NEWTON, Iowa – Cape Motorsports returned to victory lane in the Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship Powered by Mazda, guiding rookie phenom Oliver Askew to a 3.8245-second win in the Mazda Iowa 60 at Iowa Speedway on Sunday morning.
The 19-year-old Jupiter, Florida driver bounced back from a tough weekend at Road America two weeks ago to turn in a flawless performance on the banked 7/8-mile oval, leading from green to checker to score his first career oval win. The win, his sixth of the year, extends Askew’s lead in the championship as the series now heads north to the streets of Toronto.
“Oliver drove brilliantly in the race, which was the perfect end to a weekend that had has working on the set-up after every track session,” offered Dominic Cape, Team Co-Owner. “We kept working on the set-up and nailed it for qualifying, and Oliver went out and put down two perfect laps to win the pole. He took it from there in the race and drove it to victory lane.”
The team and its lone driver hit the challenging track on Friday during a three-hour open test session to get Oliver acclimated to the unique layout and the demands of oval competition. The session was successful and very productive, and led to the only official practice session of the weekend, which took place on Saturday afternoon. The racing surface had changed significantly with the rubber being laid down by the Verizon IndyCar Series, the Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires and the ARCA stock cars, which had all taken to the track early in the day. Oliver and the team handled the conditions well, as Askew completed the 45-minute session sitting sixth on the time charts, just a couple of tenths off the fast laps of the leader.
Oliver and the team debriefed following practice to prep for Saturday morning qualifying, which featured a two-lap run with the average time setting the grid for the race. The qualifying runs were held at 9:15 am CDT on Saturday morning, which would push Askew to nail two quick laps, which he did, slotting in P1 at the head of a 13-car field with an average speed of 131.683 mph.
The race was uneventful, as Oliver jetted away at the start and laid down consistent laps to pull away from the field. He handled lapped cars masterfully, and guided his Soul Red #3 Mazda Scholarship-backed Tatuus USF-17 to a comfortable margin of victory at the end of the 60-lap run.
The team will be back in action this coming weekend when the Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship Powered by Mazda travels north of the border to run on the streets of Toronto. Askew now enjoys a 32-point lead in the championship chase and he will be re-joined by Donison when they get to Canada.
DRIVER PERFORMANCE / QUOTES
COOPER TIRES USF2000 CHAMPIONSHIP POWERED BY MAZDA
EVENT #5 – JULY 7-9, 2017
IOWA SPEEDWAY – NEWTON, IA
OLIVER ASKEW – USF2000 #2
Qualifying: 1st – 131.683 mph
Race: Start – 1st / Finish – 1st
Driver Quote: “This win was exactly what we needed. It was extremely import to me and the team to come back and make another statement in this championship. It wasn’t easy, we struggled in practice, but the guys at Cape Motorsports gave me an incredibly fast car when it counted.”