Photo credit: Gavin Baker Photography/Road to Indy

By Steve Wittich

The command to fire the engines for the final Indy Pro 2000 race of the season at 11:35 am, only three hours after completing Race #2.

Of note: The Pabst Racing crew changed a power plant in the No. 18 of Hunter McElrea in between Race #2 and Race #3 in 90-minutes. That’s impressive.

For the third straight Indy Pro 2000 race, Reece Gold (Juncos Racing) and Braden Eves (Exclusive Autosport) started from the pole and outside pole.

Christian Rasmussen, who had a mechanical issue in Race #2, started on the inside of the second row but got a great start, going three-wide with Gold and Eves into Turn 1. The trio all emerged safely, with Rasmussen grabbing the lead.

Eves, who started on the outside of the first row, fell to fourth.

The running order at the end of the first lap was Rasmussen, Gold, Enaam Ahmed (RP Motorsport), Eves, Kyffin Simpson (Juncos Racing), Jacob Abel (Abel Motorsports), Hunter McElrea (Pabst Racing), Wyatt Brichacek (Jay Howard Driver Development), Manuel Sulaiman (Juncos Racing), Jack William Miller (Miller Vinatieri Motorsports), Artem Petrov (Juncos Racing), James Roe (

1 55 77 91 21 51 18 5 22 40 42 3 5

On Lap 5, McElrea was able to get around for sixth Abel.

On Lap 7, Race #2 winner Petrov moved around Sulaiman for the eighth spot. A lap later, the Road To Success/Bell Helmets/226ers sponsored No. 42 gained another place, getting past Abel for seventh.

After ten laps, Rasmussen’s lead over Gold was over one second for the first time. Ahmed was one second behind Gold in third. Eves, Simpson, McElrea, Petrov, Sulaiman, Miller, and Abel rounded out the top ten.

At the crossed flags used to signify the race’s halfway point, Rasmussen’s lead was 1.3 seconds. The best battle on the track was for tenth. Abel held the spot, but he was facing immense pressure from Roe and Kaminsky.

Eves was hounding Ahmed for the final spot on the podium with ten laps remaining, starting Lap 15 only six-tenths of a second behind the RP Motorsport rookie. The Exclusive Autosport veteran was able to get by the rookie in Turn 7 with six laps remaining.

With five laps remaining, Petrov got another spot, passing McElrea for sixth.

When they crossed the line to start Lap 21, the gap between the front two drivers was down to 0.5 seconds, the gap getting visibly smaller as the race wound down.

On Lap 21, Petrov moved into the top five, getting around Simpson in Turn 1.

Gold kept the pressure on Rasmussen but couldn’t get close enough to attempt a pass for the lead.

Indy Pro 2000 Grand Prix of Indianapolis Presented by Cooper Tires Race #3 results

1 1 Christian Rasmussen Jay Howard Driver Development LAP 25
2 55 Reece Gold Juncos Racing -0.6399
3 91 Braden Eves Exclusive Autosport -1.7759
4 77 Enaam Ahmed RP Motorsport USA -3.7063
5 42 Artem Petrov Exclusive Autosport -10.3821
6 21 Kyffin Simpson Juncos Racing -11.798
7 18 Hunter McElrea Pabst Racing -13.0934
8 22 Manuel Sulaiman Juncos Racing -14.5481
9 40 Jack William Miller Miller Vinatieri Motorsports -18.3635
10 27 Colin Kaminsky Pabst Racing -28.0735
11 3 James Roe Turn 3 Motorsport -29.3271
12 5 Wyatt Brichacek Jay Howard Driver Development -30.0439
13 51 Jacob Abel Abel Motorsports DNF – Mechanical