American Rookie Oliver Askew Captures First Indy Lights Victory
AUSTIN, Texas - The stars and stripes aligned in central Texas as American Indy Lights rookie, Oliver Askew, drove to his first-career Indy Lights victory in the Cooper Tires Indy Lights Grand Prix Race 1 at Circuit of the Americas. A day that could be labelled as “perfect” for the Andretti Autosport Indy Lights team, began with Askew starting on pole position for the second time this season followed by teammates Ryan Norman completing the front row in second and Robert Megennis just behind the leader in third. Norman’s race start didn’t quite go as planned, spinning on the parade lap and taking the green flag from the rear of the field.
Askew took the lead out of Turn 1 after the drop of the green flag and commanded the caution-free race until the checkered flag, crossing the finish line nearly 25 seconds ahead of second place Rinus VeeKay.
“The No. 28 Index Invest car was unbelievable on track today. Big thanks to everyone at Andretti Autosport for all of their hard work. I don't think we are satisfied yet, but we will keep pushing until we are,“ Askew said.
Behind Askew, rookie Andretti Autosport teammate, Megennis, brought the action while battling for second place all race long. Megennis, who tied his Indy Lights career-best starting position of third, worked his way around Toby Sowery for second place. The two rookies continued to leap frog one another all race long until the final five laps. Megennis was holding the second position until passed on the final lap by VeeKay, but the rookie still claimed his first Indy Lights podium.
“I drove the best I could - tried to be smart with tire management and push to pass. I was in second with a good gap over Toby (Sowery) and then Rinus (VeeKay) caught up to me then passed me on the last lap. Super happy about my first Indy Lights podium finish,” Megennis said.
Norman fought his way back up through the field after taking the start from the rear to a top-five finish.
“I'm absolutely heart broken for the team about today. I made a mistake and spun on the parade lap; the turbo kicked in way harder than expected when I was warming my front tires. Our car was really fast, we were just stuck behind people,” Norman said.