MRTI notes: Askew wins second straight USF2000 race

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BIRMINGHAM, Alabama - Oliver Askew led from flag to flag today to claim his second straight Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship powered by Mazda win of the season, this one in the first of two weekend races at Barber Motorsports Park.

The 20-year-old from Jupiter, Florida, driving the No. 3 Mazda Motorsports/MC Racing Tatuus USF-17 for Cape Motorsports, built a safe lead on 14-year-old Kaylen Frederick (No. 81 Team Pelfrey Pilot ONE Racing) after starting from the pole position. A late full-course caution allowed Frederick to pressure Askew on the restart, but Askew held strong and crossed the line 0.2273 of a second ahead at the checkered flag.

Askew, who earned a $200,000 Mazda scholarship to compete this season in USF2000, said the key to the win was preserving his Cooper tires for the end of the race.

“Kaylen was putting a lot of pressure on me, I had to keep him behind,” Askew said. “I kept Kaylen behind me and tried to take care of my tires in case the safety car came out. It did and I had the pace to keep him behind me at the end.”

Rinus VeeKay (No. 21 Pabst Racing) rounded out the podium and claimed his third straight top-five finish to start the season. Race 2 of the USF2000 weekend starts at 5:45 p.m. ET Saturday and will stream live on RaceControl.IndyCar.com.

Blackstock paces Indy Lights practice

Belardi Auto Racing’s Shelby Blackstock paced today’s lone practice for the Indy Lights presented by Cooper Tires drivers ahead of Saturday qualifying and the first of two Legacy 100 races this weekend.

Blackstock set a fast lap of 1 minute, 15.1498 seconds (110.180 mph) in the No. 51 Starstruck Mazda/Dallara IL-15. Carlin teammates took positions 2-3, led by Indy Lights rookie Garth Rickards (No. 11 Luther Automotive) at 1:15.2030 and followed by Zachary Claman De Melo (No. 13 ZCD Montreal/Zoological Wildlife Foundation) in third at 1:15.3083.

Indy Lights qualifying is set to begin at 9:40 a.m. ET Saturday and Race 1 is set to begin at 3 p.m. ET. Both will be streamed live at RaceControl.IndyCar.com.

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