Strong performance Veekay gets him third top six finish of July 2022
Rinus ‘VeeKay’ van Kalmthout has once again performed well in the NTT IndyCar Series, the 21-year old Dutchman driving to an excellent sixth in the Gallagher Grand Prix on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway’ Road Course, having dropped back at the start through no fault of his own.
The Indianapolis Motor Speedway seems to work like a magnet for Rinus VeeKay, the young Dutch Ed Carpenter Racing driver taking like a duck to water on the legendary Brickyard. Earlier, he proved that with front-row starts in the famous Indianapolis 500 (2021, 2022), but also with pole position for the Harvest Grand Prix (2020) and victory in the GMR Grand Prix (2021).
In the qualifying session for the Gallagher Grand Prix, the 13th IndyCar race of the year and the second on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway’s Road Course, VeeKay, again at the wheel of the #21 Bitcoin Racing Team with BitNile Chevrolet, easily held his own at the top of the timesheets. After qualifying for the Fast Twelve with a strong lap, VeeKay had to settle for eighth on the grid after a very competitive session.
Considering VeeKay scored his first IndyCar victory at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway’s Road Course in the spring of 2021, starting from P7 on the fourth row of the grid, the Fort Lauderdale resident felt particularly comfortable prior to the race. However, hopes of a strong finish were seemingly dashed on the opening lap as with Pato O'Ward spinning and Will Power having to brake for the Mexican, VeeKay had no choice but to hit the brakes as well in order to avoid damage to his car. As other rivals slipped through the net, the Dutchman dropped back from eighth to 16th through no fault of his own.
A smart race with some great overtakes matched with the right strategy brought VeeKay back in contention, as halfway through the 85-lap race the Dutch ECR driver found himself back up in tenth before going on to pass two more rivals in two smooth moves shortly after the restart. Three perfectly driven stints delivered him a fine sixth at the finish, VeeKay concluding a very strong July in which he managed to score three top-six finishes: fourth at Mid-Ohio, fourth in Iowa and sixth at Indy.
“Everything we had in our control we did well”, VeeKay said from the United States. “My start was super, but in turn two there was someone backwards. I couldn’t move and had to brake to avoid damaging my car. You can’t afford to take a wrong turn at a time like that, you have to keep your head. Several rivals were able to overtake me, so there was nothing left for me to do but to play catch-up.”
“That went top notch. Ed Carpenter Racing executed a great strategy for today, with me being happy with my own contribution. The three Penske cars that finished ahead of me were just a little too fast, so I am happy with sixth place. It was only afterwards that I realised a direct yellow for Pagenaud would probably have given me the lead, but I can’t control those kinds of things. Despite the fact that I had two moments of bad luck today, I finished well up in the top ten after a good race. That makes me happy!”
“I have now collected 282 points, which almost puts me in the top ten – the guy in tenth only has a few points. I see it as a challenge to attack that top ten in the last races of this season. We have a good flow going and I like the street track in Nashville where we race next week. I am aiming for another good result at that track”, a determined VeeKay concluded.
The 2022 NTT IndyCar Series continues with the Big Machine Music City Grand Prix at the Nashville Street Circuit, in downtown Nashville, Tennessee. The 14th race of the season will kick off next Sunday, August 7, around 9:30 p.m. Dutch time.