VeeKay thrilled by “one of the best races I’ve ever driven”

Ed Carpenter Racing rookie Rinus VeeKay was left exhilarated after a strong weekend in IndyCar’s Bommarito 500 at World Wide Technology Raceway in which he scored sixth and fourth places.

VeeKay thrilled by “one of the best races I’ve ever driven”
 

VeeKay, who leads the rookie standings, climbed from 14th to sixth in Saturday’s Race 1, at a track in which he had won in Pro Mazda (now known as Indy Pro 2000) in 2018 on his way to the title, and finished second in Indy Lights last year on his way to runner-up in the championship.

Afterward he was confident enough to declare, “We were on our way to the podium, I think, but a yellow kind of screwed me. I kept my chin up and had a great car to make passes with.

“The No. 21 SONAX Chevrolet was great in the second lane when there were no marbles. It did get a little sketchy on the last run; I almost lost it a few times.”

But it was in Sunday’s race where he truly excelled, despite starting 18th, and he passed six cars on the opening two green-flag laps. Again, his ECR strategist Brent Harvey and race engineer Matt Barnes chose to pull him in early – working backward from when each pit window opened – and the tactics paid off.

After the first round of stops, VeeKay ran behind only Pato O’Ward and Will Power and ahead of Josef Newgarden, while Newgarden crew got the reigning champion out ahead of VeeKay for the third stint.

The late-stopping Andretti Harding Steinbrenner Autosport car of Colton Herta also led him in the final stint, but VeeKay charged after him and on Lap 164 of the 200-lap race, he passed him around the outside at Turn 1 to claim fourth. Slight contact was made, and Herta was annoyed as his lost momentum also allowed Scott Dixon past, but Race Control saw no reason to penalize the flying Dutchman.

When the lapped Marco Andretti chopped in front of Power, there was a chance that VeeKay might feasibly have wrested third place away from the 2014 champion, but Takuma Sato’s smack against the wall on Lap 197 meant the race ended under caution.

“It was a great race, one of the best races I have ever driven!” said VeeKay. “Yesterday, I started 14th and finished 6th so today, starting 18th, I was aiming for a Top 10 finish. I had an amazing first lap, got around a lot of guys. The strategy was brilliant, so shout out to my team for making this possible!

“Those last few laps were very tough, everyone was all over the place. Just missed out on the podium but that's okay, P4 was the best I could do!”

Team boss Ed Carpenter, who is also VeeKay’s teammate on oval tracks, suffered a desultory weekend, having been heavily damaged in the Race 1 startline collision, and feeling his car was still suffering the after-effects of the shunt in Race 2. With no more oval races on the 2020 schedule, this was Carpenter’s final entry as a driver until 2021.

“This was a really disappointing end to a very tough year,” said the three-time Indy 500 pole-winner whose most recent podium finish came here at World Wide Technology Raceway last year. “It was really only a couple of months since our first race was in June!

“It started off well there, but it has been a lot of bad luck since then. Today was just another tough day. The car wasn’t the same after we were hit at the start yesterday.

“There are still a few races left in 2020, so we'll focus on Rinus and Conor [Daly, his roadcourse sub in car #20] and finish out the season strong as a team.”

shares
comments
Newgarden insists IndyCar title hopes aren't dead yet

Previous article

Newgarden insists IndyCar title hopes aren't dead yet

Next article

Kanaan seeking another oval-only season in 2021

Kanaan seeking another oval-only season in 2021
Load comments

About this article

Series IndyCar
Event Gateway
Drivers Rinus van Kalmthout , Rinus VeeKay
Teams Ed Carpenter Racing
Author David Malsher-Lopez
Why IndyCar is satisfying Grosjean’s appetite for his second life Prime

Why IndyCar is satisfying Grosjean’s appetite for his second life

After spending the majority of his 179-race Formula 1 career in middling to tail-end machinery, Romain Grosjean finds himself once again with an underdog team in IndyCar. While not without its challenges, he's relishing the more level playing field that means his Dale Coyne Racing crew can expect to claim a few scalps...

IndyCar
May 14, 2021
Why IndyCar's new aero parts should improve racing at Indy Prime

Why IndyCar's new aero parts should improve racing at Indy

Tino Belli, IndyCar’s director of aerodynamic development, believes the changes to the underside of the cars will allow them to run closer at Indy and make passes. The moment of truth comes on its biggest stage, writes David Malsher-Lopez.

IndyCar
May 10, 2021
Colton Herta – America's next racing hero Prime

Colton Herta – America's next racing hero

Last Sunday, Colton Herta demolished his IndyCar opposition in the second round of the season. David Malsher-Lopez explains why Andretti Autosport’s youngest ace bears all the hallmarks of becoming the country’s next homegrown motorsport hero.

IndyCar
Apr 29, 2021
How good is Palou and is he Dixon’s strongest title rival? Prime

How good is Palou and is he Dixon’s strongest title rival?

Last Sunday, Alex Palou delivered his first IndyCar victory on his Chip Ganassi Racing debut. Is the young Spaniard going to become his legendary teammate Scott Dixon’s biggest title threat? David Malsher-Lopez reports.

IndyCar
Apr 21, 2021
Preview: Why IndyCar in 2021 is too close to call Prime

Preview: Why IndyCar in 2021 is too close to call

The fight for supremacy in the NTT IndyCar Series will be as intense as ever. David Malsher-Lopez is your guide to the main contenders and six intriguing sub-plots.

IndyCar
Apr 15, 2021
Is Arrow McLaren SP ready for IndyCar’s title fight? Prime

Is Arrow McLaren SP ready for IndyCar’s title fight?

With Patricio O'Ward and Felix Rosenqvist leading its line-up, 2021 could be the year Arrow McLaren SP-Chevrolet joins the IndyCar elite, writes David Malsher-Lopez.

IndyCar
Feb 21, 2021
Dale Coyne picks the Top 10 drivers in his giant-slaying team Prime

Dale Coyne picks the Top 10 drivers in his giant-slaying team

Over 37 seasons, Dale Coyne has run no fewer than 80 Indy car drivers – including himself! Ahead of his first season running Romain Grosjean, we asked Coyne to pick the best 10 drivers ever to compete for him. By David Malsher-Lopez.

IndyCar
Feb 10, 2021
Why enigmatic Marco Andretti will be missed Prime

Why enigmatic Marco Andretti will be missed

Last Friday, Marco Andretti announced he is withdrawing from fulltime IndyCar racing. David Malsher-Lopez explains how this third-gen racer was a puzzle in the car, but a straight shooter off-track.

IndyCar
Jan 19, 2021