Birthday boy VeeKay treats himself to mature comeback race

Birthday boy VeeKay treats himself to mature comeback race

Rinus ‘VeeKay’ van Kalmthout has finished the 2022 NTT IndyCar Series in 12th in the final standings. On his 22nd birthday, VeeKay drove a fine comeback race in the Firestone Grand Prix of Monterey.


Ed Carpenter Racing and the WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca haven’t been a great match in the recent past, and added to that, the team was unable to take part in the IndyCar test a fortnight ago, as their maximum number of test days had been reached. With that in mind, the team travelled to the legendary California circuit for the final round of the IndyCar season. Prepared to face a challenging weekend, VeeKay driving of the #21 Bitcoin Racing Team with BitNile Chevrolet managed to give it a positive turn for Ed Carpenter Racing on Saturday by qualifying in 14th.



Whereas normally VeeKay is unsatisfied with a qualifying position outside the top twelve, he showed optimism on Saturday afternoon, as his employer Ed Carpenter Racing had struggled for years on Laguna Seca’s unforgiving stretch of tarmac. A midfield starting position offered enough prospects for the race.


In that race, however, a 95-lap bash, VeeKay immediately suffered a setback. After a good start, the now 22-year-old Dutchman was hit by his rival Devlin Defrancesco who without any hesitation pushed his fellow competitor into the gravel. VeeKay was forced to rejoin at the back of the field and from that moment on knew that a comeback race would be his job for the day.



The Dutchman, not unfamiliar with overtaking several of his rivals, immediately demonstrated his fighting spirit after the Defrancesco incident, as the Ed Carpenter Racing driver quickly worked his way up from 25th position intoto the top twenty. Just before the first pit stop he was already rubbing shoulders with the top ten.


Using an alternative strategy, in which VeeKay switched to the soft tyre for the fourth stint – a similar compound to the one on which he started, allowing the talented twentysomething to reel off the remainder of the race on the hard tyre – the 2020 season’s Rookie of the Year fought his way through four pit stops to a final 14th place. The Monterey race was won by outgoing champion Alex Palou, with IndyCar veteran Will Power claiming the title.


VeeKay finished 12th in the championship, the Dutchman having scored 331 points after 17 races, 23 more points than in the previous season. Highlights of the year include pole position and podium finish in Alabama, the front row start for the Indianapolis 500 and the third-fastest qualifying lap ever in the 106-year history of the same legendary track and, of course, the countless overtaking moves, with the outside move on the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course on multiple champions Josef Newgarden and Scott Dixon particularly sticking out.



“It was a tough, long race,” VeeKay told from California. “But I'm satisfied. The first lap was a bummer, but after that I fought back well. The tyres didn’t last as long as we had hoped, but nevertheless I was able to pass eleven cars.”


“At the start of the race I lined up for the outside of the first real corner, because in practice there was quite a lot of grip there. Besides: if everyone tries to get to the inside, there is usually a traffic jam. My approach didn’t quite work, because during the race there appeared to be less grip, so I lost a few places. In the sixth corner, I was pushed hard by one of my rivals and ended up in the gravel trap. As a result, I lost a lot of ground.”


“There’s nothing you can do but fight your way to the front, and that’s exactly what I told myself. After the first stint I was back into the midfield, which was reason for optimism. After the restart I managed to grab a few more rivals. In the penultimate lap I made an attack on 13th but was pushed onto the grass. All in all, I finish this season with a good feeling – I'm  already looking forward to the next season of the NTT IndyCar Series!”


The 2022 NTT IndyCar Series has come to an end, so Rinus ‘VeeKay’ van Kalmthout may enjoy a holiday period during which he will visit the Netherlands. Interested media are requested to contact René Oudman (+31651214052) to schedule their interview appointments.