Oliver Askew stole the show in Saturday’s Indy Lights race at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, starting from the pole and leading all 30 laps en route to his fifth victory of the season.
“The car was really good,” Askew told NBC Sports following his victory. “Big day for us, and a big points day too.”
Askew, who currently holds a 35-point lead over Rinus VeeKay in the standings, has established himself not only as the top dog of the Indy Lights series, but also as a prime candidate for an IndyCar ride next season. The 22-year-old Floridan will test for Chip Ganassi Racing at Portland International Raceway on August 7.
Should Askew win the 2019 Indy Lights title, he will receive a $1 million prize that guarantees at least three NTT IndyCar Series starts next season – including the Indianapolis 500.
Ryan Norman finished the race in the second position, while VeeKay, who will also test at Portland on August 7 for Ed Carpenter Racing, finished third.
The lone caution of the race came out on lap 11 when Toby Sowery went off-course in Turn 12, hitting the tire barrier. Sowery walked away without a scratch, but his car suffered damage, ending his race.
The Indy Lights competitors will return to action tomorrow afternoon, with Race #2 beginning at 12:45 p.m. ET on NBC Sports Gold.
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The NTT IndyCar Series will be sharing Indianapolis Motor Speedway with the NASCAR Cup Series in a race weekend doubleheader for the second consecutive season, but both series will be on the road course in August 2021.
IMS announced Wednesday that IndyCar will hold an Aug. 14, 2021 race on its 14-turn, 2.439-mile road course. It’ll be a day before NASCAR’s premier series runs the same layout for the first time after the Brickyard 400 was contested on the 2.5-mile oval for the first time in 27 years.
This season’s rescheduling of the IndyCar GMR Grand Prix to July 4, 2019 (a day before the Brickyard 400) led to the first NASCAR-IndyCar doubleheader weekend. The Xfinity Series also raced on the IMS road course for the first time July 4 after the IndyCar race ended.
INDYCAR AT IMS THIS WEEKEND: Harvest GP schedule, entry lists
IndyCar will be holding its second race weekend this year at the IMS road course Friday and Saturday with the Harvest GP.
“Our first NASCAR-INDYCAR weekend was a big success last July, with positive feedback from
our loyal fans who watched the races on NBC and from the drivers, teams and participants
involved,” IMS president Douglas Boles said in a statement. “The Xfinity Series’ debut on the IMS road course provided exactly the kind of thrilling action from the green to checkered flags that we anticipated, so we know the teams and drivers of the Cup Series will put on a great show as they turn left and right for the first time at IMS.
“We can’t wait to welcome back fans to see NASCAR and INDYCAR together during this
exciting weekend as we add another memorable chapter in the long, storied history of the
Indianapolis Motor Speedway.”
It also will mark the first NASCAR Cup-IndyCar doubleheader with a crowd as fans weren’t permitted at IMS in July because of the novel coronvavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
Over the course of Wednesday, NASCAR is releasing its 36-race slate for next season. IndyCar has yet to release its full 2021 schedule.