Fighting VeeKay nets ninth place in Indianapolis 500

Fighting VeeKay nets ninth place in Indianapolis 500


Rinus 'VeeKay' van Kalmthout has finished his fifth Indianapolis 500 race in ninth place. The 23-year-old Dutchman had to fight from start to finish, but was able to hold his own in the leading group.



The fifth race of the 2024 NTT IndyCar Series is the most important of the year – the 500-mile race at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway on an oval that suits VeeKay particularly well. After a thrilling qualifying weekend, VeeKay, driver of the #21 Chevrolet, started the legendary race from seventh on the grid, on the inside of the third row.


In the past, his team Ed Carpenter Racing has always been a guarantee for a fast car on the Indianapolis oval, but this year Penske and McLaren dominated. Seventh on the grid was the best VeeKay could hope for after bouncing back from a crash in qualifying. For the race, his target was a top-ten finish, although he obviously had hopes for more. After all, Indianapolis chooses its own winners and in a crazy race the favourite does not necessarily take the spoils.


In the early stages of the 200-lap race delayed by up to four hours due to rain, VeeKay was able to keep up with the leaders. The Dutchman easily maintained his seventh position, only to lose places after a slightly slower first pit stop. At the second service, VeeKay made contact with a rival, costing him a penalty from the stewards – the Dutchman was moved back to the back of the field. As a result, the former IndyCar winner and his team opted for an alternative strategy.



The move paid off. VeeKay drove a rock-solid final stint and quickly moved to the front of the field, eventually crossing the line in a fine ninth place. The 108th running of the Indianapolis 500 was won by Penske driver Josef Newgarden for his second consecutive Indy 500 victory. VeeKay’s ninth place was his third top-ten finish in five starts at the world famous race.


“I set myself the goal of getting the most out of the race and I did just that,” said VeeKay from Indianapolis. “While I was in the slipstream of the faster cars, they pulled away from me, so as a result, I couldn’t make any more moves towards the front in the closing stages. Every driver comes here to win, but I can live with this ninth place.”


“The first two pit stops weren’t perfect, but after that things went really well,” the ECR driver continued. “We overtook quite a few of our rivals thanks to our strategy. I thought the penalty that followed on the tap in the pit lane was a bit excessive. In fact, the driver who got the tap was hardly bothered. But to be fair, the penalty did not affect the final result, as I would not have won the race even without it.”



“I’m a bit jealous of winner Josef Newgarden, but I know that I drove a strong race myself. After all, it took Josef 12 years to win and he’s doing it again this year. So I can go on for a while! If I can continue with the attitude I had during this edition of the Indy 500, I am convinced that this race will come to me one day.”


There is no need for the NTT IndyCar Series drivers to rest on their laurels, as the action continues next week with the sixth race of the year, the Chevrolet Detroit Grand Prix. This race will start next Sunday, June 2, at 18:30 Dutch time and can be followed live via Ziggo Sport Racing.