One week after teammate Patricio “Pato” O’Ward scored his first NTT Data IndyCar Series podium, it was Oliver Askew’s turn as he finished third after starting fourteenth in the first race of the Iowa IndyCar 250s at Iowa Speedway.
The Arrow McLaren SP cars were lightning fast all weekend and the two finished third and fourth on Friday night.
Late in the race after a scary wreck between Rinus Veekay and Colton Herta, Askew and O’Ward in first and second place at the restart, but needed to make their final pit stops. Their fresher tyres proved beneficial as they carved through the field, unlapping themselves, and finishing in the top 5.
Askew, the 2019 Indy Lights champion, was ecstatic about his first career podium.
“I wish everyone could see my smile right now,” Askew said under his mask post-race.
“The No. 7 Arrow McLaren SP Chevrolet just absolutely came alive when the track became cooler. We were good on new tires and when they were used. If that yellow didn’t come out there near the race end, I think we would have had a shot at least 1-2 there.
“We will go again tomorrow and I’m sure I’ll sleep well tonight. That’s probably one of the hardest races I’ve done in my life.”
Race two was another strong showing for Askew, as he finished sixth after starting 13th.
Much like Friday, Askew pit late for tyres, this time under caution. With around 60 laps to go, Askew re-started 10th and was able to take advantage of the fresh rubber to grab sixth place.
After the race, the Jupiter, Florida native expressed how happy he was with the weekend as a whole for not only himself, but the team.
“You can’t complain about two top 10s and especially my first podium,” he said.
“After yesterday, it was hard to sleep with all the adrenaline. Just had to focus and get back to it today. Really proud of Arrow McLaren SP, Chevrolet and everyone on this team. I know Pato [O’Ward] had a really good shot at a podium and a win there, so definitely on the right track.
“Two podiums in two race weekends for us, we have quick fast cars and looking forward to the next few races to keep the momentum going and really have a good run at the rookie of the year championship.”
Those two top 10 finishes now put Askew at the top of the Rookie of the Year standings with 115 points. That is just one more point than second place Alex Palou of Dale Coyne Racing with Team Goh, who is on 114 points.
Askew will look to grow that gap when IndyCar goes to the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course on 9 August for the Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio, a track that Askew won both races at in the Indy Lights series last year.