Oliver Askew is fast making the Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship Powered by Mazda his own personal playground.
The 20-year-old winner of last fall’s inaugural Mazda Road to Indy USF2000 $200k Scholarship Shootout today claimed two pole positions (including for tomorrow morning’s race) and another beautifully controlled victory for the Cape Motorsports team. Askew, from Jupiter, Fla., led from flag-to-flag this afternoon at a warm and breezy Indianapolis Motor Speedway Grand Prix circuit in the Mazda Road to Indy Grand Prix Presented by Royal Purple Supporting Lupus Foundation of America.
Kaylen Frederick, 14, from Potomac, Md., claimed his third successive second-place finish for Team Pelfrey, while Guyana’s Calvin Ming completed the podium for Pabst Racing.
The opening stages of Friday’s fifth round of the 14-race championship were interrupted by full-course cautions following a succession of incidents around the 2.439-mile road course. Once the race was under way in earnest, however, there was no touching Askew, who made an exemplary restart and controlled the race from the front with a series of consistently fast laps. How consistent and how fast? Well, he stretched his lead to Frederick to almost two seconds with a trio of laps all within a few thousandths of a second of each other, then rammed home his superiority by securing the additional bonus point for the fastest lap of the race at a new record-breaking time of 1:25.4916 for an average speed of 102.705 mph.
Askew’s mark in the new Tatuus USF-17 eclipsed the previous standard, set by Nico Jamin during his championship-winning 2015 campaign, by almost a full second.
In Askew’s wake, Frederick saw off an early challenge from Ming to take the checkered flag 3.3461 seconds adrift of the winner and almost two seconds clear of Ming, who thoroughly deserved his first podium finish of the season.
Askew’s Cape Motorsports teammate, Ricky Donison, from Bangalore, India, made a huge leap forward by qualifying third and finishing a strong fourth (his previous best was a lowly 13th). Dakota Dickerson, from San Diego, Calif., rounded out the top five for Newman Wachs Racing.
The PFC Award was secured by the winning team, Cape Motorsports. Ming took home the Staubli Award.
Askew’s fourth straight win extended his championship lead to 43 points, 156-113, over Frederick heading into tomorrow’s sixth round which will start at 10:15 a.m. Askew will be joined on the front row by Frederick, with VeeKay and Donison on row two of the grid. Live timing and live streaming will be available on the series website, usf2000.com, as well as on indycar.com, the Road To Indy TV App and RoadToIndy.TV.