The Speed51 Elite IndyCar Series Mac Tools 300 was a nod to real-life racing at Texas Motor Speedway, with pack racing throughout the field and plenty of bold moves to go around throughout the entire event. IndyCar stars stole the show during the event, holding down the top five spots and eight of the top 10 positions at the conclusion of the race.
NTT Data IndyCar Series rookie contender Oliver Askew made a bold pass on Will Power in the final 15 laps, then held off last year’s Rookie of the Year Felix Rosenqvist on a green-white-checkered finish to score the win at the 1.5 mile oval. The Florida-born driver made his presence known late, blasting through a front pack filled with fellow IndyCar Series competitors in the closing laps to take the lead.
“I think the race really just came to us there at the end. I had two really good passes, one to take third place away from (Felix) Rosenqvist there and then I got by Josef (Newgarden) the next lap I think,” Askew said on the broadcast.
“Then the yellow came out and I was running behind (Will) Power. He’s so hard to get around and I had a really good angle coming around turn one and two and had a drag race going into turn three. I barely squeezed in front of him, I think we made a little contact there. Just an absolute blast and thankful that we’re able to do this.”
Askew had help from his Arrow McLaren SP team throughout the series as they look to get a head start on team chemistry for his rookie season in IndyCar. It was their strategy calls that helped him win the race at the end.
“This has been the absolute highlight of my quarantine, I’m so happy that us drivers are able to do this. A lot of us have brought on our timing stand and our strategists and our engineers just to keep the blood flowing for those guys, just to keep active. We had a fantastic strategy, we had it all planned out. We had the fuel numbers and when we needed to pit and that was a perfect situation for us.”
The defending Indy Lights champion only has four real-life oval races under his belt, a sixth in a Pro Mazda race at Lucas Oil Raceway in 2018 and three wins, one coming in U.S. F2000 action at Iowa Speedway in 2017 and two Indy Lights races one year ago, the Freedom 100 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway and World Wide Technology Raceway.
The race offered Askew an opportunity to get some oval experience racing in a pack before IndyCar’s tentative trip to Texas on June 6 to open the season.
“You have to realize and understand where the cars are going in front of you and where the holes are opening and where people are getting runs. This kind of racing is all about momentum and I’ve never been speedway racing with IndyCar guys before so this is a really good opportunity to get a feel for how superspeedway racing is. This is really going to help me when we get to the real thing, hopefully we can get started soon.”
Reigning IndyCar Series Rookie of the Year Felix Rosenqvist finished in the runner-up spot for the second time in four races, followed by rookie contender Dalton Kellett, Graham Rahal, and Conor Daly.
Click here to watch a replay of the Speed51 Elite IndyCar Series Mac Tools 300 at Texas Motor Speedway.
-Story by: Koty Geyer, Speed51 National Correspondent – Twitter: @kgeyer3