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IndyCar Portland

Askew to race for RLL in final three 2021 IndyCar rounds

Oliver Askew has the opportunity to make a strong case for himself in IndyCar’s silly season, having landed the coveted third Rahal Letterman Lanigan ride for the entire West coast swing.

Santino Ferrucci, Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing Honda

The 2019 Indy Lights champion has suffered a spotty IndyCar career since graduating in 2020. Although he scored a podium in Iowa for Arrow McLaren SP he then suffered a heavy shunt in that year’s Indianapolis 500 that left him with late-diagnosed concussion.

Askew made an impressive comeback last October in St Petersburg – the 2020 finale – but it was too late to salvage a fulltime ride for ’21.

However, when his replacement at AMSP, Felix Rosenqvist, suffered a heavy shunt in Detroit Race 1 this year, Askew – despite no previous knowledge of the Belle Isle course and no practice time – subbed for him on race day using borrowed gear.

While his former employers then opted to give Kevin Magnussen his IndyCar debut in the following race at Road America, Askew was thrown another lifeline by Ed Carpenter Racing, when his former Indy Lights rival Rinus VeeKay broke his collarbone in a biking accident.

Askew stepped up, looked very impressive in practice, made a small mistake in qualifying but was still a tenth up on ECR fulltimer Conor Daly, and went on to finish 12th.

Now, after testing an Rahal Letterman Lanigan-Honda alongside impressive Formula 2 racer and IndyCar newbie Christian Lundgaard at Barber Motorsports Park, ahead of the Dane’s race debut on the IMS road course, Askew has the chance to take over the #45 Hy-Vee sponsored car for Portland International Raceway, WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca and the streets of Long Beach.

“It’s a fantastic opportunity to run the final three races of the season with such a capable team as Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing,” said the 24-year-old from Jupiter, FL. “We had a very productive test together a few weeks ago at Barber and I’m excited to drive the team’s car again, this time in Hy-Vee colors in one of the most competitive racing environments the world has ever seen.

“I believe we can put together a great string of results and I’m excited to get to work.”

Aside from Lundgaard’s startling qualifying performance on the IMS road course, starting fourth, the #45 car has also been steered well this year by Santino Ferrucci, who has scored two sixth places, one of which came on the IMS road course.

Bobby Rahal, who co-owns RLLR with David Letterman and Mike Lanigan, has confirmed that the team will run three full-time entries in 2022. With Jack Harvey expected to be confirmed soon as incumbent Graham Rahal’s partner, speculation is rife over the occupant of the third seat.

Current RLL driver Takuma Sato is arguably the most obvious candidate, but Askew being granted three straight races to prove himself in the Hy-Vee car suggests he too is being strongly considered for an opportunity in the expanding squad.

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