Ahead of the season finale at Laguna Seca, Christian was situated at the 5th spot in the USF2000 Championship. It was not possible to get to the first and second place, while it was, theoretically possible to get even to the 3rd place. It would be a tough task though, as Christian had to beat two very skilled drivers on his way, with 12 and 17 points, respectively to advance. Despite misfortune during the weekend, there was succes in the end. Along the way the name “Rasmussen” was mentioned many times by the commentators. Both In livestreaming of the race, and in the “Winners Circle”. A brilliant first race victory and a dramatic second race P2 finish, ment that Christian, in his rookie season in USF2000 ended up with a P3 in the championship. An achievement that has been applauded widely in the US. Not only the result, but also the way he succeeded.
After a compelling effort in the Formula 4 US Championship in 2018, ending with a 3rd place in the championship, the step up the USF2000 meant that the competition level increased drastic. Here the amount of talent was massive, and even though team owner Jay Howard, and Christian as well, felt that they had a good setup for succes, they knew that the task would be tough. The racer is faster than an F4 car, and both Christian and the team was in their rookie season in USF2000. They were up against teams and drivers with a lot of experience and talent, so it for sure they had to bring something extra to the equation, to be in the top of the charts. Of course Christian felt that it was possible to be able to win the championship. Perhaps it is one of the most important parts of a racedrivers DNA - to have a high level of self-confidence. Teamowner Jay Howard was the guy that led Christian to the 3rd place podium in the F4 US Championship in 2018, and he had great confidence in his driver, even though his expectations was a bit more modest.
“This is the rookie season in USF2000, for both team and driver. Normally that is not a winning combo, without adding something special. I felt that we had what we needed to be succesful. As what goes for Christian, he is one of the biggest talents I have come across, in recent times. As a team we have a lot of experience being a team, from the F4 series. I honestly felt, that on a good day we could beat anyone of them - it would not be easy, but doable.”
The predictions from Jay Howard should prove to be closer to the reality, than even he had imagined. In the first race of the season, Christian showed his great class. A tough qualification ment P9 in the starting line up, but at the checkered flag that was turned into a P4 spot. In the second race, starting from P3 Christian easily moved up to P1, later dropping to P2, and stayed there for 20 laps until the leader, in the last turn, made an error, taking both him an Christian out. That meant a P15, but he had shown his speed and talent. The next three weekends became a real challenge for Christian and the team. In Indianapolisthe team was really struggling to find a good setup on the car, and the weekend ended with a disappointing P6 and P20. At the oval track of Lucas Oil Raceway, Christian showed that he still had speed and guts. He qualified on a disappointing P15, but between quality and the race, the team made some changes to the car. Christian did the impossible - he overtook 9 cars on the short oval track, ending on a well earned P6. On Road America the misfortune continued. In the first race Christian ended in the wall after being hit from behind by an opponent. In the second race of the weekend, there was more to smile about, and only a personal mistake from Christian kept him from a top result. He ended with P5, and at the same time it was the turning point of Christians season.
It was a week timed shift of momentum for the fast Dane. He was flying the rest of the season. Two wins and two second places was the profit of the next two race weekends. In round 12/13 in Portland, Christian started out with P3 in race 1, but in race 2 he caught an early puncture after first corner contact. But he showed huge strength and from being behind with over 40 seconds, he started the pursuit. Putting in the fastest lap of the race, and some very consistant lap times he finally caught up with the back end of the pack, and overtook one car in the final corner, earning some very important points for the championship. In the season finale on the iconic Weathertech Raceway of Laguna Seca in California, Christian was back on top. He did have to fight for it though, but he ended up with a win and a second place. The first race Christian showed his true force. From P3 at the start he overtook the two frontrunners in the championship, and took off. He ended some 4,5 and 13,6 seconds ahead of them respectively. The last race of the season became more of a struggle for Christian. The direct competitor to the last place on the podium started the race from pole. Christian started from P10 due to an engine and gearbox breakdown in the qualification. He needed to end the race ahead of the two, to be able to win the third place in the championship. A challenge not many did think possible - except for Christian and the team, maybe.
It was a fight till the final lap, for the two competitors. As the final checkered flag of the season was shown, Christian has crawled his way up to P2, only 8/10 of a second behind the race winner. Clocking in the fastest lap of the race, Christian earned an extra point for the championship, meaning that he and Colin Kaminsky ended up with equal points. Christian could show 3 race wins, while Kaminsky had none. It was that close, but in the end Christian could step up on the P3 spot on the podium. It was like a real fairytale, where the hero have to go through so much, before he is rewarded in the end - a true Hollywood ending!
In many ways it have been a great season. The learning curve have been very steep, for both driver and team, but when it ends up with a succes, nobody remembers the hard times.
“Of course, when you suddenly struggle to keep up, you start wondering if you are with the right team. But we felt that we were with the right team. We know Jay and the team very well, and we know that he had what it takes to turn the ship around. At the end we are very happy that we stuck with our decision, because this season have been fantastic. Christian has learned so much, and at the same time he have made his name well known in motorsports,” Christians dad Niels said.
Jay Howard Driver Development team owner are agreeing in that it have been a great season for the young driver.
“It have been a fantastic year. Christian have developed as a driver week by week, and have really shown his massive potential. I am truly proud of what we have achieved. Christian have developed his ability to get the most out of him self and his potential - just look at the final half of the season! In my perspective he has established himself as one of the absolute best drivers in North America. We knew he had the talent, now the whole motorsport industry knows as well, “ Jay Howard ended.
Other than the team and a fantastic family behind him, Christian have a group of dedicated sponsors as well. They have been very important for Christians succes.
Thanks to Tak til REMA 1000 Danmark // Dansk Turbo Teknik A/S // CARTA Autofinans A/S // FTZ Autodele & Værktøj A/S // Midland Oil Danmark // Holgershaab // Julie Bardenfleth Rengøring // Dansk Metal // Dansk Automobil Sports Union // Brendstrup Revision
A huge thanks to Jay Howard, and also thanks to Joe, Lou, Allan and all the other guys in the team. Thanks to Christian Bogle and his fantastic family for your hospitality and your friendship. A special thanks goes to the team of Pabst Racing for showing real sportsmanship, lending us their spare gearbox in the last race. That was mega!
This is the end of the 2019 season and we have started on 2020 preparations. We are looking forward to share some news with you in a short while.
Thanks for your massive support throughout the season!
/Christian Rasmussen Racing