Askew Steps in For Rinus VeeKay, Finishes 12th; Conor Daly Runs in the Top 5, Forced to Save Fuel in Closing Laps

(ELKHART LAKE, Wis.) June 20, 2021 – Race Notes

  • On Tuesday evening, Ed Carpenter Racing announced that Oliver Askew would drive the No. 21 Chevrolet this weekend; on Sunday afternoon, he found himself leading the REV Group Grand Prix at Road America. With a smart strategy, a bit of luck and some well-executed passes, Askew delivered a 12th place finish in the home race for Milwaukee-based Direct Supply, the primary partner on the No. 21 this weekend. Conor Daly found himself in the Top 5 as the No. 20 U.S. Air Force Chevrolet tried a strategy that would have benefited from additional caution flags in the closing laps of the race. However, Daly did not get the break he needed and was forced to save fuel, finishing 20th.
  • Askew stepped into the No. 21 Chevrolet for the first time on Friday afternoon. He was chosen to fill in for Rinus VeeKay, who is recovering from outpatient surgery for a fractured clavicle. Askew turned Top 10 lap times in both practice sessions, finishing 5th in the second practice yesterday morning. Conditions in qualifying proved more difficult and Askew was not able to advance to the second round. He started 16th in today’s REV Group Grand Prix.
  • Daly narrowly missed out on advancing in qualifying yesterday, missing the cut off by less than .09 of a second. He qualified 15th, starting alongside Askew. Quick work by the No. 20 U.S. Air Force Chevrolet crew gained him positions on each of his first two pit stops. On a strategy call, Daly came in under the Lap 36 caution. It vaulted him up to 5th after everyone had made their final stops in the 55-lap race. However, there were not enough yellow flag laps in the closing stages and Daly was forced to save fuel to make it to the end. Daly crossed the finish line in 20th.
  • Askew, too, stopped under the Lap 36 caution. In contrast to Daly, it was expected that Askew would need to pit again so he was able to push hard. On Lap 51, Askew relinquished the lead of the race to take a splash of fuel and a set of red tires. The caution flew on Lap 52, setting up a shoot-out for the end of the race. Askew came out of the pit lane in 15th, picking up one position at the restart as the leader suffered a mechanical failure. Over the next two laps, Askew used his new tires to pick up two more positions. He finished 12th in his first race weekend with ECR.
  • Ed Carpenter Racing will enjoy a weekend off before returning to action at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course. VeeKay will be re-evaluated prior to the event weekend to determine if he will be medically cleared to return to competition. The Honda 200 will take place on July 4, 2021 with coverage beginning on NBC at 12 p.m. ET.
CONOR DALY, No. 20 U.S. Air Force Chevrolet, Finished 20th: “Today just flat out did not work out for us. [Takuma] Sato used his car like a missile and knocked us off the track at the very beginning, which is very sad to have happen and lose those positions. That happened to me a couple of times, I stood my ground and people just drove into my car. There are a lot of tire marks on it after today! The U.S. Air Force Chevy was quite quick, which was nice. We tried a strategy that didn’t work out. We had to make a wildly aggressive fuel number, but we stuck to it and it just didn’t play out. Hopefully when we get to the next one, we’ll have some good things happen!”
OLIVER ASKEW, No. 21 Direct Supply Chevrolet, Finished 12th: “I had a really enjoyable race at Road America! We struggled there towards the end with some strategy options that we didn’t think were going to play out, but then it ended up working out for us! We caught a yellow at the end that helped bunch the field up. Then on the new red tires, we were able to pass a couple of cars and finish P12. I am very happy with that! Thank you to everyone at Ed Carpenter Racing and Direct Supply for the opportunity.”