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
|RANK||CAR NO.||DRIVER||TEAM||QUICK LAP||GAP||LAPS|
|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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