Oliver Askew claimed his fourth win of the Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires season today for Andretti Autosport on the streets of Toronto. Askew, from Jupiter, Fla., was perfectly positioned to take advantage when pacesetters Aaron Telitz and Rinus VeeKay tangled in Turn Three on lap 25 of the 40-lap Cooper Tires Grand Prix Presented by Allied Building Products.
Askew now leads the chase for a scholarship prize which includes a guaranteed three starts in the 2020 NTT IndyCar Series — including the 104th Indianapolis 500 — by a relatively comfortable 25 points with seven races remaining.
Englishman Toby Sowery finished second for BN Racing/Team Pelfrey, while local favorite Dalton Kellett secured his best finish of the season, a popular third, for Juncos Racing.
After extending a slender three-point championship lead over VeeKay to six points after finishing second in yesterday’s race, one place ahead of his primary rival, Askew added another point to his tally by claiming the pole during qualifying this morning. At the first corner, however, Askew had no option but to concede to an aggressive outbraking move from Saturday winner Telitz, who is competing on a race-to-race basis for Belardi Auto Racing. VeeKay also took advantage by nipping through into second place ahead of Askew, with Kellett slotting into fourth.
Telitz set a torrid pace from the outset, quickly establishing a small but appreciable advantage over VeeKay, but it wasn’t long before the Dutch teenager was into his stride and closing the gap down to just a few car lengths.
After a failed attempt to wrest away the lead at Turn Three on Lap 11, VeeKay settled back for a few laps before redoubling his efforts. On Lap 24, Telitz made an error under braking for Turn Eight and only narrowly averted disaster. VeeKay realized this might provide his best opportunity to make a move for the lead, and indeed he did just that on the fastest part of the track, Lake Shore Boulevard. VeeKay nosed alongside on the outside line, but in doing so left his braking just a fraction too late for Turn Three. Angling toward the apex and trying desperately to scrub off speed, VeeKay barely clipped the front of Telitz’s bright red Dallara before nosing into the tire barrier on the outside of the turn. Telitz, too, was unable to make the corner, but Askew, who had been following 1.5 seconds behind, had no such trouble.
Once into the lead, Askew reeled off the remaining laps without incident to score a comfortable win by 6.8331 seconds over Sowery, who had overtaken Kellett at Turn Three in the early stages. Kellett finished a delighted third after holding off a determined late challenge from Ryan Norman (Andretti Autosport).
Norman, who started eighth, fell to last place on the opening lap, then worked his way through the field to claim the Tilton Hard Charger Award.
Provisional championship points after 11 of 18 races:
1. Oliver Askew, 285
2. Rinus VeeKay, 260
3. Ryan Norman, 222
4. Robert Megennis, 218
5. Toby Sowery, 213
6. David Malukas, 175
7. Dalton Kellett, 163
8. Lucas Kohl, 150
9. Zachary Claman, 124
10. Aaron Telitz, 105
The Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires title chase will continue in two weeks’ time at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course in Lexington, Ohio, with another pair of races to be held on July 27-28.