INDIANAPOLIS – The annual Freedom 100 once again didn’t disappoint. In the end, we were treated to yet another photo finish, one that got the huge crowd on their feet and hollering well after the checkered flag flew in Friday’s 40 Lap event.
Andretti Autosport driver Oliver Askew got a big run on his teammate Ryan Norman off of Turn 4 and ducked out of line at the last second and narrowly beat Norman en route to his third victory of the season.
Askew, beat Norman by just 0.0067-seconds, which as close as that sounds, was just the fourth closest finish in Indianapolis Motor Speedway history. The other three all took place in the Freedom 100 with 2017 (0.0024), 2013 (0.0026) and 2014 (0.0050) as the three closest results.
Furthermore, the top six finishers crossed the yard of bricks blanketed by less than six-tenths of a second at the conclusion of another memorable Freedom 100 Presented by Cooper Tires.
Askew, led the white flag lap but Norman passed him in Turn 3. Then, Askew got Norman back right before crossing the yard of bricks.
There were 12 lead changes in the race as Norman who led a race high 29 of 40 laps had to settle for second in his No. 48 entry. It was Norman’s best finish of the season and just his second top five in seven tries this year.
For Askew, he gives Andretti their fourth win this season alone.
Rinus Veekay finished third as he barely crossed the yard of bricks over fourth place finisher Toby Sowery. Their margin was only 0.0773-seconds apart.
VeeKay, has five top three finishes in his last six starts on the year. Sowery, was making his first career oval start and gained his fifth top five finish of the season. He came back after being penalized for avoidable contact following late in the race when he and Robert Megennis touched exiting Turn 1. Luckily, despite contact with one another, both were able to make great saves and never crashed.
Dalton Kellett rounded out the top five.
The race was wild from the get go in fact. Jarrett Andretti spun in Turn 4 on the pace laps. Aaron Telitz had to hit pit road with a broken driveshaft before the race even began. Then, on the first lap, David Malukas lost control and spun at the entrance to Turn 4. A close-following Chris Windom was unable to avoid him, whereupon the two cars made heavy contact with the outside retaining wall. Neither driver was hurt but the race was red-flagged shortly thereafter for repairs to the SAFER barrier.
The race was restarted after an almost 10 minute delay and the drivers immediately took up where they had left off, slicing and dicing for position all the way around the 2.5-mile four-cornered oval. The crowd loved it..
Next up for the Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires contenders are a pair of road course races at Road America, in Elkhart Lake, Wis., once again in support of the NTT IndyCar Series, on June 22/23.
Freedom 100 Results
1. 28 Askew R
2. 48 Norman
3. 21 VeeKay R
4. 2 Sowery R
5. 67 Kellett
6. 18 Andretti R
7. 5 Kohl R
8. 27 Megennis R
9. 4 Askew -5
10. 17 Windom R OUT
11. 79 Malukas R OUT