Askew’s Freedom 100 Triumph Continues Team USA Drivers’ Win Streak

Written by Team USA. Posted in Feature, Team USA News

Published on May 25, 2019 with No Comments

Five Former Scholarship Winners Will Chase Victory in Tomorrow’s 103rd Indianapolis 500

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – Oliver Askew’s spectacular victory in yesterday’s Freedom 100 Presented by Cooper Tires at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway continued a remarkable streak of success this season for recent winners of the Team USA Scholarship.

Askew, 22, from Jupiter, Fla., who won a Team USA Scholarship in 2016, took the checkered flag merely 0.0067-second ahead of Andretti Autosport teammate Ryan Norman, marking the fourth closest finish in the storied history of the 2.5-mile “Brickyard” oval. His third win of the Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires season – and by far the most important victory of his career to date – catapulted Askew back into the lead of the championship points table with seven out of 18 races in the books.

But Askew is far from alone in flying the Team USA flag with distinction this year. Josef Newgarden, who claimed a scholarship in 2008 and went on to win the 2017 NTT IndyCar Series championship with Team Penske, is currently atop the points table once more after winning the opening race of the season in St. Petersburg, Fla., and since then adding another pair of second-place finishes.

Tomorrow, Newgarden will join four more fellow \Team USA Scholarship winners – Charlie Kimball (2003), J.R. Hildebrand (2005), Conor Daly (2008) and Spencer Pigot (2010) – in chasing victory in the biggest race of them all, the 103rd Running of the Indianapolis 500.

Every one of them has a legitimate hope of lifting the iconic Borg-Warner Trophy and following in the footsteps of Buddy Rice, who in 2004 became the first Team USA Scholarship winner to secure the top prize in American open-wheel racing. Others have come close, including Hildebrand, who was within a few hundred yards of winning the race in 2011 when he hit the wall in Turn Four on the final lap, ironically while trying to avoid a coasting, out-of-fuel car driven by Kimball. Hildebrand had to be content with second place and Rookie of the Year honors. Phil Giebler, a scholarship winner in 2000, also secured Indy 500 Rookie of the Year honors in 2007, while Newgarden finished third in 2016.

This year Pigot (right) will start on the outside of the front row for Ed Carpenter Racing after holding the provisional pole following the first day of qualifying last weekend. Newgarden will line up eighth, three positions ahead of Daly, who set the fastest lap during practice on “Fast Friday” at 231.704 mph for Andretti Autosport. Coincidentally, Kimball and Hildebrand will start alongside each other in 20th and 21st on the grid.

Other former scholarship winners to shine this year include Braden Eves (2018), who yesterday evening at Lucas Oil Raceway in Brownsburg, Ind., extended his lead in the Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship – the first step on the Road to Indy Presented by Cooper Tires – to 44 points; Connor De Phillippi (2009), who won the GTLM class at the Rolex 24 at Daytona; Trent Hindman (2011), who leads the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship GTD category; Jake Eidson (2013), who leads the IMSA Lamborghini Super Trofeo Pro-Am division; and Dakota Dickerson (2015), who leads the F3 Americas Championship powered by Honda.

About Team USA Scholarship:
The program has been providing opportunities for talented American race car drivers at an early stage in their careers since 1990. Supporters include Doug Mockett & Company, the Road Racing Drivers Club and SAFEisFAST.com, Cooper Tire & Rubber Company, Mazda, Honda Performance Development, Chip Ganassi Racing Teams, Catalina Furniture, Robertson Racing, Lucas Oil School of Racing, PitFit Training, RaceCraft1, CXC Simulations, Sparco USA, RACER Magazine, Speedstar Management, Styled Aesthetic and Manifest Group.

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