Archives for Indy Lights News/Results

Road To Indy at World Wide Technology Raceway At Gateway – Friday – Oliver Askew grabs his 7th pole of the season

As the last car on the track, championship leader Oliver Askew knew precisely what he needed to grab his fourth straight and seventh pole position of the season. The Andretti Autosport rookie delivered with a two-lap average of 159.918 mph. The Jupiter, Fla. native was the only driver with a lap above 160mph.

It’s Askew’s 18th pole in 44 career Road To Indy Presented by Cooper Tires starts, giving the 22-year-old a career pole percentage of an impressive 40.9%.

Oliver Askew and the Index Invest sponsored No. 28 on track at World Wide Technology Raceway At Gateway (Photo Courtesy Of Andersen Promotions)

It is the second straight year that an Andretti Autosport driver will start on pole at World Wide Technology Raceway At Gateway.

The track temperature was 30 degrees cooler than it was during the afternoon practice equating to entirely different conditions for the drivers.

“Not really, a little bit of a wing adjustment because the COP (Center of Pressure) changes with the cooler air,” explained Askew when TSO asked if they made any adjustments going into qualifying. “In a situation like this when you haven’t driven in this condition, it’s all about adapting to what it’s giving you. You have to push as hard as you can to find the limit (on the out-lap), but there is a happy medium because you don’t want to bin it.”

Lucas Kohl was the first driver to take to the 1.25-mile oval at 7:30 pm for his two-lap qualifying effort. The Belardi Auto Racing rookie will start ninth after a two-lap qualifying effort of 155.278mph.

Veteran Dalton Kellett was the next driver on the track followed by HMD Motorsports rookie David Malukas. Kellett will start tomorrow’s race on the outside of the third row.

Malukas was the first driver to surpass the 159 mph barrier with a two-lap run averaging 159.013mph. The 17-year-old held onto the provisional pole through two drivers, Andretti Autosport rookie Robert Megennis and his teammate Toby Sowery.

Andretti Autosport veteran Ryan Norman, the third to last driver to turn in a qualifying effort grabbed the provisional pole with a two-lap average of 159.248mph.

Rinus VeeKay, who was off the pace in last week’s test at World Wide Technology Raceway At Gateway, was the second to last driver on track, turning in two laps that were good enough for an outside front-row start.

After the session, we had a chance to chat with VeeKay, and he was happy with his qualifying effort. The Dutchman reminded us that he won from the same spot on the grid in last year’s Indy Pro 2000 Championship Presented by Cooper Tires race at this track.

Cooper Tires Indy Lights Oval Challenge of St. Louis qualifying results 

RANK CAR NO. DRIVER TEAM 2-LAP AVERGE (mph) 1st LAP 2nd LAP
1 28 Oliver Askew Andretti Autosport 159.918 159.398 160.440
2 21 Rinus VeeKay Andretti Autosport 159.288 158.647 159.935
3 48 Ryan Norman Juncos Racing 159.248 158.763 159.736
4 79 David Malukas HMD Motorsports/Team Pelfrey 159.013 158.446 159.584
5 2 Toby Sowery HMD Motorsports 158.927 158.591 159.263
6 67 Dalton Kellett Andretti Autosport 158.510 158.353 158.667
7 27 Robert Megennis Juncos Racing 158.331 157.897 158.767
8 5 Lucas Kohl Belardi Auto Racing 155.278 153.849 156.733

The 75 lap Cooper Tires Indy Lights Oval Challenge of St. Louis is scheduled to get the green flag at 3:25 pm (central) on Saturday.

Road To Indy at World Wide Technology Raceway At Gateway – Friday – Championship leader Askew leads Indy Lights practice

Points leader Oliver Askew led the lone practice session in preparation for the Cooper Tires Indy Lights Oval Challenge of St. Louis. The Andretti Autosport rookie turned the fastest lap of 161.000 mph, over 1mph quicker than his teammate Robert Megennis. 

Megennis, Rinus VeeKay, Toby Sowery, David Malukas, and Ryan Norman held down spots two through six and were separated by only 0.4mph. 

With 25-minutes remaining in the 45-minutes session, the yellow flag came out for a track inspection. 

Toby Sowery and David Malukas, with the newly renamed HMD Motorsports, held down the top two spots, followed by Rinus VeeKay, Oliver Askew and Robert Megennis. 

With 15-minutes remaining, the top five had not changed. 

At that point in the session, most drivers were in pit road for adjustment and a fresh set of Cooper Tire slicks. 

The Andretti Autosport drivers were the first back out on the 1.25-mile oval, with Askew grabbing the top spot on the timing screen with seven minutes remaining. 

The top four drivers at that point in the session were separated by only 0.05 seconds, equating to three-tenths of a mile per hour. 

Sowery and Malukas waited to go out on the track, but could not improve on their times and were eventually surpassed by Megennis and VeeKay to end with the fourth and fifth quickest times. 

The eight drivers turned a total of 360 laps in the 45-minute session. Megennis turned 59 laps the most of any driver. 

Cooper Tires Indy Lights Oval Challenge of St. Louis practice #1 results 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

RANK CAR NO. DRIVER FASTEST LAP (mph) TOTAL LAPS
1 28 Oliver Askew 161.000 53
2 27 Robert Megennis 159.626 59
3 21 Rinus VeeKay 159.576 47
4 2 Toby Sowery 159.460 36
5 79 David Malukas 159.314 31
6 48 Ryan Norman 159.235 45
7 67 Dalton Kellett 157.930 40
8 5 Lucas Kohl 157.541 49

The top rung of the Road To Indy Presented by Cooper Tires will be back on track at 7:30 pm (central) for two-lap, single-car qualifying. 

Road To Indy testing at World Wide Technology Raceway At Gateway – Sowery and HMD Motorsports quick in Indy Lights – Kirkwood’s momentum continues in Indy Pro 2000

By Steve Wittich

The top two rungs of the Road To Indy Presented by Cooper Tires were in action yesterday at the 1.25-mile World Wide Technology Raceway At Gateway oval in preparation for their races next weekend.

A total of eight Indy Lights presented by Cooper Tires and a dozen Indy Pro 2000 drivers took part in three test sessions (a total of 165 minutes) each.

Championship leader Oliver Askew turned in the quickest laps during the first two test sessions, but it was a pair of HMD Motorsports drivers who ended up on top of the combined timesheet when the test ended.

Yes, you read that correctly, HMD Motorsports. The team formerly known as BN Racing has moved from Chicago, Ill. to Brownsburg, Ind. and experienced USF2000 team owner, IndyCar team manager, and one-time Team Penske crew chief John Cummiskey has joined the team that also added championship-winning engineer Geoff Fickling at the Road America rounds.

Sowery’s fastest lap during a qualifying simulation on his last lap in the last session of the day was clocked at 159.086 mph, just a little quicker than Colton Herta’s pole lap of 159.075 mph from last year.

Toby Sowery on pit road for an Indy Lights test at World Wide Technology Raceway At Gateway (Photo Courtesy Of Andersen Promotions)

“We were comfortable right out of the box,” said Sowery, who finished fourth in the Freedom 100 presented by Cooper Tires, his first-ever race on an oval. “Most every track I’ve been to this year has been new, so you can’t let that bother you. Ovals are new to me as well, but in some ways, there’s less to an oval than a road course, and the concept applies from one to another. You basically know what to expect, so it’s all about having faith in the car and knowing what it’s capable of. We had a car that allowed us to push fairly easily without taking any risks.

“I’m quietly optimistic going into the race weekend – I don’t want to jinx it, because I really do want that first series win, but I think we’ve got the car under us, it’s just a matter of putting all the pieces together.”

The 23-year-old’s HMD Motorsports teammate needed a confidence boost after a hard crash ended his first Indy Lights oval experience at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway on the fourth turn of the first lap.

The Chicago, Ill. driver turned a total of 181 laps during the three sessions, the most of any driver. “This is the most confident I’ve felt since I started Indy Lights,” said Malukas.

“I’m still new to ovals, to preparing passes, and I didn’t have a teammate last year in Indy Pro 2000 to work with, said the 17-year-old after the test. “I won’t lie, I was a bit nervous getting back into the car, since the last time I was on an oval I had a big incident. I went in not expecting much, but we’ve made a lot of changes to the team and this was a fresh start. I was expecting to take my time getting up to speed, but we were up to pace right away in the first session.

“It’s quite difficult to pass here, as opposed to Indy, so getting practice in passing is really important, and it went really well. We put it in P1 doing a quali sim early in the third session and went back to race runs, since that’s where I struggle the most. We found a really good race setup but we were out of fuel and couldn’t compete with Toby over those last few laps, but congrats to him. All that matters is the team effort – to be one-two at the top, we’re all really happy going into the race weekend.”

Freedom 100 presented by Cooper Tires pole-sitter Robert Megennis ended the day with the third quickest time, just ahead of his teammate Askew, who worked on race runs in the final one-hour session.

None of the drivers made contact with the wall, but Andretti Autosport veteran and winner at World Wide Technology Raceway At Gateway had a big “oh sh*t” moment that he shared on social media.

Combined Indy Lights Time Sheet 

RANK CAR NO DRIVER TEAM FASTEST LAP (MPH) DIFFERENCE (MPH) TOTAL LAPS
1 2 Toby Sowery HMD Motorsports 159.086 156
2 79 David Malukas HMD Motorsports 158.617 -0.469 181
3 27 Robert Megennis Andretti Autosport 158.101 -0.985 162
4 28 Oliver Askew Andretti Autosport 157.947 -1.139 152
5 48 Ryan Norman Andretti Autosport 157.828 -1.258 108
6 21 Rinus VeeKay Juncos Racing 157.574 -1.512 147
7 5 Lucas Kohl Belardi Auto Racing 156.386 -2.7 174
8 67 Dalton Kellett Juncos Racing 155.207 -3.879 110

 

Kyle Kirkwood’s hot streak continued into testing for the second oval event of the Indy Pro 2000 Championship Presented by Cooper Tires season. The reigning Cooper Tires USF2000 Champion used final session lap clocked at 142.241mph to wipe out a rough start to start to the day that had the RP Motorsport driver in eighth after the first session.

The Italian team went back to the same set-up they used last year when Harrison Scott grabbed the pole, and that allowed Kirkwood to go to the top of the combined timesheet.

Kirkwood’s quickest lap was significantly faster than Scott’s qualifying effort of 139.738mph last year.

“We had some issues in the first session, but we went back to the team’s baseline from last year’s pole-winning car in the second session,” said the 20-year-old who is on a three-race winning streak. “In the third session, we put fresh tires on and were able to get a quick lap there at the end, though I think there’s plenty of room for improvement. The team has confidence coming into the race weekend after their performance here last year, and since this is the second oval of the year.

“This is very different from Lucas Oil Raceway, as there are fewer reference points and you’re not running up high the entire time, and we’re going a lot quicker. This is the first time I’ve been on a ‘real’ oval so it was a good experience. I think we’ll be strong next weekend.”

Kyle Kirkwood on pit road during Indy Pro 2000 testing at World Wide Technology Raceway At Gateway (Photo Courtesy Of Andersen Promotions)

Championship leader Rasmus Lindh, like fellow title-leader Oliver Askew, led the first two sessions. The Juncos Racing rookie ended the day with the second quickest time and with the team’s past success on the 1.25-mile oval, has confidence headed into the race weekend.

“This is my first time on an oval like this and it was a good experience,” said Lindh who finished third in the first oval event of the year at Lucas Oil Raceway. “You can work more with your driving here because you can run more of a normal line in the middle of the corner, rather than having to run a high line. It took a few laps to get used to it. It’s more difficult to find time on an oval like this, but if you’re in the top three, running here feels quite easy.

“Rinus did well here last year and we were P1 in the first two sessions so we’re very confident that we have a good baseline going into the race weekend. We focused on race runs in the final session and we’re very happy with the car. We have to be careful, as Kyle is catching us a bit, but I feel as though this will be a good race weekend for us.”

Ending the day with the third and fourth quickest laps were DEForce Racing teammate Kory Enders and Moisés de la Vara.

Danial Frost, the winner of the first oval race of the year finished the day with the tenth quickest time, and the Exclusive Autosport crew will have some work to do, if they want to win again on an oval.

Making his Road To Indy Presented by Cooper Tires debut with RP Motorsport was Artem Petrov. The 20-year-old from St. Petersburg, Russia spent two years in F4, finishing fifth in the 2017 Italian F4 Championship. Last year, Petrov contested the FIA Formula 3 European Championship and has driven in Euroformula Open Championship with RP Motorsport this year.

Petrov ended up with the ninth quickest time.

There were no significant incidents, but the No. 83 Fatboy Racing! machine piloted by Charles Finelli expired, losing substantial fluid and causing a delay during clean-up.

Combined Indy Pro 2000 timesheet 

RANK CAR NO DRIVER TEAM FASTEST LAP (MPH) DIFFERENCE (MPH) TOTAL LAPS
1 28 Kyle Kirkwood RP Motorsport 142.241 122
2 10 Rasmus Lindh Juncos Racing 142.116 -0.125 119
3 7 Kory Enders DEForce Racing 141.452 -0.789 123
4 6 Moisés de la Vara DEForce Racing 141.404 -0.837 100
5 2 Sting Ray Robb Juncos Racing 141.200 -1.041 150
6 51 Jacob Abel Abel Motorsports 140.654 -1.587 159
7 8 Parker Thompson Abel Motorsports 140.031 -2.21 99
8 3 Antoine Comeau Turn 3 Motorsport 139.904 -2.337 135
9 5 Artem Petrov RP Motorsport 139.067 -3.174 139
10 68 Danial Frost Exclusive Autosport 139.032 -3.209 152
11 90 Nikita Lastochkin Exclusive Autosport 138.945 -3.296 163
12 83 Charles Finelli Fatboy Racing! 136.186 -6.055 91
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Road To Indy at Mid-Ohio – Saturday – Askew sets track record on the way to second Mid-O pole

By Steve Wittich

Oliver Askew, who took the pole for race #1 yesterday afternoon, wasn’t satisfied with his lap time. The 22-year-old was the only driver to get into the 70-second range. His lap at 70.808 seconds broke that track record of Santi Urrutia from 2016 by one-tenth of a second.

After the session, Askew told Katie Hargitt that he had been studying Colton (Herta) and Patricio’s (O’Ward) data from last year, and he finally pipped them.

Askew makes it three for three, with all of the Road To Indy series race #1 pole sitters repeating the feat for race #2.

After having an issue in qualifying yesterday and only turning in the sixth-best lap, VeeKay recovered and will start beside his championship rival on the front row.

For the second straight qualifying session, it was Toby Sowery that ended up with the third quickest lap.

The second Indy Lights qualifying session of the weekend began promptly at 9:45 am. The ambient temperature was already 77F, and the track temperature was 84F.

With 10 minutes gone in the session, VeeKay held the provisional pole.

At the half-way point of the second session, VeeKay held the provisional pole with a lap at 71.5007 seconds. The Andretti Autosport trio of Megennis, Norman and Askew were the next three drivers on the timing screen, all within two-tenths of a second of VeeKay.

All nine drivers were on pit-road for adjustments and fresh Cooper Tire slicks.

With one-third of the 30-minute qualifying session, Megennis was the first driver to get back on the 2.258-Mile, 13-Turn Mid-Ohio Road Course.

It took three laps to get the Coopers up to the optimal operating temperature, but with just over four minutes remaining, Askew turned his fastest lap of the session at 71.4248 seconds.

Megennis jumped to the provisional pole, but that didn’t last long before Askew became the first driver to break into the 70-second range.

For the second straight qualifying session, Aaron Telitz and the No. 4 Belardi Auto Racing AER/Dallara IL-15 of brought out a red flag. This morning, the veteran spun in Turn 1, getting stuck in the gravel trap.

That ended the session 30 seconds early, and Telitz lost his fastest lap of the session.

Cooper Tires Indy Lights Grand Prix of Mid-Ohio

RANK CAR. NO DRIVER TEAM QUICK LAP DIFFERENCE
1 28 Oliver Askew Andretti Autosport 1:10.808 –.—-
2 21 Rinus VeeKay Juncos Racing 1:11.113 0.3051
3 2 Toby Sowery BN Racing/Team Pelfrey 1:11.297 0.4892
4 27 Robert Megennis Andretti Autosport 1:11.361 0.5534
5 67 Dalton Kellett Juncos Racing 1:11.367 0.5589
6 48 Ryan Norman Andretti Autosport 1:11.388 0.5797
7 4 Aaron Telitz Belardi Auto Racing 1:11.720 0.9118
8 79 David Malukas BN Racing 1:11.883 1.0750
9 5 Lucas Kohl Belardi Auto Racing 1:12.044 1.2362

The 20-lap or 50-minute Cooper Tires Indy Lights Grand Prix of Mid-Ohio Race #1 is scheduled to get underway at 1:20 pm.

Road To Indy at Mid-Ohio – Friday – Askew wins with pole of the season – Andretti Autosport drivers three of top four – Sowery breaks up the party

By Steve Wittich

For the fifth time in 12 Indy Lights race this year, it will be Oliver Askew and his Index Invest Andretti Autosport No. 28 that will start on the pole. It’s the Jupiter, Fla. natives 16th career Road To Indy Presented by Cooper Tires pole win.

After getting out of the car, he told Katie Hargitt from NBC Gold that winning the pole at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course is “massively important,” especially at a track where overtaking can be a challenge. He also thanked his crew for a “car that is on rails.”

Andretti Autosport has now won four straight poles at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course and six overall.

Askew’s pole-winning lap was 0.2074 seconds quicker than fellow Andretti Autosport rookie Robert Megennis, who will start on the front row for the fourth time this year.

Oliver Askew hammers an apex at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course on the way to the pole for Race #1 (Photo Courtesy Of Andersen Promotions)

Toby Sowery and his Gap Guard/Rich Energy sponsored No. 2 from the BN Racing/Team Pelfrey stable will start on the inside of the second row, the English driver’s best start since the season-opening race in St. Petersburg, Fla.

Starting beside Sowery, is Andretti Autosport veteran, Ohioan Ryan Norman.

The first of two Indy Lights qualifying session got underway at 2:30 pm. The ambient temperature was 80F, and the track temperature was 108F. A slight cloud cover began to roll in, meaning the track temperature was 10 degrees cooler than it was for the start of USF2000 qualifying.

Robert Megennis held the early provisional pole before his fellow Andretti Autosport rookie Askew took the top spot.

After just 10 minutes of running, Belardi Auto Racing veteran Aaron Telitz spun in Turn 12. The Belardi Auto Racing No. 4 got stuck in the long grass and had to be pushed back to the pavement by the AMR INDYCAR Safety Team. The Rice Lake, Wisc., based driver was able to drive back to the pits and rejoin the session.

For causing a red flag, Telitz lost his quickest lap of the session and will start seventh.

Because the red flag came out just before the half-way point of the session, the crews made adjustments to the AER/Dallara IL-15s and bolted on fresh Cooper Tire slicks.

When the green flag flew with 16-minutes remaining Askew held the provisional pole with a lap timed at 72.222 seconds. That was 0.3433 seconds ahead of his closest championship rival VeeKay. Dalton Kellett, Megennis and Norman made up the remainder of the top five.

All nine drivers were able to go quicker on their fresh Coopers. Much like the first half of qualifying, it was Askew that quickly went back to the point.

But behind him, things were much different. Askew’s teammate Megennis and Norman, along with Sowery were able to improve more than the Juncos Racing duo of Kellett and VeeKay.

Cooper Tires Indy Lights Grand Prix of Mid-Ohio Qualifying #1 Results

RANK CAR. NO DRIVER TEAM QUICK LAP DIFFERENCE
1 28 Oliver Askew Andretti Autosport 1:11.680 –.—-
2 27 Robert Megennis Andretti Autosport 1:11.887 0.2074
3 2 Toby Sowery BN Racing/Team Pelfrey 1:12.132 0.4527
4 48 Ryan Norman Andretti Autosport 1:12.232 0.5524
5 67 Dalton Kellett Juncos Racing 1:12.261 0.5812
6 21 Rinus VeeKay Juncos Racing 1:12.296 0.6161
7 4 Aaron Telitz Belardi Auto Racing 1:12.765 1.0856
8 79 David Malukas BN Racing 1:12.885 1.2056
9 5 Lucas Kohl Belardi Auto Racing 1:13.049 1.3695

The first Indy Lights race of the weekend, a 30-lap or 50-minute race is scheduled to get the green flag tomorrow at 1:20 pm. However, the series will be back on track before that for Qualifying #2 at 9:45 am.

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Road To Indy in Toronto – Sunday – Askew scores pole for Race #2

Game on!

For the fourth time, this season and 15th time in two and a half seasons of Road To Indy competition Oliver Askew will start from the pole.

The 22-year-old turned a quick lap at 65.0940 seconds, which was just over a tenth-of-a-second ahead of his closest championship competitor, Rinus van Kalmthout (VeeKay).

Askew credited the Andretti Autosport crew for making the right change when they pitted in the middle of the session.

When all nine cars headed out on the 1.786-mile, 11-turn Exhibition Place street circuit, they were on new sticker tires.

The 30-minute session began a few minutes late, while track repairs were completed. The ambient temperature 70F, and the track temperature was 77F.

Robert Megennis, Oliver Askew, Rinus VeeKay and Aaron Telitz all spent time at the top of the timing screen.

At the half-way point of the 30-minute session, the provisional pole sitter was VeeKay, with a lap of 66.0861 seconds. Sowery, Telitz, Askew, and Kellett were the remainder of the top five.

With 15-minutes left in qualifying, the majority of drivers were on pit road for adjustments.

VeeKay was the first driver to go quicker in the second half of qualifying.

With ten minutes remaining, eight of nine drivers were on track. The quickest lap was 66.0861 seconds by VeeKay.

With 7 minutes remaining, Race #1 winner Telitz spun in Turn 3, making light contact with the nose of his No. 4 AER/Dallara IL-15. The veteran came to pit road, and Belardi Auto Racing affixed a new nose and Telitz went back out on the track.

Sowery, with just under five minutes remaining, grabbed the provisional pole, but it didn’t last long. VeeKay, with the first lap under 66 seconds, went back to the top.

With 150 seconds remaining in the session, Askew jumped to the provisional pole, with Sowery also going faster than VeeKay.

On the next lap, his 20th of the session, Askew went even quicker. On their final laps, VeeKay, Telitz, and Kellett both went faster than Sowery but were not fast enough to catch Askew.

Indy Lights Qualifying #2 – Unofficial Results

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

RANK CAR NO NAME TEAM QUICK LAP GAP
1 28 Oliver Askew Andretti Autosport 1:05.094 –.—-
2 21 Rinus VeeKay Juncos Racing 1:05.206 0.1121
3 4 Aaron Telitz Belardi Auto Racing 1:05.274 0.1797
4 67 Dalton Kellett Juncos Racing 1:05.302 0.2077
5 2 Toby Sowery BN Racing/Team Pelfrey 1:05.370 0.2764
6 27 Robert Megennis Andretti Autosport 1:05.930 0.8364
7 79 David Malukas BN Racing 1:05.943 0.8493
8 48 Ryan Norman Andretti Autosport 1:06.184 1.0896
9 5 Lucas Kohl Belardi Auto Racing 1:07.173 2.0791

The second Indy Lights race of the weekend roles off at 11 am.

Indy Lights at Road America – Sunday – VeeKay dominates – Norman on Podium again – Askew maintains points lead

Juncos Racing rookie Rinus van Kalmthout (VeeKay) credited a dominant win on Sunday with on some of what he learned after a drive-thru penalty on Saturday.

“It helped me quite a lot,” answered VeeKay when asked about Saturday’s comeback drive translating to Sunday. “Yesterday, I got a drive-thru penalty and I didn’t have anything to lose. So, I pushed every lap, and I learned what the tires could handle. I took everything that I learned, and I didn’t make many mistakes today. The team gave me a great car. It’s amazing having these guys around me and helping me win.”

The Dutchman’s third win of the season is the 13th of his short Road To Indy Presented by Cooper Tires career and moves him to within three points of Indy Lights points leader Oliver Askew.

The 18-year-old joins Victor Franzoni as a Juncos Racing Indy Lights race winner at Road America.

Road America Indy Lights Race #2 winner, Juncos Racing rookie Rinus van Kalmthout (VeeKay) is interviewed by INDYCAR Radio’s Rob Howden (Photo Courtesy Of Andersen Promotions)

Askew, who dealt with a mechanical issue, that limited him to a fifth-place finish on Saturday, also rebounded on Sunday, finishing on the bottom step of the podium. It’s the seventh time the 22-year-old has visited the podium this year and 23rd time in his 39 race Road To Indy Presented by Cooper Tires career.

“I had a more aggressive start today than yesterday, but I ran out of push-to-pass early, trying to stay with Ryan (Norman), which was unfortunate, because my car was at its best late in the race,” said Askew. “It was a good fight with both my teammates, so I think we gave the fans a good show. I didn’t expect to leave this weekend with the points lead, given how strong Rinus is here, so I’m happy with the result. I’m so proud of the No. 28 crew – I’ve never had big success here and we didn’t test here, so I’m happy to come away with two podiums. I’m looking forward to the upcoming races, and I know we’ll be stronger going forward.”

The Ryan that Askew mentions is his Andretti Autosport Ryan Norman. Saturday’s race winner extended his podium streak to three races and made up ground on the points leader for the second straight race.

The highlight of the 20-lap race was Norman’s quick re-pass of Askew, with a bold move in turn 5.

The 21-year-old began the weekend at Road America fifth in the hunt for the NTT IndyCar Series scholarship, 62 points out of first place and leaves in fourth place, within 45 points of Askew.

“We had a great battle with (Oliver) Askew,” said the smiling veteran after the race. “My tires were falling off a little quicker than yesterday so I was getting really loose in the high speed corners. Oliver was catching me in Turns 1 and 3, but I was able to pull away in the back of the track. It was definitely an exciting race. I was just trying to put together some clean laps towards the end there because I knew Oliver might be catching up. I knew he didn’t have much push-to-pass so I felt pretty secure but just had to keep putting together clean laps. Thank you to Andretti Autosport and Three Chord for a successful weekend at Road America.”

The ambient temperature was 64F, and the track temperature was 72F (which was 30 degrees cooler than yesterday) when the command was given for the drivers to fire up the turbocharged 2.0L AER engines.

After a single pace lap, and for the second straight race, pole sitter VeeKay and Norman brought the Indy Lights field up the Road America Straight to the start/finish line to begin Sunday’s second race of the weekend.

Telitz, from his third starting spot, moved to the outside of Norman to make it three wide headed into Turn 1, the Belardi Auto Racing veteran was forced to back out of the move, and that allowed Askew to move past him into third.

VeeKay got through the first three turns ahead of Norman, as behind them several drivers locked up their Cooper Tires under braking for the critical right-hander.

Telitz got ahead of Askew into the Turn 5 braking zone but locked up the brakes on the Endodontic Specialists of Wisconsin sponsored No. 4, putting his right side tires on the gator curbs forcing him to miss the corner and drop into ninth place, right behind his teammate. Telitz was able to get past Kohl in Canada Corner to gain back the first of four spots he’d make up.

At the end of the first lap, VeeKay’s lead was already 1.008 seconds over Norman, who was followed across the line by Askew, Robert Megennis, Toby Sowery, David Malukas, Dalton Kellett, Telitz and Kohl.

At the start of the fourth lap, VeeKay had built up a 2.017-second lead, putting Norman out of push-to-pass range, and into the clutches of Askew.

Askew took a look to the inside of Norman in Turn 1, but thought better of it, tucking his Index Invest No. 28 right under the rear wing until the exit of Turn 3, when he drove by Norman on the inside on the long run to Turn 5. Askew cleared Norman well before the corner and pulled right to set up for a typical entry into the corner. Norman took that opportunity to dive back to the inside, out braking his teammate, who went wide over the curbing at corner exit. Norman was able to win the drag race up the hill under the Corvette Bridge to Turn 6, to maintain his second spot on the podium.

That put Askew into the viewfinder of the third Andretti Autosport driver, Megennis and Sowery.

VeeKay continued to push hard, with the rear end of the Mazda/Jumbo Supermarkets/La Place Restaurants/KNAF Talent First sponsored No. 21 stepping out as he crossed the curbing at the exit of the final corner.

Norman started to pull away from Askew, who held Megennis behind him until Lap 9 when Megennis made the pass for the final spot on the podium on the inside of Askew in Turn 5.

When the leader VeeKay was shown the crossed flags, his lead over Norman had grown to a substantial 6.479 seconds. Megennis was on the final step of the podium and was followed by Askew, Sowery, Telitz, Malukas, Kellett, and Kohl.

On Lap 12, Megennis’ rear tires had begun to burn off, allowing Askew to make a pass in on the run down to Turn 5 and moving back to the final step of the podium. Megennis locked up his Cooper Tires in the next corner, getting too deep into the corner and allowing Askew to pull away.

Robert Megennis goes a little too deep into Turn 6 in attempt to get back around his Andretti Autosport teammate Oliver Askew in Sunday’s Indy Lights race at Road America (Photo Courtesy Of Andersen Promotions)

Sowery, who was running fourth, but out of push-to-pass, fell into the clutches of Teltiz and Malukas.

Telitz went to the outside of Sowery in Turn 5, but pushed wide over the curbing and lost a spot to Malukas on the run to Turn 6.

Malukas immediately started to put pressure on Sowery and was able to pass teammate for the fifth spot on the Road America Straight.

Later on that same lap, Telitz faked moving to the outside on the run down Kettle Bottoms before diving to the inside and out braking Sowery to win that battle for position.

In front of them, Malukas began to immediately pressure Megennis, who used the HMD Trucking sponsored No. 79’s final activation of push-to-pass to make the pass on the Kettle Moraine Sweep.

With five laps remaining, VeeKay’s lead had grown to 9.5 seconds over Norman. Askew, who had used up all of his push-to-pass, was not able to get close enough to pressure his teammate.

With three laps remaining VeeKay’s lead over Norman was 11.389 seconds.

VeeKay ended up crossing under the checkered flag 12.8989 seconds ahead of Norman, who finished on the podium for his third straight race.

Cooper Tires Grand Prix Of Road America Powered By AER Race #2 Unofficial Results

RANK CAR NO DRIVER TEAM DIFFERENCE
1 21 Rinus VeeKay Juncos Racing 20 laps
2 48 Ryan Norman Andretti Autosport -12.8989
3 28 Oliver Askew Andretti Autosport -13.6108
4 79 David Malukas BN Racing -17.4219
5 4 Aaron Telitz Belardi Auto Racing -19.7431
6 27 Robert Megennis Andretti Autosport -22.0393
7 67 Dalton Kellett Juncos Racing -28.5255
8 2 Toby Sowery BN Racing/Team Pelfrey -32.978
9 5 Lucas Kohl Belardi Auto Racing -40.7614

Indy Lights at Road America – Saturday – Norman wins – Askew and VeeKay run into trouble

One, two, three, four, five!! Five different drivers spent some time in the lead of the Cooper Tires Grand Prix Of Road America Powered By AER during a chaotic first two laps. The fifth driver to take the lead, Ryan Norman, turned in a smooth final 18 laps to grab his first Indy Lights road course win.

Andretti Autosport veteran Ryan Norman celebrates his Indy Lights win at Road America (Photo Courtesy Of Andersen Promotions)

“I absolutely love this place,” said a grinning Norman after pulling into victory lane. “Andretti Autosport gave me such a great car; the Cooper Tires hung on all race. This is my first road course win in Indy Lights. I’ve proved that I can win on ovals and now here. It’s really good momentum going into the (NTT) IndyCar (Series) test next week.

“I learned that in the last couple of years, the rears would fall off with power down. I was trying to be super smooth with the guys pushing super hard behind me and knowing that their rears would fall off. I just kept it clean, kept my head down and it worked out in the end.”

After the 20-laps were complete, Megennis, who finished on the podium for the fourth time this year, proclaimed a race that saw him lead the first lap, drop to fourth and eventually work his way up to second, as the ‘smartest drive’ of his career.

“I took what I learned at Circuit of The Americas; don’t battle too hard at the beginning and save your push-to-pass until the end and it worked out,” explained Megennis. “I had better tires, more push-to-pass and I was able to drive around those guys at the of the race. I can’t thank Andretti Autosport enough, that car was awesome. Palo Alto Networks, Optiv, and Salepoint for getting me out here.”

The one-two finish by the Andretti Autosport duo meant both drivers were able to take a chunk out their third teammate’s championship lead. Norman’s gap to Askew dropped from 62 points to 48 points, and he moved from fifth to fourth in the championship.

Aaron Telitz, for the second straight Indy Lights event, got a late call to jump into the Belardi Auto Racing No. 4. The veteran stood on an Indy Lights podium for the 11th time and improved an impressive Road To Indy podium percentage to 50.6%. Teltiz made his 81st start across the three series and stood on the podium for the 41% time.

“It feels pretty good (to be back on an Indy Lights podium),” said Telitz after getting out of his car. “I didn’t expect this, starting in sixth place and coming up to the lead on the second lap. That was awesome! Hopefully, the fans enjoyed that. Ended up third because the car fell off there at the end. I can’t thank the Belardi Auto Racing guys enough and Endodontic Specialists of Wisconsin for being on board. We’re going to make root canals fun again.

The pole sitter, Rinus van Kalmthout (VeeKay) got the jump on Norman as the field crested the hill to take the green flag. Behind him, the three Andretti Autosport teammates went three wide into the braking zone for Turn 1.

Megennis got was able to go around the outside of Norman to slot into the second spot, while points leader Oliver Askew, fell back to seventh early on Lap 1. The Index Invest sponsored No. 28 dropped two wheels in the grass on driver’s right in Turn 2 and was caught some air when it got back on track.

The Jupiter, Fla. would have to settle for a fifth-place finish, breaking a string of five straight podiums, after a bolt in the steering mechanism broke off. Askew told TSO that the wheel was shaking the entire race, and he was only able to drive at about 75% for the remainder of the race.

Sowery, from his eighth starting spot, moved into the final place on the podium with a textbook over-under move on Norman in Turn 5 and 6.

Leader VeeKay ran way wide at the exit of the right-hand Turn 7, getting all four Cooper shod Motegi Wheels off terra firma before rejoining right in front of Megennis.

The No. 27 Cybersecurity Dallara/AER of Megennis moved to the inside to make a move into Turn 8, but that move was blocked by VeeKay, who moved aggressively to his left in reaction to Megennis.

VeeKay was able to hold onto the lead, but by the time the Juncos Racing rookie had exited Canada Corner, he had been issued a drive-thru penalty for blocking.

Sowery took a look around the outside of Megennis in Canada Corner on the first lap, but ran wide, allowing Norman and Telitz to get by the Rich Energy/Gap Guard sponsored No. 2 of the Englishman.

VeeKay immediately dove for pit road, handing the lead over to Megennis, who led his fourth Indy Lights race in the last five starts.

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

Norman tried to go around the outside of his Andretti Autosport teammate in Turn 1, but could not make the pass. The eventual winner got a much better driver off of Turn 3, but it was Telitz, from his sixth starting spot that got an even better exit off the right-hander before the long run down the Moraine Sweep.

The home state driver was able to go around the outside and grab the lead. Right behind him, Norman moved around Megennis, who then bumped wheels with Sowery on the run-up to the Corvette Bridge before yielding that position.

Telitz led at the line to begin the third lap, but by the time they had reached pit out, Norman was able to get around Telitz, easily leading through Turn 1.

Sowery got a great draft and was able to drive around the outside of Telitz in Turn 5.

Things settled in for the next seven laps with Norman working hard to hold back Sowery, who was using his push-to-pass liberally in an attempt to get to grab the lead.

At the back of the field, VeeKay was turning qualifying type laps to make up the 23-second gap to Lucas Kohl and Dalton Kellett, who were swapping seventh and eighth.

Norman’s lead over Sowery when the sixth lap began was 0.9 seconds.

Ryan Norman leads Toby Sowery and Aaron Telitz in the first Indy Lights at Road America in 2019 (Photo Courtesy Of Andersen Promotions)

As they crossed the line to start the eighth lap Norman’s lead had grown to just over 1.5 seconds, putting Sowery outside of the push-to-pass range.

Sowery, who was out of push-to-pass, lost the second spot just after the start/finish line on Lap 9.

At the halfway mark of the 20 lap race, Norman’s lead over Telitz was 1.7 seconds. Sowery was hanging onto the back of Telitz’s Endodontic Specialists of Wisconsin sponsored No. 4.

Megennis, Askew, Malukas, Kohl, Kellett, and VeeKay rounded out the running order after ten laps.

VeeKay continued to make up the ground he lost due to the drive-thru on the first lap, closing the gap to eighth place from 23 seconds to eight seconds.

The reigning Indy Pro 2000 champion was able to get past Kellett on Lap 13 and Kohl on Lap 16 to salvage a seventh-place finish.

Throughout the next five laps, Norman’s lead in the Three Chord sponsored No. 48 had grown to a comfortable 4.5 seconds.

The rest of the running order remained the same, with Megennis starting to make up ground to Sowery and Telitz.

The New Yorker was able to conserve his Cooper Tires and work to within 1.5 seconds of Sowery, which allowed him to utilize the push-to-pass he had saved.

Behind the top four, Askew was busy holding back Malukas for fifth.

With six laps left, Megennis went to the outside of Sowery in Turn 5, but Sowery placed his car perfectly to defend the spot.

With five laps remaining, Megennis was able to drive by Sowery on the Road America Straight, moving onto the podium.

Robert Megennis takes a look to the inside of Toby Sowery for the final spot on the podium in an Indy Lights race at Road America (Photo Courtesy Of Andersen Promotions)

With some push-to-pass remaining, he was quickly able to catch Telitz, and on Lap 17, he was able to make the pass in Turn 5; faking a move to the outside, before diving to the inside and out-braking Telitz to grab the second spot on the podium.

After the race, the Rice Lake, Wisc. driver told us that engineer Tim Neff had set up the car aggressively; going stiff on the springs and laying the rear wing back, in an attempt to move forward quickly. That plan worked, but they were just a little too aggressive, and the 27-year-old was not able to keep his rear tires under him.

Telitz valiantly tried to hold on to the back of Megennis, but the 19-year-old, who had smartly saved his tires, began to make inroads on Norman’s 5.5-second lead as they crossed the line with three laps remaining.

Just before he began the final lap, Kohl, dropped a wheel on drivers left while setting up for the last turn. That pulled the Bellko Trading/Kohltrade/IVI Vision sponsored No. 5 into the grass and eventually into the gravel trap. The Brazilian was able to get on the brakes quickly and came to a stop just before the tire barriers.

Norman, who is testing an NTT IndyCar Series machine with Andretti Autosport at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, on June 25, crossed under the checkered flag 4.7 seconds ahead of his rookie teammate.

It’s the second straight Indy Lights race in a row that Norman led the most laps.

Norman joins Colton Herta as one of two Andretti Autosport drivers that have won an Indy Lights race at Road America.

Cooper Tires Grand Prix Of Road America Powered By AER Race #1 Results

RANK CAR NO DRIVER TEAM DIFFERENCE
1 48 Ryan Norman Andretti Autosport
2 27 Robert Megennis Andretti Autosport 4.6912
3 4 Aaron Telitz Belardi Auto Racing 7.5953
4 2 Toby Sowery BN Racing/Team Pelfrey 8.9909
5 28 Oliver Askew Andretti Autosport 10.3455
6 79 David Malukas BN Racing 13.6080
7 21 Rinus VeeKay Juncos Racing 16.4894
8 67 Dalton Kellett Juncos Racing 62.8849
9 5 Lucas Kohl Belardi Auto Racing -2 LAPS

Indy Lights at Road America – 2019 – Friday – VeeKay dominates qualifying

Juncos Racing and Rinus VeeKay picked right up where they left off the last time Indy Lights was on a road course. The Dutchman started on pole in that race and drove to a 6.8849-second victory.

The rookie ended up almost three-tenths ahead Ryan Norman, who is going to start on the outside of the front row.

It’s the second time that VeeKay will start on the pole this year, and his ninth career Road To Indy Presented by Cooper Tires pole.

The top rung of the Road To Indy Presented by Cooper Tires ladder was the last of three qualifying sessions in a one hour and 20-minute span.

The first two sessions were 20-minutes, but the Indy Lights drivers were afforded 30-minutes to set a quick lap.

The early leader was Rinus VeeKay, who was also leading at the half-way point of the half-hour session, with a lap of 115.0242 seconds. He was followed by Robert Megennis, Oliver Askew, Ryan Norman, and Dalton Kellett in the top five. Those five drivers were all within a half-second of VeeKay.

The Belardi Auto Racing duo of Aaron Telitz and Lucas Kohl were the first drivers to head back out on fresh Cooper Tire slicks.

The Andretti Autosport crew of Askew was able to get his Index Invest sponsored No. 28 repaired after his contact with the tire barriers on drivers right at the exit of Turn 14. And, the Jupiter, Fla. native was the first driver to knock VeeKay from the provisional pole.

The current points leader’s time at the top of the timing screens was short. His chief rival VeeKay grabbed the provisional pole a few moments later and went even quicker on his next lap, a full six-tenths ahead of the rest of the field.

The only driver to even make a dent in the reigning Indy Pro 2000’s provisional pole lap was Norman, whose lap at 114.054 seconds.

Cooper Tires Grand Prix of Road America Powered by AER Indy Lights Qualifying #1 Results

RANK CAR NO DRIVER TEAM QUICK LAP DIFFERENCE
1 21 Rinus VeeKay Juncos Racing 1:54.054 –.—-
2 48 Ryan Norman Andretti Autosport 1:54.309 0.2553
3 28 Oliver Askew Andretti Autosport 1:54.698 0.6444
4 27 Robert Megennis Andretti Autosport 1:54.711 0.6573
5 67 Dalton Kellett Juncos Racing 1:54.873 0.8193
6 4 Aaron Telitz Belardi Auto Racing 1:55.070 1.0163
7 5 Lucas Kohl Belardi Auto Racing 1:55.799 1.7451
8 2 Toby Sowery BN Racing/Team Pelfrey 1:55.848 1.7939
9 79 David Malukas BN Racing 1:55.858 1.8043

The first Indy Lights race is at 1:50 pm on Saturday, and they are back on track tomorrow morning for qualifying at 10:15 am.

Indy Lights at Road America – 2019 – Friday – VeeKay and Telitz quickest – by quite a bit – in Indy Lights practice

Rinus VeeKay, who has a pair of USF2000 wins at Road America, was the quickest driver in a disjointed Indy Lights practice session.

Belardi Auto Racing veteran Aaron Telitz was the only driver within one second of the Dutchman’s lap of 114.9558 seconds.

Andretti Autosport rookie Robert Megennis was the third quickest driver, with the next five drivers all within a half-second of the Juncos Racing rookie.

The first and only Indy Lights presented by Cooper Tires started promptly at 10:05 am as the nine AER/Dallara IL-15’s took to the 4.014-mile, 14-turn natural terrain road course.

The ambient temperature was comfortable 68F, and the track temperature was 86F.

At the 15 minute point of the 45-minute session, the leader, with a lap of 114.9958 seconds, was Rinus VeeKay.

The first red flag of the session came out with 25-minutes remaining when the No. 5 Belardi Auto Racing machine of Lucas Kohl came to a stop on track at the exit of The Carousel (Turn 10).

The AMR INDYCAR Safety Team was able to flat-tow him back to pit-lane, and the green flag came back out 17-minutes remaining.

Points leader Oliver Askew brought out the second red flag of the session with just over 10 minutes remaining. The No. 28 spun at the exit of Turn 14, taking out a Firestone advertising sandwich board, and ended up in the tires on driver’s left just before pit-in.

Askew told IndyCar radio that he lost it on the curb on the outside of Turn 14 and backed it into the tires.

He was able to get his Andretti Autosport car restarted and drive back to pit road. The damage was enough that he wasn’t ready to head back out.

The green flag came back out with eight minutes remaining, and the only driver to improve on his time in the final few minutes was David Malukas.

Toby Sowery was not able to turn any laps at speed, only turning four laps in total. The No. 2 BN Racing team was furiously working on an issue on the right front of the car with the driver complaining of slack in the steering. The fourth-place driver was able to get on track to complete a single out lap to test the team’s fix.

Cooper Tires Grand Prix of Road America Powered by AER Indy Lights Practice Results

RANK CAR NO DRIVER TEAM QUICK LAP DIFFERENCE TOTAL LAPS
1 21 Rinus VeeKay Juncos Racing 1:54.996 –.—- 15
2 4 Aaron Telitz Belardi Auto Racing 1:55.161 0.1649 14
3 27 Robert Megennis Andretti Autosport 1:56.004 1.0084 16
4 5 Lucas Kohl Belardi Auto Racing 1:56.160 1.1640 14
5 67 Dalton Kellett Juncos Racing 1:56.193 1.1974 14
6 48 Ryan Norman Andretti Autosport 1:56.295 1.2991 14
7 28 Oliver Askew Andretti Autosport 1:56.390 1.3943 9
8 79 David Malukas BN Racing 1:56.590 1.5937 12
9 2 Toby Sowery BN Racing/Team Pelfrey 2:09.823 14.8268 5

The top rung of the Road To Indy Presented by Cooper Tires qualifies at 2:05 pm this afternoon.

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