PREVIEW: Indy Lights at World Wide Technology Raceway
Oliver Askew has began to distance himself from his competitors, boasting a 45-point lead heading into the next Indy Lights presented by Cooper Tire event at World Wide Technology Raceway (Gateway). However, with five races still on the schedule, a lot of racing remains before the champion is ultimately crowned.
It’s no surprise to see Askew have things under his control, given his quick climb through the Road to Indy ranks after winning the Mazda Shootout. He has also found the momentum at the right time, winning the last three series events including a sweep at Mid-Ohio, and has just one finish outside of the top-five in 2019.
Though he has yet to compete in an Indy Lights event at Gateway, his oval experience has shined through as he won the Freedom 100 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway in May. He also finished fifth at Gateway in the Indy Pro 2000 presented by Cooper Tires event.
The playing field is evened out also by the fact Askew’s closest rival Rinus Veekay has yet to run an Indy Lights race at Gateway, either. But in direct comparison, he won the Indy Pro 2000 event last season and finished third in the Freedom 100.
The Juncos Racing driver has been solid the last five races, scoring a win and three third-place finishes – but also a ninth in Toronto after being involved in a wreck. Now if he wants to get back in the title hunt, he will have to be perfect – and that means avoiding incidents while winning.
While these two fight for the championship, Toby Sowery is hoping to steal a win out from underneath them both. He almost was able to accomplish that at Mid-Ohio, scoring a runner-up finish in the second race. Although he has yet to reach victory lane this season, the Team Pelfry driver has scored four podiums and was fourth in the Freedom 100.
Ryan Norman enters this event as the defending winner after passing his then-Andretti Autosport teammate Coltin Herta for the lead with six laps to go. He also enters this weekend with momentum, with seven straight top-four finishes including a win at Road America. He has shown speed on the ovals this year as well, leading 29 laps en route to a runner-up in the Freedom 100.
Ultimately, Norman is just one of three drivers who are on the docket for the event with previous Indy Lights experience at Gateway. Dalton Kellett and Aaron Telitz are the other two, and Kellett could use a good run after finishing eighth at Mid-Ohio as the last car on the lead lap. His finishes at Gateway hasn’t been much better, though, as he has finished seventh in his pair of events.
Robert Megennis needs a turnaround even more, as he finished last at Mid-Ohio, five laps down to the leaders. Outside of the most recent event, he has been solid with four podium finishes, and a victory during the Indianapolis Grand Prix weekend. The ovals, though, haven’t worked out as well for him, with an eighth in the Freedom 100. He may still be able to turn things around, as he finished second in last year’s Indy Pro 2000 race.
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