Oliver Askew had a “solid” two hours and fifteen minutes to start his Wednesday. At 7:30 am the 22-year-old was announced as an Andretti Autosport driver and when the first official test of the 2019 Indy Lights presented by Cooper Tires season ended at 9:45 am, his No. 28 Andretti Autosport machine topped the timesheet with a lap of 113.802 seconds.
“It worked out to announce this morning and go P1,” said Askew to TSO Ladder after stepping out of the car. “That was a goal. I’m really happy with the test. I’m really, really, really looking forward to the season. It’s been a long off-season putting everything together. It’s all about the people and the process that is around me and supporting me. I’m very thankful to be here, and hopefully, we can deliver some good results.”
But it wasn’t just the Askew show, as the top four drivers were covered by just over one-tenth-of-a-second and were all able to complete sub-114 second laps.
After a 30-minute delay due to chilly temperatures – I had to scrape the window on my rental car this morning, and the temperature on my way into the track read a balmy 32F – the ten Indy Lights presented by Cooper Tires entries took to the track for their last session in Texas.
Belardi Auto Racing veteran Zachary Claman led the majority of the shortened session, but with 20 minutes left in the session, the majority of teams took on fresh Cooper Tire rubber to finish off the test with some qualification simulations.
Times started to fall when reigning Indy Pro 2000 Championship Presented by Cooper Tires champion Rinus VeeKay was the first driver out on new tires. Askew set his quick lap with around ten minutes remaining in the session and was able to withstand a last-minute hot lap by GP3 veteran and Andretti Autosport teammate Julien Falchero, who ended a scant four-hundredths behind Askew.
VeeKay spent the two Tuesday sessions struggling with brake issues. The Juncos Racing team worked overnight to correct the problem, and the Dutch driver felt more comfortable during Wednesday mornings session.
“We were a day behind from all the rivals, but being only a tenth (of a second) off on new tires is a pretty decent way to end the first test of the season,” explained the 18-year-old to TSO Ladder. “I’m very happy with the car and with the way the team worked. Let’s go a flawless test in Homestead!”
Despite the cooler temperatures, all ten drivers turned their fastest laps of the two-day test in the Wednesday morning session.
Indy Lights presented by Cooper Tires at Circuit of The Americas test session #3 and combined results
|RANK||CAR NO.||DRIVER||TEAM||QUICK LAP||GAP||TOTAL LAPS|
|1||28||Oliver Askew||Andretti Autosport||1:53.802||–.—-||19|
|2||26||Julien Falchero||Andretti Autosport||1:53.844||0.0424||27|
|3||21||Rinus VeeKay||Juncos Racing||1:53.931||0.1297||30|
|4||48||Ryan Norman||Andretti Autosport||1:53.934||0.1325||26|
|5||13||Zachary Claman||Belardi Auto Racing||1:54.787||0.9848||22|
|6||27||Robert Megennis||Andretti Autosport||1:54.938||1.1363||23|
|7||79||David Malukas||BN Racing||1:55.433||1.6317||27|
|10||5||Lucas Kohl||Belardi Auto Racing||1:56.532||2.7300||24|