IndyCar files lawsuit against Sao Paulo race promoters (UPDATED)

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The IndyCar Series has recently filed a lawsuit against Sao Paulo Indy 300 promoter Grupo Bandeirantes.

Anthony Schoettle of the Indianapolis Business Journal relays word from a source that says the series is seeking just under $10 million for the annual sanctioning feed. IndyCar (going by its legal name of ‘Indy Racing League LLC’) transferred the lawsuit against Bandeirantes on Dec. 12.

Attorneys from law firm Ice Miller LLP have been listed to represent IndyCar in the case, which has one William T. Lawrence named as the judge.

The Sao Paulo Indy 300 ran from 2010 to 2013, but did not make the 2014 IndyCar Series schedule upon release in mid-October. At the time, Hulman & Co. CEO Mark Miles noted that the Sao Paulo event could still happen.

Schoettle writes that in the lawsuit, Bandeirantes officials told the series that the race could not continue due to planned road work and closures in and around the race circuit. However, IndyCar argues that the promoter was contractually obligated to find another suitable place to race.

Furthermore, the lawsuit claims Sao Paulo mayor Fernando Haddad had stated in a letter to the promoters that while part of the course would be unavailable due to the construction, the race could still be held on an altered or relocated course. Instead, according to the lawsuit, Bandeirantes officials traveled to Indianapolis and said the race could not be held in 2014.

But what is interesting to note from Schoettle’s piece is that IndyCar apparently still desires to return to Brazil despite the suit. This is understandable on the series’ part, considering that the race has attracted a strong following – no doubt bolstered by having the likes of Brazilian IndyCar drivers Tony Kanaan and Helio Castroneves on the grid.

Depending on how the case goes, perhaps that hope isn’t long gone after all. Again, we’ll keep tabs on the story as it develops further.

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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