TORONTO -- Oliver Askew pounced after leaders collided and snagged a monumental victory in the second race of the weekend for Indy Lights presented by Cooper Tires at Honda Indy Toronto.
The 22-year-old Floridian started on pole in the No. 28 Andretti Autosport Dallara IL-15, but a slow start allowed Aaron Telitz (No. 4 Belardi Auto Racing) to jump from third and make the inside pass for the lead entering Turn 1. Meanwhile, Rinus VeeKay (No. 21 Juncos Racing) went to the outside as the pair split Askew, who fell to third.
VeeKay lurked in the shadows of Telitz, yesterday’s winner, for several laps around the 11-turn, 1.786-mile temporary street circuit until making a strong move for the lead on Lap 25 of 40. The two went side-by-side in a drag race down the long straight between Turns 2 and 3. However, both drivers locked up briefly as VeeKay attempted to slide over to force himself to the top spot, which ended with the two barely touching and heading straight into the tire barriers in Turn 3.
This opened the door for Askew to slide by and coast to a comfortable 6.8331 second margin of victory en route to his fourth win of the 2019 season.
“I had a feeling that was going to happen,” Askew said. “I got a bad start, for some reason I didn’t get a good run off the line. Once those two started battling, I just had a feeling something was going to happen. It’s unlucky for them, but that’s what happens.”
The collision for the frontrunners also allowed the opportunity for others to collect strong results, with Toby Sowery (No. 2 BN Racing/Team Pelfrey) finishing second and hometown favorite Dalton Kellett (No. 67 Juncos Racing) snatching the third and final spot on the podium.
Ryan Norman (No. 48 Andretti Autosport) methodically moved up from eighth on the grid to finish fourth.
Telitz, who led a race-high 23 laps, suffered a broken front wing in the incident, but returned to finish sixth. While VeeKay saw his title aspirations take a major blow as a broken front wing and slight suspension damage relegated him to a ninth-place (last) finish.
After 11 of 18 rounds, the championship picture for the top rung of the Road to Indy sees Askew atop the standings with 285 points, followed by VeeKay (-25) and Norman (-63).
Kirkwood goes flag-to-flag to take Indy Pro 2000 win
Pole sitter Kyle Kirkwood went flag-to-flag to take the second race of the doubleheader weekend for Indy Pro 2000 presented by Cooper Tires on the streets of Toronto.
The pilot of the No. 28 RP Motorsport Racing Tatuus PM-18 surged ahead at the start and managed the gap to the field for all 30 laps to claim his third win of the season by 1.7233 seconds over Parker Thompson (No. 8 Abel Motorsports).
“Yesterday was a disappointment and to bounce back today is tremendous,” Kirkwood said.
“We were going faster and faster every lap and I was pushing harder and harder every lap, too. It seemed like Parker was an accordion between us both. He would catch me, then I would pull away and then Rasmus would catch him. So he was put in a tough spot a couple of times there. Fortunately, we were able to pull away for the last few laps and get the win.”
Championship leader Rasmus Lindh (No. 10 Juncos Racing) maintained his consistent point-scoring ways and snagged, keeping it clean and grabbing the third and final spot on the podium.
With nine of 16 rounds in the books, Lindh holds a 28-point advantage over Thompson (235-207) in the standings, with Kirkwood sitting third (204).
Rasmussen delivers first win in USF2000
Christian Rasmussen reversed yesterday’s outcome and this time came out ahead in a thrilling last-lap shootout to take his first-ever victory in the Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship at Exhibition Place.
The 19-year-old from Denmark started second in the No. 6 Jay Howard Driver Development Tatuus USF-17, but got a strong jump at the drop of the green flag to pull ahead of pole sitter Darren Keane (No. 2 Cape Motorsports). Despite three separate full course cautions, Rasmussen held onto the top spot for all 25 laps and won second act of the doubleheader by 0.1147 of a second over Keane.
"I had goose bumps driving around on my in-lap. It was amazing,” said Rasmussen, who also delivered the first win for team owner Jay Howard.
“I've been waiting a long time for this, so finally we're up there where we're supposed to be and battling for the race win. Darren is a great driver, so I really enjoy racing him. It's always more fun to beat a guy that's good. If it's just too easy there's no fun about it, so I really enjoyed racing him."
Matt Round-Garrido (No. 27 BN Racing) took advantage of his rival’s misfortunes to move up from ninth on the grid to collect third. Manuel Sulaiman (No. 12 DEForce Racing) came across the finish line fourth, while teammate Jak Crawford (No. 52 DEForce Racing) charged from 13th to finish fifth.
Championship leader Braden Eves (No.8 Cape Motorsports) was set to finish on the final spot on the podium before running into trouble just two laps from the end, which left him finishing 11th.
Regardless, Eves leaves Toronto with a 41-point lead over No. 22 Pabst Racing pilot Hunter McElrea (233-192), with Keane solidly sitting third (180).
All three rounds of the Road to Indy will return to action July 26-28 at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course.