Oliver Askew will replace injured Rinus VeeKay for IndyCar race at Road America

Rinus VeeKay replacement Askew
Joe Skibinski/IndyCar
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For the second consecutive NTT IndyCar Series race, Oliver Askew will be a replacement driver as Ed Carpenter Racing announced Rinus VeeKay will miss this weekend at Road America.

In a statement late Tuesday night, the team announced that VeeKay “underwent successful outpatient surgery this afternoon to repair a fractured left clavicle” that he suffered during a bike riding accident Monday.

ECR said VeeKay wasn’t cleared to return at Road America, so Askew will substitute in the No. 21 Dallara-Chevrolet. Askew made his 2021 IndyCar debut Sunday in place of Felix Rosenqvist, who missed the second race of the Detroit Grand Prix after being hospitalized overnight for a violent crash Saturday.

The team said VeeKay’s status will be re-evaluated before the July 4 race at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course. He is tied for fifth in the championship standings with his first career victory at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course last month and a runner-up at Detroit last Saturday.

“What happened was very unfortunate and definitely not the greatest timing,” VeeKay said in a release. “The surgery went well, I am not in any pain. I definitely wanted to be out there fighting for my place in the championship and driving the Direct Supply car. I will give it all I have and be ready for Mid-Ohio!

“I am very thankful for everyone at ECR that helped me and stayed up very late to get everything for the surgery arranged. I would also like to say a big thank you to everyone at OrthoIndy who got me all fixed up!”

VeeKay already has rebounded once from injury this season, breaking a finger during an April 8 crash in Indy 500 testing.

“I want to wish Rinus a speedy recovery, I know the No. 21 Chevrolet will be missing him,” team owner Ed Carpenter said in the release. “It’s a shame that he has to miss this round, but he will come back strong., I want to thank Oliver for being ready and able to step in and give the car a strong run.”

Askew made two starts at Road America as rookie last season with Arrow McLaren SP. The 2019 Indy Lights champion has an LMP3 class victory in the Rolex 24 at Daytona this season.

“First off, I hope Rinus is doing well and that he has a quick recovery,” Askew, 24, said. “I’m thankful that Ed and his ECR team trust me to take over the No. 21 Chevrolet this weekend. They have a strong program and I look forward to helping them in every way possible at Road America.”

Practice will begin Friday at 5:15 p.m. ET at Road America with a second practice and qualifying Saturday. The 55-lap race will be held Sunday at noon ET on NBCSN.

Meyer Shank Racing wins Petit Le Mans to take final DPi championship in dramatic finale

Petit Le Mans championship
IMSA
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Meyer Shank Racing outdueled Wayne Taylor Racing to win the Petit Le Mans and clinch the championship in a thrilling final race for the DPi division.

Tom Blomqvist, who started from the pole position, drove the No. 60 Acura ARX-05 to a 4.369-second victory over Pipo Derani in the No. 31 Action Express Cadillac.

“That was incredible,” Blomqvist told NBC Sports’ Matt Yocum. “I’ve never dug so deep in my life. The adrenaline. I did that for the guys. I was so motivated to win this thing this weekend. But I’ve got to thank everyone on the whole team.”

With co-drivers Oliver Jarvis and Helio Castroneves, Blomqvist helped MSR bookend its season-opening victory in the Rolex 24 at Daytona by winning Saturday’s IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship season finale at Michelin Road Atlanta.

In between those two victories, the No. 60 earned five runner-up finishes to stay in the thick of the championship hunt and trail WTR’s No. 10 Acura by 14 points entering Saturday’s race.

WTR’s Filipe Albuquerque had a lead of more than 10 seconds over Blomqvist with less than 50 minutes remaining in the 10-hour race.

But a Turn 1 crash between the Chip Ganassi Racing Cadillacs brought out a yellow that sent both Acuras into the pits from the top two positions.

Though he entered in second, Blomqvist barely beat Albuquerque out of the pits, and he held the lead for the final 45 minutes.

Blomqvist said he gained the lead because of a shorter fuel fill after he had worked on being efficient in the second-to-last stint.

“The team asked a big job of me with the fuel; I had a big fuel number to hit,” Blomqvist said. “We knew that was probably our only chance. The yellow came at the right time and obviously we had a bit less fuel to fill up, so I was able to jump him and then it was just a matter of going gung-ho and not leaving anything on the line. And obviously, the opposition had to try too hard to make it work. I’m so thankful.”

Albuquerque closed within a few car lengths of Blomqvist with 14 minutes remaining, but he damaged his suspension because of contact with a GT car in Turn 1.

It’s the first prototype championship for Meyer Shank Racing, which also won the 2021 Indy 500 with Castroneves.

“We’ve had in the last four years, three championships for Acura, the Indy 500 win and the Rolex 24, it doesn’t get any better,” team co-owner Mike Shank told NBC Sports’ Kevin Lee.

It’s the third consecutive runner-up finish in the points standings for Wayne Taylor Racing, which won the first Daytona Prototype international championship in 2017. The premier category will be rebranded as the Grand Touring Prototype (GTP) class with the LMDh cars that will establish a bridge to racing in the 24 Hours of Le Mans.

Kamui Kobayashi finished third in the No. 48 Cadillac of Action Express that also includes Jimmie Johnson and Mike Rockenfeller.

The podium showing marked Johnson’s last scheduled race in IMSA’s top prototype division. The seven-time NASCAR Cup Series champion has raced in the No. 48 Ally Cadillac lineup as the Action Express entry has run the Endurance Cup races.

Johnson said a lack of inventory will preclude him having a 2023 ride in the top category. But he still is hopeful of racing the Garage 56 Next Gen Camaro in next year’s 24 Hours of Le Mans and possibly running in a lower class for the Rolex 24 at Daytona.

“I’d love to be at Le Mans next year,” Johnson told NBC Sports’ Dillon Welch after his final stint Saturday. “I’d love to be at the Rolex 24. The series is going through a shake-up with the reconfiguration of the rules and classes, so I don’t have anything locked down yet, but I’m so thankful for this experience with Action. The support Ally has given us, Mr. Hendrick, Chad Knaus, all of Hendrick Motorsports. It’s been a fun two years, and I certainly hope I’m on the grid again next year.”