NEWTON, Iowa. – Cape Motorsports’ Oliver Askew couldn’t ask for a more perfect day. The 20-year-old rookie from Jupiter, Fla., secured his fifth pole position this morning at Iowa Speedway followed by a flag-to-flag win in the Mazda Iowa 60 Presented by Cooper Tires a few short hours later to stretch his lead in the Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship Powered by Mazda with five rounds remaining.
Following a three-hour test session on Friday with Pabst Racing’s Calvin Ming at the top of the timetable and a 45-minute practice session yesterday paced by young Kaylen Frederick of Team Pelfrey, single-car qualifying took place with Ming, teammate Rinus VeeKay and Alex Baron of ArmsUp Motorsports locking up the front two rows.
Askew was able to hold off Ming at the green flag to move into the lead and he never looked back, crossing the finish line with an almost four-second advantage over his nearest championship rival VeeKay, a two-time winner this season, who found a way past Ming in the closing stages. Baron and Robert Megennis (Team Pelfrey) rounded out the top five.
The biggest movers in the caution-free race were Frederick, who maneuvered from eighth to sixth and earned the Tilton Hard Charger Award, and Devin Wojcik of ArmsUp Motorsports with a drive from 11th to ninth.
Askew now holds a 32-point advantage in the championship over VeeKay followed by Frederick, Parker Thompson (Exclusive Autosport) and Ming.
Baron claimed the Staubli Award while the PFC Award went to the winning team of Cape Motorsports.
USF2000 will head across the border this week for the Cooper Tires USF2000 Grand Prix of Toronto Presented by Allied Building Products on July 15/16, Rounds 10 and 11 of the 14-race schedule.
Oliver Askew (#2 Mazda Motorsports/MC Racing – Cape Motorsports): “I had no experience on an oval at all coming into this year, so I don’t think anyone knew what to expect. The team told me it was halfway and I thought that should have been the race distance! It’s different when you’re not under pressure, you feel the fatigue more – I went to cheer to the guys when I came across the line, but I couldn’t take my hand off the wheel. It felt like it was soldered on. We struggled a bit yesterday but we made a really good change last night and were quick today. It’s hard to pass here but we knew that if we got the pole and through the first couple of corners, we’d be set. It was awesome to be able to pull away. Then I was just focusing on attacking the corners and not getting lazy. We have to take one weekend at a time and do our best.”
Rinus VeeKay (#21 Jumbo Supermarkets The Netherlands/Total – Pabst Racing): “This was fun – when you pass someone on an oval, it’s more of a kick than when you pass on a road course. It’s much trickier. Calvin and I pretty much stayed together but it was hard to overtake. And with the bumps, there are not many lines that you can take. I really did have a moment out there, though. Getting around a lapped car going into Turn Two the wind hit my wing, which put me sideways and I had to correct several times. I was behind Calvin for 30 or 40 laps when we came up on a lapped car. Calvin took the outside, I drafted on the inside and got by. I was able to drive away from Calvin and made some gains on Oliver, but couldn’t reach him. But the team gave me a great car: it was so good to drive.”
Calvin Ming (#22 Mings Products and Services (MPS)/APAN – Pabst Racing): “I made a really good start alongside Oliver. You can kind of go flat into Turn One and I tried to follow Oliver but his car was just planted. I got a little sideways but you have to push from the start to see if you can get a good run. It meant Oliver got a good lead from the start – he just kept opening it up and I couldn’t pull it back. This was my first full weekend on a oval and it was a great experience. We did over 200 laps on the test day and it was quite a bit to take in. The track was a lot different today than yesterday with the heat and sun. A lot of grease came up and the cars were really sliding around.”