As his eight poles in 14 Mazda Road To Indy Presented by Cooper Tires races attest to, Cape Motorsports rookie Oliver Askew knows how to throw down in qualifying. The 21-year-old briefly lost the top spot to Harrison Scott and Parker Thompson but was able to throw down the last flyer of the session, to pip Exclusive Autosport’s Thompson by just under two-tenths of the session.

Askew’s lap at 1:08.103 obliterated the previous Pro Mazda track record of 1:10.352 that was set in 2010 by Conor Daly.

Qualifying fourth was the first of the Juncos Racing drivers, Carlos Cunha, who was followed by his teammate Robert Megennis, who won the first USF2000 race of the 2017 season on the Streets of St. Petersburg.

At the half-way point of the twenty-minute session, the top five drivers were: Harrison Scott, Parker Thompson, Oliver Askew, Carlos Cunha and David Malukas.

With just over five minutes left in the session, Juncos Racing’s Robert Megennis, who won at this track in USF2000 last year, went to the top of the timing screens.

It didn’t take long for the “Soul Red” car of reigning USF2000 champion Askew to head to the provisional pole spot, which he held until newcomer Scott knocked him down a spot.

Scott held onto the provisional pole until the last two minutes of the session, when first Thompson and then Askew were able to go quicker.

Would be championship contenders Sting Ray Robb, Rinus VeeKay, Andres Gutierrez, and David Malukas qualified in sixth, eighth, tenth and ninth.

Pro Mazda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg Presented by Allied Building Products Practice Qualifying #1 timesheet

1 3 Oliver Askew Cape Motorsports 1:08.103 –.—- 14
2 90 Parker Thompson Exclusive Autosport 1:08.288 0.1853 13
3 10 Harrison Scott RP Motorsport Racing 1:08.301 0.1978 13
4 1 Carlos Cunha Juncos Racing 1:08.383 0.2803 14
5 9 Robert Megennis Juncos Racing 1:08.532 0.4290 13
6 82 Sting Ray Robb Team Pelfrey 1:08.559 0.4555 12
7 8 Nikita Lastochkin Cape Motorsports 1:08.766 0.6628 13
8 2 Rinus VeeKay Juncos Racing 1:08.774 0.6705 9
9 81 Andres Gutierrez Team Pelfrey 1:08.948 0.8448 11
10 79 David Malukas BN Racing 1:08.963 0.8602 15
11 27 Lodovico Laurini RP Motorsport Racing 1:09.041 0.9377 14
12 80 Rafael Martins Team Pelfrey 1:09.063 0.9600 13
13 12 James Raven DEForce Racing 1:09.104 1.0008 14
14 78 Kris Wright BN Racing 1:09.520 1.4168 15
15 91 Antonio Serravalle Exclusive Autosport 1:10.274 2.1705 15
16 83 Charles Finelli BN Racing / Fat Boy Racing 1:15.495 7.3916 10

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