Fischer, Askew top Mazda Road To Indy test on Day 1

MRTI’s first day of testing on Miami Homestead Speedway’s road course saw Team Pelfrey and Cape Motorsports maintain their preeminence in Pro Mazda and USF2000 respectively, the latter despite a change in spec chassis.

Fischer, Askew top Mazda Road To Indy test on Day 1
TJ Fischer
Oliver Askew, Cape Motorsports
Oliver Askew
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Fischer and new Pelfrey teammate Nikita Lastochkin, whose ride was only confirmed this morning, ended the day just 0.03sec apart on the timesheets, with their teammate Carlos Cunha only 0.15sec further back.

Said Fischer: “We were constantly working at it today, pushing the whole time because everyone is going to be quick in this field. We worked a lot on brake zones and making sure everything is there, rather than being quick on one part of the track but losing time somewhere else.

"We did qualifying runs and race runs so we had the whole spectrum. There’s still a ton for me to learn – how to manage the car, how to manage the tires. It’s night and day compared to last year. Being in just one series this year is good: I can build a foundation and use this as a springboard."

Lastochkin commented: "I was a little concerned going into today because I’d never even sat in the car before. To be able to do some good times gives me a lot of confidence.

"The morning was great but I got a little tired by the end of the day because the car is a lot more physical than the USF2000 car. It has more downforce and more grip and it’s more lively to drive. To be honest, I’m a bit overwhelmed after the first day, but I couldn’t be happier to be back at Team Pelfrey."

Nearest challenger was reigning USF2000 champion, Australia’s Anthony Martin, who has remained with Cape Motorsports while graduating.

1 TJ Fischer                 Team Pelfrey                            1min24.4417sec     85 laps
2 Nikita Lastochkin   Team Pelfrey                            1:24.4710                 75
3 Carlos Cunha          Team Pelfrey                            1:24.6217                  60
4 Anthony Martin      Cape Motorsports                   1:24.6523                 74
5 Bobby Eberle          World Speed Motorsports     1:25.7415                  88
6 Sting Ray Robb       World Speed Motorsports     1:26.0877                  83
7 Jeff Green                Green Racing                           1:26.8749                   89  


The new Tatuus USF-17 Mazda has seen a welcome burst of speed for the series, with the fastest USF2000 car today setting a time that would have been third on the Pro Mazda timesheets, as the latter series awaits the arrival of its new Tatuus PM-18 Mazda in 2018.

That P1 time came from Cape Motorsports’ new recruit, Oliver Askew, the karting ace, Team USA Scholarship winner and also winner of the inaugural Mazda Road to Indy USF2000 $200K Scholarship Shootout. He set a time 0.05sec ahead of Newman Wachs Racing’s Rinus VeeKay, another kart graduate.

Said Askew: "I came here with a question mark over how we stack up against the rest, so I’m really happy. We’ve tested four or five times and the car has been fantastic: this just solidifies that. We’ve worked on qualifying runs, because the balance changes so much depending on the tires, and we’ve worked on the car in traffic. We’re making changes every session, so we’ll keep working on that tomorrow.”

VeeKay added: “It was a very good day, being in the top three in every session. I think if we can put everything together tomorrow we can be ready to earn pole positions this season. It’s been good learning the new car; after a couple of tests, I knew where the car was going. We’ve been working on balance in the corners and in the mid points.”

Series returnee Robert Megennis was third for Team Pelfrey which, like NWR, had two cars in the top six and three in the Top 10. Parker Thompson, last year’s series runner-up in the title race, led new USF2000 squad Exclusive Autosport into the top 10 with P7, half a second off top spot.

1 Oliver Askew                   Cape Motorsports               1min24.5618sec     70 laps
2 Rinus VeeKay                  Newman Wachs Racing      1:24.6115                 80
3 Robert Megennis           Team Pelfrey                         1:24.6747                 72
4 Kaylen Frederick            Team Pelfrey                         1:24.7120                 74
5 Calvin Ming                     Pabst Racing                         1:25.0063                  76
6 Andre Castro                   Newman Wachs Racing      1:25.0143                 74
7 Parker Thompson          Exclusive Autosport             1:25.0434                 61
8 Kyle Kirkwood                 Benik                                      1:25.1861                 63
9 Ayla Agren                       Team Pelfrey                         1:25.2027                 76
10 Dakota Dickerson        Newman Wachs Racing       1:25.2684                78
11 Victor Franzoni             ArmsUp Motorsports          1:25.4223                 67
12 Lucas Kohl                     Pabst Racing                         1:25.5082                 80
13 Ricky Donison               Cape Motorsports                1:25.7700                75
14 Moises de la Vara         DEForce Racing                     1:25.8551                69
15 Luke Gabin                    Exclusive Autosport              1:25.8691               67
16 Kory Enders                   DEForce Racing                     1:26.0052                68
17 Kris Wright                     John Cummiskey Racing      1:26.2422               79
18 Devin Wojcik                  ArmsUp Motorsports           1:26.7343               67
19 Chandler Horton          RJB Motorsports                    1:27.6382               76
20 Dev Gore                        Exclusive Autosport              1:27.6473               37
21 Bruna Tomaselli*          ArmsUp Motorsports           1:29.3980               79

* Ran the old Van Diemen


Lastochkin lands Pelfrey's final Pro Mazda ride

USF2000 champion Martin sticks with Cape for Pro Mazda move