Electronics issue ruins race Rinus VeeKay race at Gateway
After Rinus ‘VeeKay’ van Kalmthout excelled with three top-six finishes in the month of July, the 21-year-old Dutchman was unfortunate to retire due to an electronics issue in the 15th round of the 2022 NTT IndyCar Series.
Approaching the race weekend at Gateway’s World Wide Technology Raceway in Madison, Illinois, Ed Carpenter Racing, the team VeeKay drives the #21 Bitcoin Racing Team with BitNile Chevrolet for, had hopes of a better result than in the 2021 IndyCar season – when Gateway proved to be a headache. Despite that, the ECR drivers were forced to settle for lowly grid positions for the 2022 Bommarito Automotive Group 500.
VeeKay set a 23rd time in qualifying on Friday afternoon, and as a result, the one-time IndyCar race winner started from row 12 in Saturday night’s race. When the green flag waved, VeeKay showed his fighting spirit, as the young Dutchman tried to make one of his trademark demon starts by taking a run at his predecessor, but approached so fast that he had to swerve and briefly touched the pit wall.
The race at Gateway was one to forget. VeeKay’s dashboard failed after only ten of the planned 260 laps, making it impossible for the talented twentysomething to get any vital information. After a first pit stop, VeeKay was unable to activate the speed limiter due to his lack of information, and the team opted to bring their pupil back in to examine the car.
The steering wheel was changed, and the battery disconnected and replaced, but to no avail. The electrical issues that had plagued VeeKay in his first stint eventually put an end to his chances on the St. Louis short oval. After 52 laps, VeeKay could do nothing but retire and focus on the next race.
“After ten laps, my steering wheel ‘froze’,” VeeKay reported from the United States. “I couldn’t see or hear anything. In addition, the weight jacker, which we use to adjust our car, also broke down. I literally had to drive by feel and did that for more than forty laps. To make matters worse, the electronics issue had an effect on the speed limiter and I entered the pitlane too fast. All in all, a weekend to quickly forget.”
“It’s just a bummer. This hasn’t happened to the team before. I know we wouldn’t have won the race today under normal conditions, but I would have liked to have fought for positions. Every place gained is one.”
“At the start I suspected I could get a run on Jimmie Johnson who started in front of me, something Felix Rosenqvist also tried on the other part of the track. It worked for him, as he was driving on the clean part of the track, but I had to swerve because I suffered from wheelspin and lost traction. I touched the wall, but that had no effect on the handling of my car.”
“There are two more races to go in this IndyCar season, we will travel to the west coast soon. Last year we struggled in Portland and at Laguna Seca, but we’ve found something during the season that allows us to do a lot better. We’ll just go for the best result again”, VeeKay concluded.
The Grand Prix of Portland, the penultimate event of the 2022 NTT INDYCAR Series, is scheduled for Sunday, September 4. The start of the race will be around 21:15hrs Dutch time.