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Askew Edges Norman to Win Wild Freedom 100 in Photo Finish
Oliver Askew won the Freedom 100 presented by Cooper Tires by a nose Friday at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, edging Andretti Autosport teammate Ryan Norman by .0067 of a second in the Indy Lights presented by Cooper Tires marquee race.

Askew, from Jupiter, Florida, dove under Norman on the front straightaway with the checkered flag in the air. The nose of his No. 28 Index Invest Dallara finished inches ahead of the No. 48 EVO Dallara of Norman at the Yard of Bricks start-finish line.

“This seems so surreal,” Askew said. “I’ve never raced in front of so many people in my life. This is unbelievable. I woke up this morning and felt that this could be the day.”

It was the fourth-closest finish in the 17-year history of the Freedom 100. Askew’s average speed was 142.705 mph in a race that started under caution due to a pace lap spin and was slowed by two more cautions.

Askew qualified second but started eighth after he was one of four drivers moved toward the rear of the field for technical violations in post-qualifying inspection. He quickly drove to the front and was involved in a three- and sometimes four-way scrap for the lead for most of the 40-lap race along with Norman, Rinus VeeKay, pole sitter Robert Megennis, Toby Sowery and Dalton Kellett.

There were 12 official lead changes in the race, but that was a deceiving statistic. Drivers went two- and three-wide in passing attempts, often swapping the lead two and three times per lap.

Askew officially led just three laps, taking the lead for good from Norman in Turn 1 on Lap 39. But that, too, was deceiving.

Norman passed Askew for the lead in Turn 3 on that lap, with Askew edging ahead by .0048 of a second with the white flag in the air. Norman then made his move in Turn 3 on the final lap, driving outside Askew for the lead.

It appeared Norman might have enough of a gap to win. But Askew darted low and made his decisive move just before the Yard of Bricks.

“I knew right away,” Norman said. “I could see his nose in front of me. It really sucks losing by that much. The car was on rails all day. I was able to put the car anywhere on track. Andretti Autosport gave me a great car.”

This was the third career Indy Lights win for Askew, as he also swept both races in March at Circuit of the Americas. 

“Starting from eighth, I knew I was going to have a good car,” Askew said. “Massive thanks to everyone at Andretti. This is incredible. Oh, my gosh.

“I wouldn’t want to win against anybody else but my teammate Ryan Norman. Our cars were so strong.”

VeeKay finished third today in the No. 21 Mazda/Jumbo Supermarkets/La Place Restaurants/KNAF Talent First car, followed by Sowery in the No. 2 Gap Guard/Rich Energy car. Kellett rounded out the top five – separated by just .5922 of a second at the finish – in the No. 67 K-Line Insulators USA, Inc. car.

Pole sitter Megennis finished eighth after contact with Sowery on Lap 30 caused the second caution period during the race.

The first caution occurred on Lap 2 when David Malukas spun in Turn 4 and collected the trailing car of two-time USAC National Champion Chris Windom in a hard crash. Neither driver was hurt, but repairs to the catch fence and SAFER Barrier required a red-flag period of nearly nine minutes.
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