.PORTLAND, Oregon – Toby Sowery claimed his maiden Indy Lights victory Sunday morning in race 2 of a doubleheader weekend at Portland International Raceway.
Starting the 35-lap event from the third position, Sowery made his way up to second when series point leader Oliver Askew overshot into Turn 1 and then made contact with David Malukas upon reentry to the racing surface.
The resulting contact brought out a caution, and on the race restart on Lap 4, Sowery passed leader Rinus VeeKay for the lead in the same corner.
Sowery held on to the lead for the remainder of the race despite a challenge from VeeKay in the remaining laps.
“You can see that VeeKay was really quick,” Sowery told NBC Sports following his victory. “But we had a different tire strategy, and the Cooper Tires done a fantastic job of keeping me in the race all the way to the end.
“Massive congratulations to the team. They deserved it.”
VeeKay finished second, while Oliver Askew made his way back up to third to complete the podium.
Askew now enters the final race weekend of the season with a 41-point lead in the standings, and only needs to start both races to be crowned the 2019 champion.
“I knew it wasn’t going to be over,” Askew said of his Lap 1 accident. “I wasn’t only fighting for a podium, I was fighting for the championship, and I think we clinched it there so it’s starting to soak in.
“This is what we’ve been working for all year, and I’m really proud of the whole team, myself and everyone around me that has put me in this position. The emotions are starting to sink in now for sure.”
The Indy Lights championship now heads to WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca for the final two races of the season on September 21 and 22. Both races will air live on NBC Sports Gold.