The first time isn’t always the charm in the NTT INDYCAR SERIES but today it proved true for rookie driver Oliver Askew, who put the No. 7 Arrow McLaren SP Chevrolet in the Firestone Fast Six during his first-ever road course qualifying.
Askew and his Arrow McLaren SP teammate, Pato O’Ward, showed the speed of their Chevrolets throughout the day, beginning in the weekend’s only practice, a 90-minute session in the heat of the Indiana sun.
O’Ward found himself near the top of the time sheets at the end of practice, finishing fourth in the No. 5 Arrow McLaren SP Chevrolet. Askew looked like he was going to follow but got caught up in traffic when he went out on red tires, keeping him back in 10th.
The young American didn’t let that bring him down, coming out confident and taking the top time in his Round One qualifying group and the fastest time of all cars in Round Two. O’Ward made a valiant effort to join Askew in the Fast 12 but just missed moving on and will start tomorrow’s race in the 13th position.
Askew set his sights on pole in his first Firestone Fast Six but quickly learned what it takes to get the top spot, with his respectable lap earning him a starting spot of fifth.
Arrow McLaren SP will look to build on this momentum tomorrow, Saturday, July 4th, at Indianapolis Motor Speedway as the GMR Grand Prix goes green on NBC at 12:00 p.m. ET.
Pato O’Ward – No. 5 Arrow McLaren SP Chevrolet
Practice: 4th, 1:10.1874
Qualifying: 13th, 1:10.7333
“We were just outside of getting into the Fast 12 and competing for a spot in the Firestone Fast Six. The No. 5 Arrow McLaren SP Chevrolet is super fast and I think we showed that at times throughout the day. I’m looking forward to tomorrow’s race and making my way to the front. Congrats to my teammate, Oliver, for qualifying fifth. Make sure to watch us both tomorrow on NBC at 12:00 p.m. ET.”
Oliver Askew – No. 7 Arrow McLaren SP Chevrolet
Practice: 10th, 1:10.3641
Qualifying: 5th, 1:10.8404
“Today was more than we could have asked for, honestly. The goal was to move on from Round One of qualifying but once I felt the car was capable of competing in the Firestone Fast Six, it was game on. The guys at Arrow McLaren SP did a really good job of making the right changes between practice and qualifying. It comes down to that and being able to put together your theoretical best lap without making mistakes. Everyone sees how close it is out there in lap times. I felt good out there, and these are the days I love about racing, when you feel connected with the car and you don’t have to think about it. It just comes together naturally. Really happy with today.”