We’ve come to expect Ed Carpenter Racing’s Rinus VeeKay to finish most sessions inside the top 10 with the No. 21 Chevy, and in his absence, Oliver Askew kept the tradition going by claiming P9 on his debut with the team as the Dutchman’s stand-in at Road America.
Sidelined with a broken collar bone that came as a result of a bicycling accident on Monday, VeeKay made his spare ECR suit available to his former Indy Lights protagonist and watched as Askew, who subbed for the injured Felix Rosenqvist last Sunday in Detroit, shoot to P8 on his final lap of practice on Friday.
Pitting with a minute left in the session, Askew would be pipped to P9 at the checkered flag, but the statement had been made by the former Arrow McLaren SP driver who went 0.1251s faster than former AMSP teammate Pato O’Ward.
Altogether, Askew counted himself as rather happy with how he and the ECR team performed together in FP1.
“Super pleased with that,” he said. “Ed Carpenter racing has made me feel at home. And luckily we had a sim day at Pratt and Miller on Wednesday afternoon that’s helped us jell together and hit the ground running in practice one, so happy with that.”
Asked by NBC Sports’ Dave burns as to whether he was satisfied after proving he was still capable after being out of IndyCar until last Sunday, Askew authored the funniest moment of the day when he used a phrase that was ill-suited considering the reason why he’s driving VeeKay’s car this weekend.
“It’s just like riding a bike, right?” Askew said before realizing the gaffe. “I did not mean…I did not mean to…no pun intended. Oh my God.”
I’ll tell you, riding a bike isn’t that easy…🤕 https://t.co/miqxnFnzYm
— Rinus VeeKay (@rinusveekay) June 18, 2021
Although he’s been racing in IMSA’s LMP3 class with Andretti Autosport, the power steering in the Ligier JS P320 prototype makes life a lot easier than the analog Dallara DW12-Chevy. Sunday’s 55-lap race could be an endurance test for the Floridian.
“My fitness regimen hasn’t changed; the problem is I’m just not race fit, right?” said Askew, whose teammate Conor Daly was P18 on Friday. “So you can train all you want but when you get into one of these things, you know you’re not going to be as fit as guys who have been running all season. But, I think luckily there’s a lot of time, long straights here to rest and we are looking forward to the rest of the sessions tomorrow.”