Christian Rasmussen and the JHDD, CSU | One Cure/Lucas Oil sponsored No. 1 on track at the New Jersey Motorsports Park Photo credit: Gavin Baker Photography/Road to Indy

By Steve Wittich

A lap of 74.4936 seconds turned by championship leader and Jay Howard Driver Development rookie Christian Rasmussen led the lone Indy Pro 2000 practice session at the New Jersey Motorsports Park.

The top five drivers in the session were within one-tenth-of-a-second of each other, making the always entertaining qualifying even more critical.

Hunter McElrea (Pabst Racing), Wyatt Brichacek (Jay Howard Driver Development), Braden Eves (Exclusive Autosport), and Reece Gold (Juncos Racing) rounded out the top five.

At the session’s halfway point, McElrea held the top spot, followed by Eves and Gold.

Three drivers – Rasmussen, Brichacek, and Jacob Abel (Abel Motorsports) had yet to complete a lap.

It didn’t take long for the Jay Howard Driver Development rookies to get up to speed, with the points leader going to the top of the timing screen on only his second lap of the half-hour session.

With seven minutes left in the session, Eves continued to get quicker, getting to within one-tenth-of-a-second of Rasmussen on his 11th lap of practice.

Late in the session, McElrea went back on track, turning his quickest lap on his 12th circuit on the 2.14-mile, 12-turn road course.

Both Jay Howard Driver Development drivers ended their sessions early, turning only four (Rasmussen) and seven laps (Brichacek).

Indy Pro 2000 Championship Presented by Cooper Tires at New Jersey Motorsports Park Practice Results

1 1 Christian Rasmussen Jay Howard Driver Development 1:14.4936 —— 4
2 18 Hunter McElrea Pabst Racing 1:14.5129 0.0193 14
3 5 Wyatt Brichacek Jay Howard Driver Development 1:14.5785 0.0849 7
4 91 Braden Eves Exclusive Autosport 1:14.6011 0.1075 18
5 55 Reece Gold Juncos Racing 1:14.6327 0.1391 14
6 51 Jacob Abel Abel Motorsports 1:14.7998 0.3062 7
7 42 Artem Petrov Exclusive Autosport 1:14.8302 0.3366 10
8 40 Jack William Miller Miller Vinatieri Motorsports 1:15.1194 0.6258 16
9 3 James Roe Turn 3 Motorsport 1:15.3677 0.8741 16
10 21 Kyffin Simpson Juncos Racing 1:15.4754 0.9818 15

The middle rung of the Road To Indy is back on track for qualifying at 1 pm.