VeeKay completes incredible comeback run in Indy 500 qualifying

VeeKay completes incredible comeback run in Indy 500 qualifying


When all seemed lost, Rinus ‘VeeKay’ van Kalmthout accomplished the impossible at Indianapolis Motor Speedway when the 23-year-old Dutchman still qualified for the ‘Fast Twelve’ session ahead of the famous Indianapolis 500.



With a dull thud, VeeKay’s first qualifying attempt ground to a halt at around 17:15 Dutch time. It was unclear what had happened – a gust of wind or perhaps an overly aggressive wing position – but in any case VeeKay was running out of time, he had suffered a lot of damage and his knee was in pain. In the previous four years he had always qualified in the top four for the most important race of the NTT IndyCar Series, but this time the rapid youngster seemed to be down and out. With a field so strong, and with competitors blitzing the opposition with stunning four-lap averages, it was questionable whether the Dutchman would be able to get back on track at all.



In a seven-hour qualifying session, with 34 aspiring competitors fighting for 33 slots on the starting grid, and with the first 12 advancing to the Fast Twelve, the top six eventually fighting over pole position and numbers 31 to 34 battling to survive on Sunday, Ed Carpenter Racing’s mechanics managed to repair VeeKay’s damaged car in time.


And then, at ten to midnight Dutch time, VeeKay completed the fairytale story, as the Dutchman squeezed everything out of his #21 Chevrolet to jump to a safe 11th place thanks to an average of 232.419 miles per hour (374.042 kilometres per hour). The ECR garage was turned upside down, as mechanics flew into each other’s arms while VeeKay’s proud family celebrated with their acclaimed driver.



VeeKay was the only Ed Carpenter Racing driver to qualify for the follow-up sessions. With 17th for Ed Carpenter and 24th for Christian Rasmussen, the other two sides of the ECR garage can prepare for next weekend’s bonanza. For qualifying specialist Carpenter, who has managed to be in the top 12 on the grid for the Indianapolis 500 no fewer than 12 times (including three times on pole), this proved to be the second consecutive year in which he failed to reach the Fast Twelve.


VeeKay will fight for a spot among the top six on Sunday night (Dutch time) from 21:00 and will do so with (in order of their pace) Will Power, Scott McLaughlin, Josef Newgarden, Alexander Rossi, Kyle Kirkwood, Kyle Larson, Felix Rosenqvist, Santino Ferrucci, Takuma Sato and Ryan Hunter-Reay.



The defining sessions of Indy 500 qualifying (Fast Twelve, Last Chance Qualifying and Fast Six) can be seen live via Ziggo Sport Racing.