MRTI notes: Askew piles up fourth USF2000 win of young season

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INDIANAPOLIS, Indiana – Oliver Askew pulled off a flawless performance today to win his fourth straight Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship powered by Mazda race of the season, in the first of two races this weekend at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course.

The 20-year-old from Jupiter, Florida said winning at IMS is something he will cherish.

“It’s crazy!” he said. “I was screaming on the radio. It’s just such a massive facility and so much history has happened here. I’ve always watched this race (Indianapolis 500) on TV and this year will be the first year that I’ll see it in person.”

Askew, driving the No. 3 Mazda Motorsports/MC Racing Tatuus USF-17 for Cape Motorsports, launched away from Team Pelfrey’s Kaylen Frederick (No. 81 Team Pelfrey Pilot ONE Racing) on a restart with just over 10 minutes remaining after a 20-minute caution period. Askew drove a clean and steady final nine laps and crossed the line with a healthy 3.3461-second lead over Frederick, whose second-place finish was later nullified for a technical infraction.

Askew, the 2016 Mazda scholarship shootout winner, noted that the key to winning the race was nailing the restart.

“The race was pretty straightforward,” he said. “I had to make sure that I got a good restart because, with these long straightaways, it’s easy for another car to draft up and attack.”

With Frederick’s disqualification, Calvin Ming (No. 22 Pabst Racing) placed second and Ricky Donison (No. 2 Cape Motorsports) third – both career-best finishes.

Franzoni picks up first Pro Mazda win

Victor Franzoni broke through to claim his first career Pro Mazda Championship presented by Cooper Tires win in the first race of the Indianapolis road course weekend doubleheader at the same track where he made his series debut two years ago.

Victor Franzoni“Almost everything happened here in my life,” Franzoni said. “My first race in Pro Mazda was here, my first test with Juncos Racing was here and now my first win is here. This place is different. The city is a racing city; the people are racing people. It’s really nice to win here.”

Driving the No. 23 Juncos Racing Mazda, the 21-year-old from Sao Paulo, Brazil, started from the pole but was overtaken by series points leader Anthony Martin (No. 8 Cape Motorsports Mazda) as well as Team Pelfrey teammates TJ Fischer (No. 82 Project O2 Mazda) and Nikita Lastochkin (No. 80 Russkaya Mekhanika Mazda).

Franzoni quickly made up his lost ground and pressured Martin for two laps before out-braking him heading into Turn 1 on the race’s fifth lap to regain the lead. Franzoni gave Martin credit for racing clean.

“It was difficult because he is really smart,” Franzoni said. “I was trying all the time so see where he was going to go. We respected each other a lot and it was really fun throughout the race.

“I’ve raced Anthony for three years now on the Mazda Road to Indy, so we respect each other, and we know that if we do something bad for each other, it will be bad for the championship.”

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