Portland International Raceway
Cooper Tires Indy Lights Grand Prix of Portland Race 1
Portland International Raceway - Portland, OR
Portland International Raceway
EVENT DETAILS
Cooper Tires Indy Lights Grand Prix of Portland Race 1
31Aug
Race Complete
NBC Sports Gold
INDYCAR Radio Network

On-Track Schedule

Aug30
Friday
Practice
12:55 - 1:35 PM
View Session Results
Aug30
Friday
Qualifications
7:25 - 7:55 PM
View Session Results
Aug31
Saturday
Race
4:50 - 5:45 PM
View Session Results

Telecast Schedule

Aug30
Friday
Practice
12:55 - 1:35 PM
Aug30
Friday
Qualifications
7:25 - 7:55 PM
Aug31
Saturday
Race
4:50 - 5:45 PM

Podium

1st
Rinus VeeKay
Juncos Racing
2nd
Oliver Askew
Andretti Autosport
3rd
Robert Megennis
Andretti Autosport

Race Recap

PORTLAND, Ore. – Teenaged Dutchman Rinus VeeKay had a straightforward game plan coming into this weekend’s Cooper Tires Indy Lights Grand Prix Presented by Allied Building Products at Portland International Raceway: He needed to score maximum points in order to keep alive his hopes of winning this year’s Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires championship crown. At stake is a scholarship to guarantee entry into a minimum of three NTT IndyCar Series events in 2020, including the 104th Indianapolis 500. VeeKay today executed that plan to perfection as he led all 35 laps from the pole for Juncos Racing to finish a comfortable 3.4990 seconds clear of series points leader Oliver Askew (Andretti Autosport), from Jupiter, Fla.

VeeKay afterward dedicated his fourth win of the season to Frenchman Anthoine Hubert, a member of the Renault Sport Academy, who tragically lost his life today in an FIA Formula 2 Championship race at Circuit Spa-Francorchamps in Belgium.

Askew’s teammate, Robert Megennis, from New York, N.Y, finished a distant third after a race-long battle with Toby Sowery (HMD Motorsports/Team Pelfrey).

VeeKay, 18, from Hoofddorp, Netherlands, set his plan in motion yesterday when he claimed pole position by a margin of just over one-tenth of a second ahead of Askew, who arrived in the Pacific Northwest with a commanding 52-points advantage after winning the most recent four races in succession.

VeeKay opted for a fresh set of Cooper tires for today’s race, and although he came under intense pressure over the course of the first few laps – and even picked up a warning from the race stewards for overly defensive driving – he soon began to stretch his advantage as the new rubber reached its optimal working temperatures and pressures. His lead stretched to over a second for the first time by the completion of his sixth lap, then continued to build from there.

Askew, 22, from Jupiter, Fla., had no answer to his young rival’s pace and duly settled into second, well clear of his pursuers.

Megennis, who started third, kept in touch with the two leaders through the opening laps before slipping back into the clutches of Sowery, from Cambridge, England, who made a good start from sixth on the grid but then lost all the ground he had made up when he slid wide onto the dirt at the exit of the Festival Curves. Undeterred, Sowery soon worked his way past, firstly, Brazilian Lucas Kohl (Belardi Auto Racing), then Canadian Dalton Kellett (Juncos Racing).

Despite Megennis already being more than three seconds to the good by that stage, Sowery gradually whittled away at the deficit. Sowery posted the fastest lap of the race, an average speed of 110.430 mph, on Lap 23, but Megennis kept his cool and his position.

VeeKay’s perfect day also included clinching the pole position for tomorrow’s 16th round of the 18-race championship – by the narrowest of margins, just 0.0001 second – over Askew. After that, just two races will remain on the season, in three weeks’ time at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca in Monterey, Calif.

Rinus VeeKay (#21 Mazda/Jumbo Supermarkets/La Place Restaurants/KNAF Talent First-Juncos Racing Dallara-AER IL-15): “We saved a new set of tires for this race, which was quite a gamble because I haven’t started on new tires in Indy Lights – not since USF2000. It was hard with Oliver using push-to-pass the first few laps but I was able to pull away and get maximum points.

“I want to dedicate this win to Anthoine Hubert. I am praying for his family. I was watching the Formula 2 race this morning; it was terrible to hear the news. Several months ago, I spent a whole day on the simulator with him so it’s tough. It’s tragic for the sport of racing.”

Oliver Askew (#28 Index Invest Dallara-Andretti Autosport Dallara-AER IL-15): “Rinus started on new tires and we knew it would be tough to get around him, so congratulations to him. The mindset going into the race was just to not let him take advantage of me and put me even further back in the field – he’ll be on used tires tomorrow so maybe we’ll have another shot at it, but we’re not pushing the issue.”

Robert Megennis (#27 Cybersecurity Dallara-Andretti Autosport Dallara-AER IL-15): “We’re super happy with third, Andretti Autosport gave me an awesome car. It was fairly uneventful until the end, when I had to hold off Toby, but he was struggling off the last corner, so I didn’t have to work too hard. But it’s great to be back on the podium and hopefully finish off the year strong. We’re figuring things out, looked at what’s gone wrong the last few weekends and we’re getting better results.”

About the track

Portland International Raceway

Portland International Raceway opened in 1961 on the former location of the city of Vanport, which was destroyed by the Memorial Day 1948 flood. The 12-turn, 1.964-mile natural road course is relatively flat but contains several spots for passing opportunities, including a quick chicane at the end of the frontstretch, a hard-braking right-hander (Turn 7) leading onto the sweeping backstretch, and a three-turn complex leading back onto the fronstretch. Al Unser Jr. won the first Indy car race in 1984. In 1997, the race set the now current all-time record for the closest two-car and closest three-car finish in Indy car racing history on a road course. Mark Blundell beat second-place Gil de Ferran by 0.027 of a second, and beat third-place Raul Boesel by 0.055 of a second, in a three-wide finish.



Social Media

Twitter: @Portland_GP

Facebook: @PortlandGP

Instagram: @portland_gp

Official Hashtag: #PortlandGP



Past track winners

Toby Sowery (R2) / 2019
Rinus VeeKay (R1) / 2019
Patricio O'Ward (R2) / 2018
Patricio O'Ward (R1) / 2018
Damien Faulkner / 2001
Jason Bright / 2000
Philipp Peter / 1999
Guy Smith / 1998
Hideki Noda / 1997
Gualter Salles / 1996
Greg Moore / 1995
Andre Ribeiro / 1994
Franck Freon / 1993
Franck Freon / 1992
Eric Bachelart / 1991
Paul Tracy / 1990
Tommy Byrne / 1989
Tommy Byrne / 1988