Freedom 100: Askew beats Norman to win by 0.0067sec
Oliver Askew won a typically frantic Freedom 100 around the Indianapolis Motor Speedway after slipstreaming teammate Ryan Norman on the run to the finish line on the final lap.
On Lap 2, Ryan Norman had emerged in the lead ahead of polesitter and one of his Andretti Autosport teammates, Robert Megennis, with Dalton Kellett and Rinus VeeKay moving up to third and fourth in Juncos Racing’s two entries.
But a nasty-looking shunt was triggered by David Malukas turning his BN Racing car sharply down from the outside line to the apex of Turn 3, and losing the tail end. As he spun, Chris Windom in the third Belardi Auto Racing car was left with nowhere to go and climbed up the nose of the BN car and parts of it rode along the wall, as the rest of it rested on Malukas’ car. Both – especially Malukas – were lucky to be able to walk away.
For Windom, it was the second big shunt in fewer than 24 hours, after suffering a major shunt in the Silver Crown race at Indianapolis State Fairgrounds’ 1-mile track last night. He has a second Silver Crown race tonight at Lucas Oil Raceway, the 0.686-mile where Indy Pro 2000 and USF2000 will also compete.
Norman got away well on the restart, while Megennis had to fight off VeeKay, but within a lap another Andretti car, that of championship leader Oliver Askew, was past the pair of them. This quartet remained the prime contenders for victory but they weren’t getting away from the pack and soon the BN/Team Pelfrey car of Toby Sowery was not only fifth but threatening Megennis for fourth – a spot he finally grabbed on Lap 20, half distance. The following lap, Kellett elbowed past Megennis for fifth, but Megennis was back in that spot when Askew made a slight error trying to battle with Norman and VeeKay while also holding off the charging Sowery.
In a slipstreaming bonanza, Askew was back ahead of Megennis and Sowery when Sowery’s car understeered into the tail of Megennis’ car, half spun him but then nudged him back the right way! The caution came out and Sowery was ordered to the back for being the perpetrator, and the incident promoted Kellett to fourth and left Megennis with suspected flat spots and battling newbie teammate Jarett Andretti. Within three laps, Sowery was up from the back of the field and into third but he then lost the spot to Kellett.
The frantic action at the front between Norman, VeeKay, Sowery and Kellett – involving 190mph contact – allowed Askew to carve through into the lead with two laps to go. More frenetic action at the front allowed Norman back in front and he was still leading as he came off Turn 4 for the final time and tucked down to the pitwall, but then moved out again, allowing the closely following Askew to slipstream him and nose ahead by 0.0067sec at the yard of bricks.
Third place went to VeeKay – 0.3977sec in arrears and only 0.0773 ahead of Sowery. Kellett clocked sixth for Juncos ahead of the impressive Andretti, who beat Lucas Kohl in another Belardi machine and the understandably disappointed Megennis.
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2019 IndyCar REV Group Grand Prix schedule at Road America