Photo: Indianapolis Motor Speedway, LLC Photography

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

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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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Indy Lights: Kyle Kirkwood joins Andretti Autosport

Road to Indy
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One of the Road to Indy’s most talented young drivers will climb another step up the development system ladder this season.

Kyle Kirkwood, the 2019 Indy Pro 2000 champion, has signed a contract to race for Andretti Autosport in the 2020 Indy Lights season. Kirkwood will drive the No. 28 car for the reigning championship team.

A native of Jupiter, Florida, 21-year-old Kirkwood has been incredibly successful in junior formulas over the last few years. He won the F4 US Championship 2017 and won both the F3 Americas and USF2000 titles in 2018.

Driving for RP Motorsport Racing, Kirkwood won 9 of 16 races in his maiden Indy Pro 2000 season last year, allowing him to win his fourth championship in three years and earn the Road to Indy scholarship.

“We are very excited about the addition of Kyle to our Indy Lights program,” Andretti Autosport CEO and Chairman Michael Andretti said. “We’ve followed Kyle’s career from when he started in 2018 with the Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship and have been impressed with his success in every race that led to his Indy Pro 2000 Championship last year. As a championship-caliber team, Kyle displays the desire and talent that we look for in our drivers and are excited to see him hit the track for the 2020 Indy Lights season.”

Kirkwood previously drove for Andretti in a two-day test session at Sebring International Raceway in December. He will make his official debut for the team in the season-opening doubleheader at St. Petersburg on March 14-15.

“I am ecstatic that I can now say I am competing in Indy Lights with Andretti Autosport this season,” Kirkwood said. “They have established a winning program in Indy Lights and we plan on carrying that reputation throughout 2020.

“We are a fantastic match for each other and our Sebring test in December proved that.”

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