Photo: Indianapolis Motor Speedway, LLC Photography

Askew Sweeps USF2000 Round at Indy

By Christopher DeHarde, IndyCar & Road to Indy Writer

SPEEDWAY, Indiana — Two races, two poles, two fastest laps, leading every lap and winning both races. What more could you ask for out of Oliver Askew?

The Floridian won the second race of the weekend for the Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship powered by Mazda at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course and in doing so earned his fifth win in a row out of six races in the 2017 season.

Behind Askew, there was a multi-car collision that eliminated the cars of Colin Kaminsky and Dev Gore while Bruna Tomaselli, Kris Wright and Ricky Donison were also involved. On the ensuing restart, Askew jumped out to an early lead before another late race yellow brought the field closer after Callan O’Keeffe’s car came to a top at the end of the backstretch.

Askew was the acting pace car driver as the pace car remained in the pits as the race went back to green for a one lap shootout. As the points leader pulled away, chaos ensued behind him.

Third place driver Dakota Dickerson was under attack from Robert Megennis but as Megennis swung wide coming out of the second corner, both cars had contact, allowing several cars past.

Askew went to the win with Rinus VeeKay scoring a second place finish ahead of Kaylen Frederick in third. Frederick would’ve had his second podium of the weekend but a technical infringement on his car disqualified him from the second place finish he would have had on Friday.

The top three were followed by 2016 series runner-up Parker Thompson, Kory Enders, Luke Gabin, Megennis and Donison. Lucas Kohl and Dickerson finished out the top ten.

For Askew, the win was a challenge but at the end of the race, he knew what he had to do.

“I definitely have to think of what I’m going to do,” Askew said. “I can’t think of it when I get there at the acceleration zone so I need to have a plan and then execute the plan, go ahead with it and it works out every time.”

In VeeKay’s situation, he had a small incident with Dickerson near the beginning of the race, causing his steering to be slightly off.

“It was hard, I had a little [incident] with Dakota Dickerson in Turn 1,” said VeeKay. “It bent I think the wishbone so my steering wheel was to the left so that didn’t make me quicker, so I had to fight extra hard to be on pace.  “I finished second and that’s the maximum I think I could get out of it.”

Frederick was happy to get another podium finish after some initial contact in the race.

“I had a bit of contact with Dakota and that got Rinus by me and they both pulled away and that kind of got me subconsciously thinking there was something wrong with the right rear,” said Frederick. “So whenever I go through a corner it just felt a bit weird.

“Also I was having a bit of understeer issues so we probably should’ve maybe changed something about that. I couldn’t get on power soon enough because the car would understeer out and I kept dropping wheels because I was trying to get on power soon enough to keep up with them but I couldn’t.”

USF2000 Standings

Oliver Askew 188
Rinus VeeKay 128
Kaylen Frederick 110
Parker Thompson 100
Dakota Dickerson 86

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A 2012 graduate of LSU, Christopher DeHarde primarily focuses on the NTT IndyCar Series and the WeatherTech Sports Car Championship. DeHarde has actively covered motorsports since 2014.