By Christopher DeHarde, IndyCar & Road to Indy Writer
SPEEDWAY, Indiana — In what has become his trademark this year, Oliver Askew led from pole and won the first Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship powered by Mazda race of the weekend at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course.
At the start there was a three car incident between Parker Thompson, Kory Enders and Kris Wright, eliminating Enders and Wright on the spot and making Thompson pit for brief repairs.
The race restarted with just under 12 minutes to go and Askew got the jump on the restart and never looked back. Behind him, Kaylen Frederick and Calvin Ming were closely contesting second place before Frederick pulled away to secure his third runner-up finish in a row.
That is, until technical inspection.
Per rule 14.28.9, the Team Pelfrey cars of Robert Megennis and Kaylen Frederick were both disqualified from the final results. Ming was then promoted to second ahead of Askew’s Cape Motorsports teammate Ricky Donison.
Dakota Dickerson came home fourth ahead of series debutante Callan O’Keeffe, Rinus VeeKay, and Ayla Agren in seventh.
Askew was able to extend his points lead from 34 to 52 points ahead of starting the second race of the weekend on Saturday. Winning at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway was a tremendous deal for the Floridian.
“I don’t think it’s really sunk in right now,” Askew said. “I was trying not to think about it before the race because I didn’t want to jinx myself. It’s fantastic, it’s a massive facility with so much history and this is IndyCar, this track. IndyCar is where I want to be so it’s very special to get a win here.”
There was a bit of an extra incentive for victory: he had family visiting.
“My mom’s Swedish so her mom and dad came over from Sweden to watch this race. It’s funny because they’ve only seen me race karts and that’s on a much smaller scale so they came here, they see bigger cars, more noise, much bigger facility and they had no idea what they were in for and I haven’t seen my granddad smile that much before.”
This was Ming’s first podium in USF2000 competition after three top ten finishes and a DNF.
“It was definitely a good race, my main objective for that race was just to try to get ahead of Donison in Turn 1, we managed to do it without causing any contact so that was basically my whole strategy and then see if I could move forward,” Ming said.
Ming’s most interesting challenge after the restart was trying to beat his old F1600 teammate Frederick.
“Going up against Kaylen, I kind of know how Kaylen drives, he’s my old teammate from last year so it’s definitely a fun thing going up against old teammates like old rivalries so it was definitely fun.”
Oliver Askew 155
Rinus VeeKay 103
Kaylen Frederick 88
Parker Thompson 81
Dakota Dickerson 75
Robert Megennis 68