Archives for Indy Lights presented by Cooper Tire – TSO

Road To Indy schedules each feature 18 races

By Steve Wittich

An increased scholarship and award fund of 2.7 million dollars will await the winners on each of the three steps on the Road To Indy Presented by Cooper Tires ladder after an 18-race 2020 season.

The schedule looks similar to 2019 with a few minor changes. Last year, the Indy Lights presented by Cooper Tires joined the NTT IndyCar Series in their debut at Circuit of The Americas in Austin, Texas. This year, the top-level open-wheel series in the United States will be joined by the Indy Pro 2000 Championship Presented by Cooper Tires and Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship.

The April doubleheader will be the first race appearance for the lowest rung of the ladder on the 3.41-mile, 20-turn road course. The Indy Pro 2000 series has made one previous appearance at the Austin, Texas track, starting their 2013 season with a pair of races.

In 2020, the Indy Lights returns to Barber Motorsports Park to contest a pair of races on the tricky and undulating 2.3-mile, 17-turn natural terrain road course. The series has contested 14 previous races at the Birmingham, Alabama circuit.

“I am very happy with our calendar for next season,” said Dan Andersen, Owner, and CEO of Andersen Promotions. “We’ve managed to eliminate the large break we have had in April with a return to Barber Motorsports Park for Indy Lights and the addition of Circuit of The Americas for Indy Pro 2000 and USF2000. Now all three series are racing monthly from March through September.”

2020 Indy Lights presented by Cooper Tires schedule

ROUNDS DATE TRACK CITY STATE
Open Test March 9 Homestead-Miami Speedway Road Course Homestead Florida
1-2 March 14/15 Streets Of St. Petersburg St. Petersburg Florida
3-4 April 4/5 Barber Motorsports Park Birmingham Alabama
Open Test May 7 Indianapolis Motor Speedway Road Course Indianapolis Indiana
5-6 May 8/9 Indianapolis Motor Speedway Road Course Indianapolis Indiana
Open Test May 18 Indianapolis Motor Speedway Oval Indianapolis Indiana
7 May 22 Indianapolis Motor Speedway Oval Indianapolis Indiana
8-9 June 20/21 Road America Elkhart Lake Wisconsin
10-11 July 11/12 Streets Of Toronto Toronto Ontario, CANADA
Open Test August 12 Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course Lexington Ohio
12-13 August 15/16 Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course Lexington Ohio
Open Test August 20 World Wide Technology Raceway At Gateway Madison Illinois
14 August 22 World Wide Technology Raceway At Gateway Madison Illinois
15-16 September 5/6 Portland International Raceway Portland Oregon
17-18 September 19/20 WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca Monterey California

2020 Indy Pro 2000 Championship Presented by Cooper Tires schedule

ROUNDS DATE TRACK CITY STATE
Open Test March 7/8 Homestead-Miami Speedway Road Course Homestead Florida
1-2 March 14/15 Streets Of St. Petersburg St. Petersburg Florida
Open Test April 23 Circuit of The Americas Austin Texas
3-4 April 25/26 Circuit of The Americas Austin Texas
Open Test May 7 Indianapolis Motor Speedway Road Course Indianapolis Indiana
5-6 May 8/9 Indianapolis Motor Speedway Road Course Indianapolis Indiana
Open Test May 11 Lucas Oil Raceway Oval Indianapolis Indiana
7 May 22 Lucas Oil Raceway Oval Indianapolis Indiana
8-9 June 20/21 Road America Elkhart Lake Wisconsin
10-11 July 11/12 Streets Of Toronto Toronto Ontario, CANADA
Open Test August 12 Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course Lexington Ohio
12-13 August 15/16 Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course Lexington Ohio
Open Test August 20 World Wide Technology Raceway At Gateway Madison Illinois
14 August 22 World Wide Technology Raceway At Gateway Madison Illinois
Open Test September 3 Portland International Raceway Portland Oregon
15-16 September 5/6 Portland International Raceway Portland Oregon
17-18 September 19/20 WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca Monterey California

Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship schedule

ROUNDS DATE TRACK CITY STATE
Open Test March 7/8 Homestead-Miami Speedway Road Course Homestead Florida
1-2 March 14/15 Streets Of St. Petersburg St. Petersburg Florida
Open Test April 23 Circuit of The Americas Austin Texas
3-4 April 25/26 Circuit of The Americas Austin Texas
Open Test May 7 Indianapolis Motor Speedway Road Course Indianapolis Indiana
5-6 May 8/9 Indianapolis Motor Speedway Road Course Indianapolis Indiana
Open Test May 11 Lucas Oil Raceway Oval Indianapolis Indiana
7 May 22 Lucas Oil Raceway Oval Indianapolis Indiana
8-9 June 20/21 Road America Elkhart Lake Wisconsin
10-11 July 11/12 Streets Of Toronto Toronto Ontario, CANADA
Open Test August 12 Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course Lexington Ohio
12-13 August 15/16 Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course Lexington Ohio
Open Test August 20 World Wide Technology Raceway At Gateway Madison Illinois
14 August 22 World Wide Technology Raceway At Gateway Madison Illinois
Open Test September 3 Portland International Raceway Portland Oregon
15-16 September 5/6 Portland International Raceway Portland Oregon
17-18 September 19/20 WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca Monterey California

We’ll be back more on some cost saving initiatives in a while.

Chris Griffis Memorial Test provides the perfect introduction to the Road To Indy and NTT IndyCar Series

By Steve Wittich

Since 2011, the Chris Griffis Memorial Test has introduced several notable names to the Road To Indy as well as the NTT IndyCar Series.

The temperatures were brisk, but the skies were sunny during that first test held in late October in honor of Chris Griffis, Sam Schmidt Motorsports Indy Lights team manager who passed away suddenly that September.

Making their U.S debut during the two days of testing were a pair of future NTT IndyCar Series drivers.

Carlos Munoz, an IndyCar race winner, and two-time Indianapolis 500 runner-up took part in the Indy Lights portion of the test.

In Indy Pro 2000, it was Jack Hawksworth, who made his first appearance on American Soil. The 2012 Indy Pro 2000 champion has made 49 IndyCar starts and is currently wheeling a Lexus RC F GT3 in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship. Hawksworth has won twice this year and is now third in the season-long championship.

Jack Hawksworth during his first test on U.S. soil at the Chris Griffis Memorial Test at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in 2011. (Photo courtesy of Indianapolis Motor Speedway, LLC Photography)

“It was my first time in the (United) States for motor racing,” explained Hawksworth to TSO Ladder when asked about that test. “Indianapolis – the famous circuit known all over the world – so going there and going through the gates was very cool.”

“I had a lot of fun — it what effectively sparked my interest in the US. The test went quite well and helped me get a deal done with Team Pelfrey, and set me on my way. I raced (Star) Mazda the next year, and I’ve been racing over here ever since.”

Also appearing in the 2011 test was Nicolas Latifi, who was making his first appearance in cars before moving to Europe to chase his Formula 1 dream. The 24-year-old Canadian has won four times in the FIA Formula 2 Championship this season and is currently second in the championship table.

IndyCar drivers Kyle Kaiser and Jack Harvey made their Road To Indy debuts at the Chris Griffis Memorial Test in 2012 and 2013 respectively. Between them, the pair of drivers have ten Indy Lights wins.

Also making their Road To Indy Presented by Cooper Tires debuts in 2013 were:

  • Aaron Telitz, 2019 Indy Lights race winner, IndyCar hopeful and endurance driver for Lexus RC F GT3 program in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship.
  • Jacob Edison, a professional sports car driver.
  • Nico Jamin, a professional sports car driver, piloting an LMP2 for Duqueine Engineering in the European Le Man Series.

In 2014, reigning Indy Lights champion Patricio O’Ward took the reins of a Team Pelfrey Indy Pro 2000 machine. The then 15-year-old led the test, using that momentum to put together a full season effort for 2015.

Patricio O’Ward gets instruction during the 2014 Chris Griffis Memorial Test at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway (Photo Courtesy Of Andersen Promotions)

Also making their debut in Indianapolis that weekend was perennial championship contender Parker Thompson. In 76 Road To Indy starts, the Canadian has a dozen wins to go along with 31 career podiums.

The following year, the annual end of season test moved to Circuit of The Americas, where a quartet of familiar names made their Road To Indy debuts. Current Indy Lights drivers Rinus van Kalmthout (VeeKay) and Robert Megennis were joined by Indy Pro 2000 front-runners Kyle Kirkwood and Sting Ray Robb, who all tested USF2000 machinery.

In 2016, it was presumptive 2019 Indy Lights champion Oliver Askew who impressed in his Road To Indy debut.

Current USF2000 and Indy Pro 2000 championship contenders Hunter McElrea and Rasmus Lindh took part in their first official Road To Indy tests during the 2017 Chris Griffis Memorial Test at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in 2017.

The test, scheduled for October 19 and 20 should fit perfectly for drivers from around the world to have a chance to drive across the famous yard of bricks at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

Unfortunately, in the past, the test that was held in September often coincided with other worldwide series. This year, there is no conflict with the following worldwide junior open-wheel series FIA Formula 3 Championship – Euroformula Open Championship – Formula Renault Eurocup – BRDC British Formula 3 Championship – F3 Americas Championship – F3 Asian Championship – Japanese Formula 3 Championship – Italian F4 Championship – ADAC Formula 4 Championship – Formula 4 United States Championship – F4 Spanish Championship – China Formula 4 Championship- SMP F4 Championship- F4 Danish Championship – F2000 Championship Series -Australian Formula Ford Championship – F1600 Championship Series- Ontario F1600 – Quebec F1600 and BRSCC Formula Ford.

Friday will consist of an educational summit, and each series will have 4.5 hours of track time on the 2.439-mile, 14-turn road course throughout Saturday and Sunday.

If you are driver looking for a seat for the two-day test, you can find the team contact info at the links below.

Indy Lights teams
Indy Pro 2000 teams 
USF2000 teams 

Here is the on-track schedule:

Saturday

TIME EVENT
7:30am – 8:30am Track Walk
9am – 9:45am USF2000 Practice #1
9:55am – 10:40am Indy Pro 2000 Practice #1
10:50am – 11:35am Indy Lights Practice #1
11:45am – 12:30pm USF2000 Practice #2
12:30pm – 1:15pm Lunch
1:15pm – 2pm Indy Pro 2000 Practice #2
2:10pm – 2:55pm Indy Lights Practice #2
3pm – 3:45pm USF2000 Practice #3
3:55pm – 4:40pm Indy Pro 2000 Practice #3
4:50pm – 5:35pm Indy Lights Practice #3

Sunday

TIME EVENT
9am – 9:45am USF2000 Practice #4
9:55am – 10:40am Indy Pro 2000 Practice #4
10:50am – 11:35am Indy Lights Practice #4
11:45am – 12:30pm USF2000 Practice #5
12:30pm – 1:15pm Lunch
1:15pm – 2pm Indy Pro 2000 Practice #5
2:10pm – 2:55pm Indy Lights Practice #5
3pm – 3:45pm USF2000 Practice #6
3:55pm – 4:40pm Indy Pro 2000 Practice #6
4:50pm – 5:35pm Indy Lights Practice #6

A quick thought from Steve:

These are two of my favorite days of the racing season. I relish the chance to meet young drivers that are possibly embarking on their Road To Indy journey . It’s a relaxed atmosphere, but a the same time, it’s still serious business. It’s a little like being able to watch a first date as drivers and teams both work hard to make an excellent first impression on each other. Is that a little creepy? Yes, but I can’t deny that it’s entertaining and informative.

Current Indy Pro 2000 points leader Kyle Kirkwood made his Road To Indy debut at the 2015 Chris Griffis Memorial Test at Circuit of The Americas (Photo Courtesy Of Andersen Promotions)

Catching up with Dakota Dickerson – the 2019 F3 Americas Championship Powered By Honda champion

By Steve Wittich

TSO Ladder had a chance to catch up with Dakota Dickerson, the newly crowned F3 Americas Championship Powered By Honda champion at Portland International Raceway last weekend.

Dickerson was back in the Road To Indy paddock coaching Legacy Autosport newcomer Ayrton Ori. The 22-year-old has made 33 USF2000 starts since 2016, including two earlier this year with Legacy Autosport.

With five wins and nine podiums in the first 13 races, the 2018 F4 United States Championship Powered By Honda champion clinched this year’s championship three races early. Dickerson heads to the final event at Sebring International Raceway with a 77-point championship lead.

Dakota Dickerson on track during an F3 Americas Championship Powered By Honda race at Road America (Photo Courtesy of F3 Americas Championship Powered By Honda)

“It’s an awesome feeling being able to clinch the Championship today,” said the third-generation racer. “It was an uphill battle in the race having to start from the back, but we got a flying start and made our way up to second in the first lap. From there, it was just a matter of staying consistent and getting the points that we needed. I can’t thank the Global Racing Team enough for their tremendous effort and support. We’ll celebrate this weekend and keep our heads down to look for some wins at Sebring.”

Dickerson is using the final event of the season to raise money for Nowzad Rescue. The organization helps reunite companion animals with American soldiers that they have formed a bond with while on deployment in Afghanistan. You can find out more and donate here, please. —> Paws on Racecar – Dakota Dickerson Racing fundraiser for Nowzad 

The Californian’s dream drive is in the NTT IndyCar Series. In that light, Dickerson is working hard to put together the support to test an Indy Lights machine at the upcoming Chris Griffis Memorial Test at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

The former Team USA Scholarship winner is keeping his options open to sports cars though, taking part in some IMSA Prototype Challenge races. That includes a win at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course in May.

You can follow Dickerson’s journey on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.

Road to Indy at Grand Prix of Portland – Sunday – 11 a.m. – Sowery wins his first race while Askew all but seals Indy Lights title

Three stories emerged from an entertaining second race of the Cooper Tires Indy Lights Grand Prix weekend at Portland International Raceway.

Toby Sowery secured an overdue maiden Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires victory, and the first for the rebranded HMD Motorsports/Team Pelfrey program.

Rinus Van Kalmthout (VeeKay) pressured Sowery enough in the race to try to keep his title hopes alive.

And Oliver Askew has done just enough to provisionally secure the Indy Lights title. The young American has a 41-point gap over VeeKay leaving the weekend at the Portland International Raceway, and will only need to start the final two races at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca to secure the advancement scholarship and three races in the 2020 NTT IndyCar Series.

VeeKay entered the race 45 points behind Askew, realistically needing a win to maintain any hopes of keeping his championship hopes alive heading to WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca in a few weeks.

If Askew left today’s race with a 39-point lead, he’d just need to start the two races in Monterey to secure the title.

VeeKay started from pole today following his microscopic edging of Askew in qualifying, by just 0.0001 of a second. The HMD Motorsports teammates of Toby Sowery and David Malukas rolled off from row two with Ryan Norman and Dalton Kellett on row three and Lucas Kohl and Robert Megennis on row four.

Sunny skies and cool temperatures greeted the field, with conditions of 69F ambient and 86F track by the time they fired the 2.0 turbo-charged AER engines.

VeeKay got the jump off the green flag while Askew broke too late and bounded over the curbing into the Festival Curves. Malukas, with nowhere to go, contacted Askew from his right front to Askew’s left front sidepod and knocked him into a spin. Post-race, Askew reflected on his first lap and how he went off course.

“I just put myself in a bad situation. That’s all it was,” Askew told TSO Ladder. “I came back on track and there were cars there. I just locked up, went in too deep and tried to out-brake Rinus… and that’s pretty hard to do!”

Sowery, who’d got a great start from third, tried to pass VeeKay at Turn 5 before the full-course caution flew to retrieve Malukas’ damaged car on track.

At the conclusion of the first lap under yellow the order was VeeKay, Sowery, Norman, Kohl, Megennis and Kellett with Askew heading for the pits for repairs and Malukas stuck on track.

Askew pitted for a new front wing and lit it up out of the pits leaving. But he put his head down for an eventual recovery drive.

At the conclusion of Lap 3, start of Lap 4, the green flag flew to resume. Sowery tried to the inside of VeeKay at the Festival Curves and dove down the inside of the Dutchman into the corner, grabbing the lead.

“He made a bit of a mistake,” Sowery told TSO Ladder. “I’d got a good start anyway, and he had some oversteer. So I got the good restart and got right up on his gearbox. It put us in prime position.”

Behind them Megennis got around Kohl for fourth and Kellett and Askew, still on the lead lap, were right behind them. Askew passed Kellett for sixth at Turn 7.

The new order on Lap 4 was Sowery, VeeKay, Norman, Megennis, Kohl, Askew and Kellett.

Sowery has extended the gap to 1.1741 seconds at the end of Lap 5 with Askew closing down to Kohl to go back into the top five. The Englishman was trying to stretch the lead to get himself out of vulnerability for VeeKay to engage push-to-pass (15 pushes for 15 seconds each, additional 50 horsepower).

Askew tried onto Kohl into Turn 1 on Lap 7 and promptly completed the pass for fifth after both locked up their Cooper tires. Kohl missed the corner and moved to the escape road, falling back to seventh behind Kellett.

At the end of Lap 7 Sowery had increased his lead to 1.8899 seconds.

Askew was now fifth with his two Andretti Autosport teammates, Norman and Megennis, ahead of him in third and fourth.

Norman closed on VeeKay for second and tried to pass him at the start of Lap 10. Megennis also closed on them too.

At the end of Lap 10 Sowery’s lead was 2.5561 seconds to VeeKay, still holding back Norman and Megennis, with Askew fifth ahead of Kellett and Kohl.

Askew tried to Megennis’ inside at Turn 10, then tried around the outside into Turn 1 for fourth on Lap 16. Megennis moved to the right initially but didn’t fight him too hard once Askew got the run, and Askew moved up a position.

Halfway home through Lap 18 of 35 and Sowery led VeeKay by 1.6526 seconds with Norman still third, Askew just over two seconds back of him in fourth and Megennis fifth.

With 15 laps to go, VeeKay remained marginally out of range of the push-to-pass window at 1.5449 seconds behind. Askew is within 1.4 seconds of Norman for third.

By Lap 23, Askew had halved that gap to Norman to just 0.7 of a second, and began gathering momentum for a pass to put him on the podium and complete a comeback drive.

And by Lap 24, VeeKay had closed the gap on Sowery to just 0.9 of a second.

On Lap 26, VeeKay got a monster run on Sowery into Turn 1, and Askew got a monster run on Norman. Neither got past, but both chasing drivers filled the rear view mirrors of the cars in front of them.

Askew tried to the inside of Norman for third and the two came too close for comfort with Norman needing to dart to the escape route. Askew was back on the podium.

“That’s what I’ve been doing my whole career,” Askew said of his recovery drive. “I have a level head, and when I came into the pits my heart rate didn’t change at all. I just went out and did my job.”

With eight to go just 0.3436 of a second covered Sowery and VeeKay up front. Askew was now third, Norman fourth and Megennis fifth.

VeeKay remained all over the back of Sowery with just six to go. Further back, Kellett was nearly about to pass Megennis for fifth.

Sowery locked up with four to go but maintained the position into Turn 1, with VeeKay continuing to hound the Englishman. However VeeKay had only two push-to-passes left at this juncture.

White flag comes out and Sowery still holds him off through Turn 1. VeeKay remains so close but unable to get past with one, maybe two more passing opportunities left.

Sowery comes by under the checkered flag to win his first Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires race.

It’s a long overdue first win for the Englishman and the HMD Motorsports/Team Pelfrey outfit, with veterans Geoff Fickling and John Cummiskey having joined midseason.

“Everyone’s fit in really well,” Sowery said. “All the puzzle pieces are here now, and the results speak for themselves.”

VeeKay ended the weekend with two poles, a win and a second place. He said he was close enough to Sowery but Sowery didn’t flinch in the heat of battle.

“I think if I would have had a good lap I could have got him,” VeeKay told TSO Ladder. “But it was tough with the dirty air. It was tough to get close. My car was great at the end. I just didn’t have the track in my favor to pass him.”

Askew was third with Norman holding off Megennis for fourth. Kellett and Kohl were the last two to finish.

Cooper Tires Indy Lights Grand Prix Race #2 – Unofficial Results

P No Name Team Laps Diff
1 2 Toby Sowery HMD Motorsports/Team Pelfrey 35
2 21 Rinus VeeKay Juncos Racing 35 0.4244
3 28 Oliver Askew Andretti Autosport 35 8.2265
4 48 Ryan Norman Andretti Autosport 35 15.8482
5 27 Robert Megennis Andretti Autosport 35 21.1175
6 67 Dalton Kellett Juncos Racing 35 22.5387
7 5 Lucas Kohl Belardi Auto Racing 35 39.7185
8 79 David Malukas HMD Motorsports Contact
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Road To Indy at Grand Prix of Portland – Saturday – 3pm – VeeKay wins fourth of season extends championship run for at least one more race.

Rinus van Kalmthout (VeeKay) came to Portland knowing he needed to score maximum points to make sure the title fight continued to WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca in three weeks.

Mission accomplished for the first race. VeeKay lead wire to wire, standing on the top step of the podium for the fourth time this year and scoring the maximum of 32 points. It’s VeeKay’s 14th career Road To Indy win and his 33rd career podium.

“We saved a new set of tires for this race, which was quite a gamble because I haven’t started on new tires in Indy Lights – not since USF2000,” explained VeeKay. “It was hard with Oliver using push-to-pass the first few laps but I was able to pull away and get maximum points.

“I want to dedicate this win to Anthoine Hubert. I am praying for his family. I was watching the Formula 2 race this morning; it was terrible to hear the news. Several months ago, I spent a whole day on the simulator with him so it’s tough. It’s tragic for the sport of racing.”

Championship leader Oliver Askew had a 52 point cushion when the series headed west, and his second-place finish means that his gap to VeeKay headed into tomorrow’s race is still a comfortable 45 points.

Askew stood on the podium for the 13th time this season, tying Alex Lloyd for the most top-three finishes in one season. It’s Askew’s 29th career podium.

It’s the 24th time in 45 shared Road To Indy starts that VeeKay and Askew have been on the podium together and the 10th time this year.

It wasn’t easy, but Robert Megennis stood on the podium for the fifth time this season.

Of note, Kellett made his 67th career Indy Lights start, surpassing Arie Luyendyk, Jr. as the driver with the most series starts. The Canadian and his K-Line Insulators No.67 finished his 67th start in the fifth place, his 12th career Indy Lights top-five finish.

The ambient temperature when the 2.0 turbo-charged AER engines were fired was 78F. The sun was beating down on the 1.964-mile, 12-Turn road course, which had a track temperature of 111F.

For the fifth time this year, a front row consisting of VeeKay and Askew led the Indy Lights field to the green flag.

VeeKay and the Soul Red No. 23 got a good jump and was the first driver to arrive at 90-degree right-hand Turn 1. The rest of the field got through the Festival Curves cleanly – sort of.

Toby Sowery dropped his right side wheels at corner exit, falling the two spots he had gained after a good start.

The running order at the end of the first lap was: VeeKay, Askew, Megennis, Kellett, Malukas, Sowery, Kohl and Norman.

On Lap 2, Norman got into the back of Kohl in Turn 2, dropping the Brazilian down the order and leaving Norman with a large hole in the nose of the Three Chord sponsored No. 48.

On Lap 3, Askew looked to the outside of VeeKay on the run down the front straight, but VeeKay was able to hold the spot utilizing a defensive inside line.

When they started lap 4, Sowery had been able to get around his teammate Malukas and Kellett to move back to the fourth spot.

On Lap 5, Askew was on his push-to-pass going down the front straight and looked to the inside of VeeKay. VeeKay held onto the position.

On Lap 6, Norman spun at the exit of Turn 4. Later in the lap, Kohl lost the rear end of the Belardi Auto Racing No. 5 in Turn 10, spinning into the grass. Both drivers were able to continue, keeping the race green.

On lap 10, VeeKay’s lead over VeeKay was 1.8 seconds, safely outside of the 1.5-second push-to-pass activation zone.

On Lap 12, Malukas went for a wild ride at the exit of Turn 6, bounding through the grass before rejoining the circuit just before Turn 7.

At the half-way point of the session, VeeKay’s lead over Askew was 2.6 seconds over Askew. Megennis was just over four seconds behind his teammate.

With ten laps left, the gap between VeeKay and Askew had grown to just over three seconds. Behind the front pair, Sowery had caught up to Megennis, and the battle for the final spot on the podium was on.

With five laps remaining, the gap between the leaders was 3.4 seconds. Megennis gap to Sowery was 0.7 seconds, and it appeared that the Team Pelfrey/HMD Motorsports driver was waiting until the last few laps to try and make a move on the Andretti Autosport rookie.

With two laps remaining, Sowery was only 0.4 seconds behind Megennis. That battle for the final spot on the podium was almost ten seconds behind Askew.

At the white flag, VeeKay’s lead over Askew was 3.4 seconds. Sowery was not able to make a move into Turn 1, and he was forced to follow Megennis through the next 11 corners before making a run on the front straight.

The Cybersecurity sponsored No. 27 of Megennis crossed the under the checkered flag only 0.1 seconds ahead of Sowery.

Indy Lights Race #1 Results

RANK CAR NO. NAME Laps DIFFERENCE
1 21 Rinus VeeKay Juncos Racing 35 laps
2 28 Oliver Askew Andretti Autosport -3.499
3 27 Robert Megennis Andretti Autosport -13.8403
4 2 Toby Sowery HMD Motorsports/Team Pelfrey -13.9501
5 67 Dalton Kellett Juncos Racing -21.1314
6 79 David Malukas HMD Motorsports -30.6355
7 48 Ryan Norman Andretti Autosport -53.3512
8 5 Lucas Kohl Belardi Auto Racing -1 LAP
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Road To Indy at Grand Prix of Portland – Saturday – 10:20 a.m. – One ten-thousandth of a second separates VeeKay from Askew for Indy Lights Race 2

One ten-thousandth of a second. That’s less time than it takes to blink an eye, snap a finger or think a thought.

But that was all that separated Juncos Racing’s Rinus Van Kalmthout (VeeKay) from his Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires title rival Oliver Askew of Andretti Autosport in qualifying for the second Cooper Tires Indy Lights Grand Prix of Portland race of the weekend.

And what that calculates to, though, is exactly two tenths of an inch over 1.964 miles at 111.762 mph average speed.

Naturally, there were differing viewpoints from the pair of Road to Indy Presented by Cooper Tires stars about the microscopic margin of pole and the championship point that went with it. VeeKay’s 1:03.2629 lap was just ahead of Askew’s 1:03.2630.

“It’s amazing! It was so close, but we were good on the used tires,” VeeKay said after securing his fifth pole this season. “Then with one lap to go, the last lap, they told me save the tires to get it. That’s incredible to get the pole.”

Askew’s thoughts?

“It shows how short and close the times are. So close… yet so far away,” Askew said.

This marks the sixth time this year they’ll share the front row together.

Prior to Saturday’s second qualifying session, TSO caught up with VeeKay and Megennis to see how they maximized their performances on Friday and how they’d look to carry that momentum over on Saturday.

TSO spoke with VeeKay late Friday evening after scoring the race one pole. VeeKay noted how he has had to retrain and recalibrate his brain to remember the Indy Lights braking points back in this car, after feeling so confident about being able to go even later when in the Ed Carpenter Racing IndyCar he tested here earlier this month. Even so, he said the Juncos Racing team made some changes in-between his first and second runs to better optimize the setup for his eventual pole lap.

TSO also talked to Megennis Saturday morning. The Andretti Autosport rookie and Fordham University student noted he’s felt the best he has in several race weekends and said the car responded better to his input on Friday. He qualified third for race one.

Anyway at 9:40 a.m., Askew led the trio of Andretti Autosport, pair of Juncos Racing and HMD Motorsports and singular Belardi Auto Racing cars onto the track for the 30-minute qualifying for race two. Temperatures of 70F ambient and 83F track greeted the competitors for the morning session.

Ryan Norman went through the Festival Curves on his third lap but resumed after braking a bit too deep.

Within the first 10 minutes, times were already quicker than the Friday pole time. Askew was first into the 1:03s at 1:03.8712, ahead of David Malukas, Norman, VeeKay and Megennis.

Times continued to drop with Askew (1:03.6876) and VeeKay (1:03.6987) then covered by just 0.0111 of a second at the halfway point in the session.

Teams bolted on fresh sets of Cooper Tires for the run to the checkered flag and as expected the times tumbled.

The pair of HMD Motorsports drivers, first Malukas and then Toby Sowery, took their turns atop the charts.

But Askew and VeeKay both responded with aplomb and continued getting quicker, and eventually had the aforementioned microscopic gap between the two of them.

It looked like Askew had the pole with his time of 1:03.2630. But then VeeKay went faster by exactly one ten-thousandth of a second, at a lap of 1:03.2629.

The HMD Motorsports teammates of Sowery and Malukas were next, with Sowery only a tenth back on his own. That may of well have been another zip code behind by comparison.

Series veterans Norman and Kellett share row three ahead of Megennis and Lucas Kohl.

Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires – Qualifying Race #2

P No Name Team FTime Diff Laps
1 21 Rinus VeeKay Juncos Racing 1:03.263 –.—- 20
2 28 Oliver Askew Andretti Autosport 1:03.263 0.0001 19
3 2 Toby Sowery HMD Motorsports/Team Pelfrey 1:03.364 0.1010 23
4 79 David Malukas HMD Motorsports 1:03.527 0.2643 23
5 48 Ryan Norman Andretti Autosport 1:03.638 0.3752 20
6 67 Dalton Kellett Juncos Racing 1:03.649 0.3861 21
7 27 Robert Megennis Andretti Autosport 1:03.889 0.6264 21
8 5 Lucas Kohl Belardi Auto Racing 1:04.183 0.9203 21
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Road to Indy at the Grand Prix of Portland – Friday – 5:05 p.m. – VeeKay secures clutch pole for Indy Lights Race 1

Qualifying for the Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires first race of the weekend came alive inside the final five minutes and Rinus Van Kalmthout (VeeKay) was able to edge title rival Oliver Askew for the top spot. This is his fourth pole position of the season.

The Dutch rookie was the only driver to post a lap in the 1:03 bracket around the 1.964-mile Portland International Raceway track, on his 18th lap of the session. His best time was 1:03.9952 in the No. 21 Juncos Racing Dallara IL-15.

VeeKay’s late pace in the 30-minute session came in the final few minutes and ended Askew’s provisional hold on the session. Askew of Andretti Autosport held the top spot for the majority of the session with a lap in the 1:04.5 ballpark, before the times started to tumble once teams bolted on fresh sets of Cooper Tires slicks around the halfway point of the session.

The championship protagonists start on the front row ahead of Andretti’s Robert Megennis, just under two tenths of a second off pole, and the second Juncos entry of Dalton Kellett.

The Queens University engineering graduate will hit a milestone in Saturday’s race with his 67th career Indy Lights start, surpassing Arie Luyendyk Jr.’s all-time series record. Fittingly, the start comes driving the No. 67 car and equals his best start this season, achieved in two other races (Freedom 100, Toronto race two). The last time he started fourth in Toronto, he scored his only podium finish of the year in third place.

The pair of HMD Motorsports cars are fifth and sixth with David Malukas ahead of Toby Sowery. Lucas Kohl starts seventh ahead of Ryan Norman in eighth, who had a ragged session with an off-course excursion near the end in Turns 11 and 12.

Indy Lights qualifies for race two at 9:40 a.m. PDT tomorrow morning. They’ll have race one later Saturday afternoon at 1:50 p.m. PDT.

Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires – Portland Qualifying #1

P No Name Team FTime Diff Laps
1 21 Rinus VeeKay Juncos Racing 1:03.995 –.—- 19
2 28 Oliver Askew Andretti Autosport 1:04.115 0.1196 21
3 27 Robert Megennis Andretti Autosport 1:04.191 0.1957 21
4 67 Dalton Kellett Juncos Racing 1:04.439 0.4439 19
5 79 David Malukas HMD Motorsports 1:04.452 0.4565 22
6 2 Toby Sowery HMD Motorsports/Team Pelfrey 1:04.734 0.7393 19
7 5 Lucas Kohl Belardi Auto Racing 1:04.871 0.8756 22
8 48 Ryan Norman Andretti Autosport 1:05.054 1.0589 17
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Road to Indy at Portland – 10:45 a.m. – Askew on top in first Indy Lights practice

Championship leader Oliver Askew has set the early mark in his quest to capture the 2019 Indy Lights presented by Cooper Tires championship, with the best time in Friday morning practice. But with all eight cars within 0.6 of a second by the end of the 40-minute session, it’s still fairly close.

The eight cars competing in the second-to-last race weekend of the Indy Lights presented by Cooper Tires series took the green under cloudy skies just before 10 a.m. for their 40-minute practice session.

Even with the limited number of cars, Juncos Racing’s Rinus Van Kalmthout (VeeKay) was fairly busy in the opening minutes of the session passing several other cars.

Team principal Ricardo Juncos told the Advance Auto Parts IndyCar Radio Network wasn’t thrilled VeeKay had to pass so many cars early on, but took the rest of the interview to hail his progress. The Dutch driver is re-acclimating back to the Dallara IL-15 at this circuit since his impressive first test earlier this month in an NTT IndyCar Series car with Ed Carpenter Racing.

Times were roughly a second off last year’s best FP1 time (1:03.9334) in the opening ten minutes with a pair of Andretti Autosport drivers, Oliver Askew and Ryan Norman, the first two to dip into the 1:04 bracket at the 1.964-mile circuit. But naturally the track was starting to rubber in with more Cooper rubber following the Indy Pro 2000 first practice that marked the first Road to Indy session of the day.

At the halfway point, Askew had 0.3402 of a second on both VeeKay and Robert Megennis, who matched their times down to the thousandth. Norman was fourth ahead of the two HMD Motorsports cars, Toby Sowery and David Malukas, with Dalton Kellett and Lucas Kohl next.

VeeKay got within a tenth of Askew with just over 12 minutes remaining, and then jumped ahead of him on his 19th lap of the session at 1:04.188. Askew retook the top spot at 1:04.116, just over seven-hundredths ahead of his title rival.

With many drivers opting to bolt on a fresh set of Cooper slicks, Malukas shot up to the top of the charts at 1:03.915. That put him ahead of the 2018 FP1 time here. All of Askew, Norman and VeeKay were just behind in the 1:04.1 bracket.

Askew ensured that Malukas’ time on top was short-lived. He got down to a 1:03.894 lap in his No. 28 Index Invest entry for Andretti Autosport.

The next Indy Lights session today is qualifying for race on, from 4:25 to 4:55 p.m. PDT and local time.

P No Name Team FTime Diff Laps
1 28 Oliver Askew Andretti Autosport 1:03.894 –.—- 25
2 79 David Malukas HMD Motorsports 1:03.915 0.0207 24
3 48 Ryan Norman Andretti Autosport 1:04.002 0.1086 26
4 21 Rinus VeeKay Juncos Racing 1:04.171 0.2774 27
5 2 Toby Sowery HMD Motorsports/Team Pelfrey 1:04.199 0.3053 26
6 67 Dalton Kellett Juncos Racing 1:04.226 0.3320 25
7 27 Robert Megennis Andretti Autosport 1:04.396 0.5023 28
8 5 Lucas Kohl Belardi Auto Racing 1:04.502 0.6078 28

Indy Lights at Portland International Raceway – Preview – Askew can clinch, but there is more to play for

By Steve Wittich

Oliver Askew heads to the penultimate Indy Lights presented by Cooper Tires event with a chance to clinch the championship in the Pacific Northwest. With that trophy comes a three-race NTT IndyCar Series advancement scholarship.

Five races ago, when the top rung of the Road To Indy headed North Of The Border to Toronto, Ontario, Askew was clinging to a minuscule three-point margin over Rinus van Kalmthout (VeeKay). However, over the last five races, the 2017 USF2000 champion has outscored the 2017 Indy Pro 2000 champion by a margin of 166 to 117, to build a substantial 52 point margin as the series heads to Portland, Ore.

VeeKay needs to score at least six more points than Askew in the pair of 35-lap races on the 1.964-mile, 12-Turn road course to extend the championship to WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca in a few weeks. Possibly less if there are more than ten entries for the finale).

Rinus VeeKay congratulates Oliver Askew on his victory at the World Wide Technology Raceway At Gateway in Madison, Ill. (Photo Courtesy Of Andersen Promotions)

The pair of Cooper Tires Indy Lights Grand Prix Presented by Allied Building Products races will be the 17th and 18th Indy Lights race held at Portland International Raceway. Tommy Byrne won the first two years in 1988 and 1989. Last year, Patricio O’Ward won twice to clinch the Indy Lights title.

Previous Indy Lights winners at Portland International Raceway

YEAR DRIVER TEAM
2018 Race #2 Patricio O’Ward Andretti Autosport
2018 Race #1 Patricio O’Ward Andretti Autosport
2001 Damien Faulkner Dorricott Racing
2000 Jason Bright Dorricott Racing
1999 Phillipp Peter Dorricott Racing
1998 Guy Smith Johansson Motorsports
1997 Hideki Noda Indy Regency Racing
1996 Gualter Salles Brian Stewart Racing
1995 Greg Moore Forsythe Racing
1994 Andre Ribeiro Tasman Motorsports
1993 Franck Freon John Martin Racing
1992 Frank Freon Landford Racing
1991 Eric Bachelart Landford Racing
1990 Paul Tracy Landford Racing
1989 Tommy Byrne Landford Racing
1988 Tommy Byrne Opar Racing

Twisty points

The final four races on the Indy Lights calendar will be the ninth through 12th races contested on natural terrain courses during the 2019 season.

The Circuit of The Americas, the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, Road America and the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course have all hosted two races each. Championship leader Oliver Askew scoring 214 points, the most of any driver in that trio of events.

Askew also leads the way on natural terrain road courses, with four wins, four poles, seven podiums, 102 laps led and four fastest race laps across the eight races.

VeeKay is not far behind, with two wins, three poles, six podiums, 55 laps led and the fastest race lap on three occasions.

Askew’s Andretti Autosport teammates Robert Megennis and Ryan Norman both have natural terrain road course wins. The three teammates combined have stood on 14 of 28 available podium steps.

Zachary Claman, David Malukas, Toby Sowery, and Aaron Telitz are the other drivers who each have a single natural terrain podium

2019 Indy Lights Natural Terrain Road Course Points

RANK DRIVER POINTS
1 Oliver Askew – R 214
2 Rinus VeeKay – R 189
3 Robert Megennis – R 169
4 Ryan Norman 160
5 Toby Sowery – R 132
6 David Malukas – R 131
7 Dalton Kellett 105
8 Lucas Kohl – R 104
9 Aaron Telitz 67
10 Zachary Claman 67
11 Julien Falchero – R 36

Lap 1, Turn 1

In 1992, the ‘Festival Curves’ replaced a chicane on the front straight of the Portland International Raceway, and in the dozen Indy Lights since, nine have had first lap cautions. That total includes drivers going six-wide into the tight right-hander in last year’s second race. That ended with at least five cars making some contact and the yellow flag quickly being shown.

A Lap 1, Turn 1 mess in the second 2019 Indy Lights race at Portland International Raceway (Photo Courtesy Of Andersen Promotions)

In those 12 races, nine drivers, including the pole sitter from last year, Ryan Norman have failed to complete a lap after Lap 1, Turn 1 contact.

Oliver Askew certainly has a stranglehold on the championship, but the daunting ’Festival Curves’ are an excellent reason to hold off on anointing him champion.


Retrain your brain

On August 7, 2019, Oliver Askew (Chip Ganassi Racing) and Rinus VeeKay (Ed Carpenter Racing) both got their first taste of an NTT IndyCar Series machine in a test on the 1.964-mile, 12-turn road course.

The duo, who both told TSO that the thing that surprised them most about the Indy car wasn’t the extra power, the carbon fiber brakes, or the different tires, it was how much more downforce the car had than then IL-15 they will be racing this weekend.

In road course trim, the Indy Lights drivers are used to having approximately 1,500 pounds of downforce. While turning over 100 laps apiece in the IR-18 at Portland International Raceway less than a month ago, the duo were driving cars with 200% (approximately 4,500 pounds) more downforce.

Those first few laps could be an adventure for VeeKay and Askew. But they both professionals, so don’t expect them to take too long to readapt to the Indy Lights cars.


That Askew and VeeKay rivalry by the numbers

I’m sure the two drivers that began their Road To Indy Presented by Cooper Tires careers together 44 races ago in USF2000 are sick of talking about their ‘rivalry.” But, it’s hard not to keep the story in the forefront with numbers like those below.

Askew (right) and VeeKay in a USF2000 championship contenders photo shoot in 2017 (Photo Courtesy Of Andersen Promotions)

Askew and VeeKay have contested 44 races against each other across USF2000, Indy Pro 2000 and Indy Lights.

The two drivers have sprayed ‘champagne’ together an almost unbelievable 23 times in 44 races together, including nine times this year in Indy Lights.

One of the pair has started on pole 28 times (63.3%). Askew leads VeeKay with 18 versus ten inside front-row starts.

Askew has stood on the top step of the podium 15 times, while VeeKay has been there 13 times. The pair have won 63.3% (28) races that they have been a part of together.

Only seven times in their 44 races together have one of the duo failed to stand on the podium. Throughout the last three seasons, VeeKay has 32 podiums (72.7% of his races), compared to 28 podiums (63.6%) of his races for Askew.

One of the more surprising stats is that that between VeeKay (once) and Askew (twice), they have only failed to finish a race a total of three times. Neither of them is prone to making poor decisions on track.


Other things to play for

There are currently three drivers within 25 points for third place.

Ryan Norman is on an impressive run of eight straight top-four finishes, moving the Ohioan from seventh to third in the points standings. The 21-year-old Andretti Autosport veteran has 295 points and is the only driver that has completed all 470 laps so far this season. Norman had made two previous Indy Lights starts in the Rose City, and was quick, starting from the pole in the second race.

Robert Megennis only trails his Andretti Autosport teammate by 20 points. A return to his early-season road course form (see the note above), would go a long way to helping the 19-year-old pass his teammate for third.

An early mistake in last weekend’s oval race at World Wide Technology Raceway At Gateway by Toby Sowery dropped the Team Pelfrey/HMD Motorsports driver to fifth place, 25 points out of third headed to the final two races of the season.

David Malukas is currently 53 points behind Norman but has momentum from a strong bounce-back effort on the 1.25-mile oval. The Chicago, Ill. driver will need to make his way to the podium more often if he wants to move up in the standings.

Indy Lights points with four races remaining

RANK DRIVER TOTAL BACK
1 Oliver Askew – R 395
2 Rinus VeeKay – R 343 -52
3 Ryan Norman 295 -100
4 Robert Megennis – R 275 -120
5 Toby Sowery – R 270 -125
6 David Malukas – R 242 -153
7 Dalton Kellett 213 -182
8 Lucas Kohl – R 200 -195
9 Aaron Telitz 133 -262
10 Zachary Claman 124 -271
11 Julien Falchero – R 66 -329
12 Jarett Andretti – R 23 -372
13 Chris Windom – R 17 -378

Milestones

  • Dalton Kellett will be making his 125 Road To Indy Presented by Cooper Tires start in Race #1
  • Ryan Norman will be making his 50th Indy Lights and Road To Indy start in Race #2

Other Steve type things

  • Paul Tracy (1990), Eric Bachelart (1991), Greg Moore (1995), and Patricio O’Ward (2018) are the only eventual champions that have won at Portland International Raceway.
  • The pole-sitter at Portland International Raceway has won nine of the 16 races, and the average starting position of the eventual winner is 2.1.
  • Race #2 winner Patricio O’Ward started seventh last year. The furthest back an eventual race winner has started.
  • The average finishing position of the pole sitter at Portland International Raceway is 2.6.
  • Race #2 inside front row starter Ryan Norman finished eighth last year. The worst finish for a pole-winning driver.
  • The three different race leaders in Race #2 last year is the most in the history of Indy Lights racing at Portland International Raceway.

Race Weekend Basics

Race #1: Cooper Tires Indy Lights Grand Prix Presented by Allied Building Products
Race #2: Cooper Tires Indy Lights Grand Prix Presented by Allied Building Products

Race #1 distance: 35 laps or 55 minutes
Race #2 distance: 35 laps or 60 minutes

Each entry can utilize four new sets of Cooper Tire slicks as well as one set of used/scuffed tires from the race weekend at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course.

Drivers failing to slow at least 15% in a timing sector with a local yellow will be subject to a two-place grid spot penalty

Drivers who fail to heed the checkered flag at the end of a session will receive a two-grid spot penalty

Causing one red flag will result in a driver losing their fastest lap

Causing a second red flag will wipe out all of drivers laps, and they will be parked for the remainder of the session

Driver points are distributed as follows: 30 – 25 – 22 – 19 – 17 – 15 -14 – 13 – 12 – 11 – 10 – 9 – 8 – 7 – 6 – 5 – 4 – 3 – 2 – 1 – an additional one point will be awarded to the pole sitter and to the driver who leads the most laps.


Watch the 2018 Indy Lights races from Portland International Raceway

Race #1

Race #2


Don’t miss any of the Road To Indy Presented by Cooper Tires action:

Road To Indy at World Wide Technology Raceway At Gateway – Saturday – Askew grabs fourth win a row – seventh this season

VeeKay on the opening lap, the Andretti Autosport exhibited tremendous patience following the No. 23 Soul Red car of VeeKay for 52 laps.

“I think our car was just better [than VeeKay],” said Askew after the race. “I understood from the beginning that he had more straight-line speed than us and was more trimmed out, so I knew he was going to lose his tires at the end – and he did. I just had to keep the pressure on and wait for my opportunity. A big thanks to everybody at Index Invest, Andretti Autosport, the Stellrecht Company.”

VeeKay and Juncos Racing trimmed out, hoping to grab a quick lead and hold on. It almost worked.

“We didn’t have much to lose, so we tried to trim out the car – we used a setup that we had about five laps on, so we weren’t sure how it would go on a longer stint,” explained the 18-year-old. “I had a great start and was able to get by Oliver, but we were surprised by the balance on every lap. We had such low downforce. I picked up a lot of understeer, but I kept my foot in it and at one point, I brushed the wall. It was quite a hit; I’m glad the car wasn’t damaged. Oliver got a run on me and from that moment, I backed off a bit to bring the car home. To get P2 and most laps led is a good thing.

“But I’ll try to do everything I can to catch Oliver: it will be tough, but the team and I will give it all we have, and that’s all we can do. I’ve raced against him for three years – he’s always quick and we’re always together. We’re really good rivals.”

Engines for the 75-lap Cooper Tires Indy Lights Oval Challenge of St. Louis were fired at 3:20 pm, and after a pair of pace laps, the front row of Askew and VeeKay brought the field to the green flag.

Both drivers got an equal start with VeeKay able to stay beside Askew through the south end of the track. The rivals went made the run down the backstretch side-by-side before

VeeKay was able to get just ahead of Askew in Turn 3 and pull down in front of Askew. That took the air off the Index Invest sponsored No. 28, and it washed up the track, allowing VeeKay to lead the first lap.

The front four settle in upfront, but behind them, Kellett, Sowery and Megennis were in a back and forth battle for fifth.

At lap 10, VeeKay’s lead over Askew was 1.1 seconds, but that was erased when Sowery’s Gap Guard/Rich Energy sponsored No. 2 lost the rear end at the exit of Turn 2.

It created a ton of smoke, but Sowery didn’t hit anything, and he came to pit road for four fresh Cooper Tires. The HMD Motorsports crew completed the pit stop quickly, keeping Sowery on the lead lap.

The green flag came out to start lap 16. VeeKay was able to hold off Askew, pulling out to a 0.8 second lead in two-laps.

Behind them, the battle for fifth was still the one to watch. This time it was between Kellett and Megennis.

On Lap 21, Norman was only 0.2 seconds behind Malukas for the final spot on the podium.

Upfront, Askew’s gap to VeeKay had shrunk to 0.4 seconds on Lap 27.

On Lap 30, VeeKay tagged the wall with the rear of his Soul Red No. 23 at the exit of Turn 2.

At the half-way point of the race, VeeKay was still upfront, but the lead was only 0.3 seconds. Malukas, in third was 6.5 seconds back, holding off Norman who was within one second.

With 32 laps to go, VeeKay’s lead was still 0.3 seconds ahead of Askew.

At the one-third pole, the lead was only 0.2 seconds with Askew putting immense pressure on VeeKay.

On Lap 53, Askew, who was more stable in Turn 3 and Turn 4 was able to make the pass for the lead. Going around the outside in Turn 1 and Turn 2. VeeKay took a look to the inside in Turn 3, but Askew was able to hold him off and started to drive away.

Five laps later, the Askew’s lead was already at 2.4 seconds. VeeKay’s lead over Malukas had shrunk to 4 seconds.

With eight laps remaining, the lead was 5.6 seconds over VeeKay. Malukas was only 1.7 seconds back.

Malukas was able to get within a second of VeeKay, but could not get close enough get past him.

Cooper Tires Indy Pro 2000 Oval Challenge of St. Louis Race Results

RANK CAR NO. DRIVER TEAM GAP
1 28 Oliver Askew Andretti Autosport 75 Laps
2 21 Rinus VeeKay Juncos Racing -6.789
3 79 David Malukas HMD Motorsports -7.9155
4 48 Ryan Norman Andretti Autosport -18.622
5 27 Robert Megennis Andretti Autosport -21.8425
6 67 Dalton Kellett Juncos Racing -23.8045
7 5 Lucas Kohl Belardi Auto Racing -24.2405
8 2 Toby Sowery HMD Motorsports/Team Pelfrey -25.4903
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