MRTI: VeeKay clinches Pro Mazda title as Askew wins Race 1

Photo: Indianapolis Motor Speedway, LLC Photography
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Race 1 for the Pro Mazda Championship Presented by Cooper Tires saw a new race winner in 2018 as Oliver Askew, who ranks third in the Pro Mazda championship, took his maiden Pro Mazda win while Rinus VeeKay finished second to clinch the 2018 Pro Mazda championship.

VeeKay started on the pole, but it was Askew who led coming out of the Festival Curves, with Parker Thompson sitting third.

Oliver Askew took his first win of 2018 in Race 1. Photo: Indianapolis Motor Speedway, LLC Photography

Askew led the rest of the way, keeping VeeKay a safe distance behind him at all times, but VeeKay’s second-place effort was more than enough to secure the 2018 Pro Mazda championship.

VeeKay took the points lead from Parker Thompson after Race 1 at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, and he increased the gap from there – he led Thompson by 47 points entering the weekend – to enter Portland needing only to start one of the races to clinch the title.

As such, VeeKay will move to the Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires next year.

Thompson finished third, followed by David Malukas and Robert Megennis. Sting Ray Robb, Nikita Lastochkin, and Moises de la Vara rounded out the running order.

Results are below. Race 2 rolls off at 5:15 p.m. ET (2:15 local time).

USF2000: Kirkwood Extends Win Streak to 10 in a Row

Kyle Kirkwood took his 11th win of 2018, and 10th in a row, during USF2000 Race 1. Photo: Indianapolis Motor Speedway, LLC Photography

Kyle Kirkwood continued his domination of the Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship Powered by Mazda by winning Race 1 at Portland on Saturday.

Kirkwood, who started on the pole, rocketed away into the lead and went unchallenged most of the way. He needed to survive a restart with four laps remaining –  both Kaylen Frederick and Rasmus Lindh tried to get around him but overshot the Festival Curves in the process – but he held everyone at bay to take the his 11th win of the season and 10th in a row.

Igor Fraga and Calvin Ming finished second and third, with Kory Enders finishing fourth and Lindh rebounding to finish fifth. Frederick ended up finishing eighth.

Results are below. Race 2 rolls off at 6:20 p.m. ET (3:20 p.m. local time).

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Ganassi announces multiyear sponsorship extension with American Legion for No. 10

Chip Ganassi American Legion
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Chip Ganassi Racing announced a new primary sponsorship deal with The American Legion this week, shoring up the funding on its No. 10 Dallara-Honda of Alex Palou.

The 2021 NTT IndyCar Series champion primarily had driven with NTT Data sponsorship the past two seasons. But NTT Data will move next season to McLaren Racing as a primary sponsor for Felix Rosenqvist in 10 races and on the Indy 500 car of Tony Kanaan (who drove an American Legion car for Ganassi at the Brickyard last year).

It was the latest twist in a McLaren-Ganassi saga that included a contract dispute for the services of Palou (who is expected to move to McLaren in 2024 after reaching an agreement to race with Ganassi next year).

Ganassi stayed within its own walls to help plug the sponsorship gap left by NTT Data, re-signing The American Legion to a multiyear extension. The Indianapolis-based non-profit organization, which has been sponsoring Ganassi cars for the past few seasons, also will be associated with other Ganassi drivers, including Indy 500 winner Marcus Ericsson and development driver Kyffin Simpson in Indy NXT.

The Ganassi organization will continue promoting The American Legion’s “Be The One” campaign aimed at reducing veteran suicides. The team launched an online auction for the initiative this week.

“Supporting our nation’s veterans is of immense importance to our organization and we are humbled to continue supporting The American Legion’s mission in ending veteran suicide,” team owner Chip Ganassi said in a release. “We will do absolutely everything we can to help veterans get the support they need while raising public awareness of the ‘Be The One’ platform.”

“We have received an overwhelming amount of support from fans, active-duty military members and veterans as a result of this partnership and we’re pleased to see it grow,” said Dean Kessel, chief marketing officer at The American Legion. “Thanks to the continuous collaboration with the team’s other partners, and the promotion of the ‘Be The One’ initiative, we are discovering more ways to engage with the military community than ever before. We want all veterans to know that it’s okay to ask for help.”