Photo: OMSE

OMSE X Forces confirms Oliver Eriksson to return to GRC Lites

Leave a comment

Following on from yesterday’s announcement of Cabot Bigham in one of Dreyer & Reinbold Racing’s GRC Lites cars, there’s another GRC Lites team announcement today.

The OMSE X Forces team has confirmed the series’ defending champion, Oliver Eriksson, will return to the team and series this season.

The younger Eriksson won the GRC Lites title in dramatic fashion over Austin Cindric last year at Las Vegas, with Cindric getting stuck in the dirt on the opening lap and unable to continue for the remainder of the race.

Eriksson’s car will be adorned in Red Bull livery. His teammate will be 15-year-old Cole Keatts, a Junior 2 Kart champion who moves into cars.

“We welcome Cole to the team this year,” said OMSE’s Andreas Erikkson. “We were looking for a fresh face and somebody completely new to the sport, but with the skills needed to succeed in rallycross. Cole’s prior racing success and experience will be of great value in his first year with our team.”

OMSE continues its GRC Lites program alongside its new Honda Civic Coupe effort in the Supercars class, where Joni Wiman and Sebastian Eriksson will continue for another year.

The GRC Supercars and Lites seasons start in Phoenix, May 21-22.

Provisional Indy Lights champion Oliver Askew ready for IndyCar ride

Road to Indy
Leave a comment

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.

Follow Michael Eubanks on Twitter