Oliver Askew: Maintaining the Momentum

Written by Team USA. Posted in Driver Blogs, Feature, Oliver Askew

Published on May 10, 2017 with No Comments

SPEEDWAY, Ind. – Hidden in the hills near Birmingham, Ala., lies one of the most technical, high speed and undulating circuits in the world. Barber Motorsports Park became one of my all-time favorite tracks when I first practiced there this past winter with Cape Motorsports in the brand-new Tatuus USF-17. I found it much harder to learn a track with so many blind corners – it takes a certain amount of discipline and track knowledge to consistently hit every apex around Barber. With our new track knowledge, we could hit the track with a full head of steam when it was time for the second round of the 2017 Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship Powered by Mazda.

When it’s go time, Cape Motorsports doesn’t mess around. My Soul Red Mazda Scholarship car was quickest right off the bat through the first day of unofficial practice at Barber. I knew we were going to be very competitive here, but it was most important to me to be on top of the changing track conditions. I try to spend as much time as I can in the engineer’s room to have completely clear and thorough discussions with Dominic Cape about what we feel needs to be done to the car to ensure a quick setup for the coming sessions. The battle between drivers and teams will continue to be very close this year, so it is especially important for us as a team to keep focusing on the details. I feel fortunate to be racing with Cape Motorsports because I don’t think there is another group which nails down the details better than them.

As the weekend progressed, we continued to pace the field by qualifying on pole for Race 1 by three tenths. Starting on pole at Barber is a huge advantage because it is extremely hard to pass. I knew that if I got a good start I could control the field and win the race, and that is exactly what I did. Race 2 was the next day and I wasn’t expecting our advantage to slip away. Happily, we qualified on pole by four tenths and completed the weekend sweep by bagging another flag-to-flag victory.

Round 3 of the series takes place this weekend on the Indianapolis road course. I’ve decided to travel to Indy a few days early to take advantage of some state-of-the-art training facilities this city has to offer. Bell Helmets rep and IndyCar spotter Chris Wheeler has been kind enough to let me stay at his house. I have been going to PitFit Training where I see myself spending a great deal of time through the rest of this season. Jim Leo and Alex Wanee at PitFit have helped tremendously in making sure I am in the best physical condition possible. RaceCraft1 is just next door to PitFit, so I have spent some time there to stay sharp with Kelly Jones and his racing simulations.

The Indianapolis road course is another circuit I have experience on. I had the opportunity to drive the old Van Diemen USF2000 car here last year at the Chris Griffis Memorial test with Cape Motorsports. I expect to carry on our pace from Barber, and I can imagine the racing will be closer here than it has been all year. We have a fairly big point lead now but it is still very early in the season. Our focus is to keep our heads down and continue to win races.

As always, thank you for reading.

Oliver Askew

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