NEWTON, Iowa – Considering he’d never raced on an oval two months ago, Matheus Leist is taking a liking to the circular tracks.
Leist won today’s Indy Lights presented by Cooper Tires race at Iowa Speedway by 2.9294 seconds over Santi Urrutia to collect his third win in the last four series races. Leist’s streak began in the Freedom 100 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway on May 26, the first oval race for the Brazilian phenom.
Today at Iowa, Leist blazed from the 10th starting position to win the 100-lap event in the No. 26 TMA Mazda/Dallara IL-15 for Carlin, which had the winning driver at Iowa for the third straight year.
Andretti-Steinbrenner Racing’s Colton Herta won his fourth pole of the season with a new track record two-lap average of 163.670 mph and led the first 31 laps of the race before Leist made the pass for the lead. Leist led the final 69 laps, while Herta faded to finish fourth.
“The car was just perfect today,” said Leist, who has finished in the top five in each of the last six races. “I knew that the car was very good, the Carlin boys won the race here the past two years, and today the car was just perfect. I managed to use the high line and it worked very well, so I’m just so happy.”
Santi Urrutia (No. 5 Belardi Auto Racing with SPM) also made a big move, finishing second after starting the race 11th. Dalton Kellett (No. 28 Andretti Autosport) finished third.
With the win, Leist closed within 13 points of championship leader Kyle Kaiser, who finished fifth today on the No. 18 Juncos Racing Mazda. Indy Lights heads to Toronto for a doubleheader race weekend July 14-16.
Askew dominates to win USF2000 race
Oliver Askew drove to a dominant win from the pole position in today’s Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship powered by Mazda race at Iowa Speedway.
Despite struggling in Saturday’s two USF2000 practice sessions, Askew, of Cape Motorsports, scored his fifth pole of 2017 this morning and converted that in to a victory in his first oval race. Askew led all 60 laps en route to his sixth win of the season.
“Unbelievable,” said Askew, driver of the No. 3 Mazda Motorsports/MC Racing Tatuus USF-17. “I can’t say enough about the guys at Cape Motorsports for bouncing back from our problems at Road America and yesterday, too. We were struggling a little bit. We made the right decisions last night, the Mazda Motorsports Soul Red car was just a rocket ship.”
Pabst Racing teammates Rinus VeeKay and Calvin Ming finished second and third, respectively, to round out the podium. VeeKay now trails championship leader Askew by 34 points with five races remaining this season.
USF2000 heads north of the border for a doubleheader weekend July 14-16 on the streets of Toronto.