Graf puts Muscle Milk on American Le Mans pole at Baltimore

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Earlier today on the streets of Baltimore, Klaus Graf grabbed the fourth American Le Mans Series pole of the season for Muscle Milk Pickett Racing’s No. 6 HPD ARX-03c.

The German pilot, who shares the No. 6 with Lucas Luhr, turned in a lap of 85.29 seconds around the two-mile street circuit to earn P1 on the grid for tomorrow’s two-hour ALMS event.

“I think the track changed quite a bit throughout the day, especially with the IndyCars running as well before qualifying,” said Graf.  “There was a lot of grip and you could tell by the lap times that everyone was running faster and faster.

“The difficulty is for the drivers to anticipate the grip level and we were just getting quicker and quicker every lap.”

In P2, Ryan Briscoe – who is returning to an ALMS cockpit for the first time since breaking his wrist last month in the IndyCar doubleheader at Toronto – grabbed the pole in the No. 551 Level 5 Motorsports HPD ARX-03b with a lap of 87.17 seconds.

As for Level 5’s newest driver, Guy Cosmo, he’ll start fourth in class in the No. 552 alongside team owner Scott Tucker and Marino Franchitti.

Also earning poles were Bill Auberlen (No. 55 Team RLL BMW Z4 GT4) in GT, Dane Cameron (No. 52 PR1 Motorsports Oreca FLM09) in Prototype Challenge, and Jeroen Bleekemolen (No. 22 Alex Job Racing Porsche 911 GT3 Cup) in GT Challenge.

Provisional Indy Lights champion Oliver Askew ready for IndyCar ride

Road to Indy
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Provisional Indy Lights champion Oliver Askew has done nothing but dominate the 2019 season, winning seven of the 16 races run so far and finishing on the podium in all but two of those events.

Now all the 22-year-old Floridian needs to do to formally clinch the 2019 title is simply start the final two races of the season, both of which will be held this weekend at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca.

For Askew, his maiden Indy Lights season will likely be one he’ll never forget. 

“It’s been a dream come true,” Askew told NBC Sports. “Being with the championship-winning team from last year, we had a really good shot at winning it again for Andretti Autosport. It’s very rare that we show up to a track and struggle to find speed. 

“That’s a fantastic feeling, especially as a driver. That gave me a lot of confidence and hopes of holding the million dollar check at the end of the year. That was the goal going into it.”

This weekend, Askew will accomplish said goal. The championship will not only bring him a sense of pride, but also the opportunity of a lifetime. 

As an award for being crowned the Indy Lights champion, Askew will be awarded a scholarship that guarantees him entry into a minimum of three NTT IndyCar Series events next year – including the 104th running of the Indianapolis 500. 

Time will only tell which team Askew will race for in IndyCar next season, and whether or not Askew’s rookie campaign will be a full-time or part-time affair, but Askew’s performance during the last few seasons in the Road to Indy system has certainly drawn attention of IndyCar’s top team owners.

In August, Askew had the chance to drive an Indy car for the first time in his career during a test session at Portland International Raceway, driving the No. 9 PNC Bank Honda usually piloted by Scott Dixon.

“It was an opportunity with Chip Ganassi Racing that I was very fortunate to have,” Askew said. “I think with my experience in the past couple of years with Cape Motorsports and this year with Andretti Autosport, going into that test was very helpful.

“Going into the test, it was more of trying to treat it as just another day at the racetrack, when it really wasn’t. It was a fantastic opportunity for me – a great experience – and I hope I can take that into my rookie season next year in IndyCar.” 

The final two races of the 2019 Indy Lights season will take place this weekend on Saturday, September 21 at 6 p.m. ET and Sunday, September 22 at 12:05 p.m. ET. Both races will air live on NBC Sports Gold.

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