Courtesy of IMSA

IMSA: Jarvis wins pole at Mid-Ohio, Bourdais fastest in GTLM

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Oliver Jarvis won the pole position for the Acura Sports Car Challenge at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course Saturday afternoon, beating out Helio Castroneves for the top spot despite slowing on the final lap.

Jarvis set the fastest lap of the session in the No. 77 Mazda Team Joest RT24-P, with an elapsed time of 1 minute, 10.705 seconds, narrowly edging out Castroneves in the No. 7 Acura Team Penske ARX-05 by 0.022 seconds.

“That’s a special pole because we know the Penskes are very strong here,” Jarvis told reporters following his pole run.

“I just gave it everything we got and to get [the] pole by a few hundredths [of a second] at the end, it’s a great start to the weekend.”

The qualifying session got off to an unusual start when Castroneves made contact with Pipo Derani in the No. 31 Whelen Engineering Cadillac during his out lap. Castroneves’ car suffered minimal frontal damage.

Penske teammate Dane Cameron qualified third, with an elapsed time of 1 minute, 10.806 seconds.

Bourdais on Pole in GTLM

Sebastien Bourdais took the pole in the GT Le Mans class after an exciting qualifying session that saw the provisional pole go back and forth between Bourdais, who is subbing for Joey Hand in the No. 66 Chip Ganassi Racing Ford GT, and Laurens Vanthoor in the No. 912 Porsche 911 RSR.

The two drivers swapped positions on the leader board four times, with Bourdais finally posting an elapsed time of 1 minute, 19.124 seconds in his final flying lap of the session to edge out Vanthoor by 0.275 seconds.

Jesse Krohn qualified third in GTLM, with a fastest lap of 1 minute, 19.623 seconds in the No. 24 BMW Team RLL M8 GTE.

Heistand fastest in GTD

Richard Heistand won the pole position in GT Daytona, piloting the No. 14 AIM Vasser Sullivan Lexus RC F GT3 to the top of the class with an elapsed time of 1 minute, 24.281 seconds.

Ben Keating qualified second in the No. 33 Riley Motorsports Mercedes-AMG GT3 with a time of 1 minute, 26.109 seconds. Frank Montecalvo qualified third in AIM Vasser Sullivan’s second Lexus, the No. 12.

Marco Seefried brought out a red flag after his No. 73 Park Place Motorsports Porsche went off-course. Seefried lost two of his fastest laps due to the incident, and him and teammate Patrick Long will start tomorrow’s race from the 36th and final starting position.

Masson leads in LMP2

Kyle Masson piloted the No. 38 Performance Tech Motorsports machine to the top spot in the two-car Le Mans Prototype 2 field, with an elapsed time of 1 minute, 14.877 seconds. Masson had no trouble taking the top spot as he was nearly seven seconds faster than his lone class competitor, Eric Lux, who could only post a fastest lap of 1 minute, 21.752 seconds after making contact with Dane Cameron’s No. 6 DPi during the session.

Click here for full qualifying results

Raceday coverage of the Acura Sports Car Challenge at Mid-Ohio begins Sunday at 1:30 P.M. E.T. on NBCSN.

Follow Michael Eubanks on Twitter 

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.

Follow Michael Eubanks on Twitter