Askew cleared to return to his seat in St. Pete

Oliver Askew missed out on the last race weekend of the NTT INDYCAR Series season in Indianapolis. That’s because he was likely concussed in a crash on Aug. 23 on the same track — albeit the oval not the road course.

Askew, crashed hard near the midway point of this past years 104th Running of the Indianapolis 500. He passed all exams and was checked and cleared from the infield care center.

But, as the days went on, he didn’t feel like himself. He suppressed it and still raced his No. 7 Chevrolet. It’s not uncommon for race car drivers to hide injuries in fear of allowing someone else to take their seat.

Unfortunately, it ended up still costing Askew his seat.

While under the weather with these concussion like symptoms, he was 14th and 17th in the World Wide Technology Raceway doubleheader and 19th and 15th at Mid-Ohio. He then sought a consult to why he wasn’t feeling 100% and was told to remain out of the car until he did.

I wrote then that it wasn’t anyone’s fault for missing this. He didn’t exhibit any symptoms and passed all the protocols after his Indy crash. But, sometimes concussions have a delayed reaction. Askew, in fear of not wanting to get out of his seat, stayed in it. With results slipping, it was time to find out why.

Helio Castroneves subbed for him at Indy, then it was revealed that he lost his ride for 2021. Now, Askew has since been cleared by doctors to return and he will be back in his seat for one more go this weekend in St. Pete.

“I appreciate all the support Arrow McLaren SP has given me through this difficult time,” Askew said. “I would like to thank Dr. Billows and the INDYCAR Medical Team, as well as Dr. Collins and the UPMC Sports Medicine Concussion Program, for their advice and care, which allowed me to take the time I needed to fully recover and prepare for the NTT INDYCAR Series finale. I’m looking forward to a strong finish to the season.”

Sam Schmidt issued a statement of his own.

“We appreciate the difficulties that athletes may have recognizing symptoms of concussion-like injuries and seeking the appropriate treatment,” said Schmidt. “We are glad Oliver was able to receive the appropriate medical guidance and collaborate with INDYCAR series physicians to gain clearance and compete for Arrow McLaren SP this weekend.”

This now is an audition for Askew for next season.

Just look at Askew’s stats before his injury. He finished ninth in his INDYCAR debut at Texas. A race with one short practice session. He scored dual top 10s in Iowa. He was leading the rookie of the year standings at that time.

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