VeeKay takes strong fourth after exciting duels at Iowa
Rinus ‘VeeKay’ van Kalmthout has finished the first of two races at Iowa Speedway in a strong fourth place, as the 21-year old Dutchman was able to maintain his position at the front to crowned a fine race with his fifth top-ten finish of the season.
Rinus VeeKay and his NTT IndyCar Series rivals were set to return to the 0.875-mile short oval this year after the Iowa Speedway, dubbed The Fastest Short Track on The Planet, was skipped for the 2021 IndyCar season. As the track would host a doubleheader, two flying laps on Saturday morning qualified for both races at Iowa Speedway simultaneously.
VeeKay, who had a good qualifying run, set an eighth time for the first race – the Hy-VeeDeals.com 250 presented by DoorDash – before continuing with ninth for the second race of the weekend – the Hy-Vee Salute to Farmers 300 presented by Google. That was reason for optimism with VeeKay and his employer, Ed Carpenter Racing.
Despite four caution periods, Saturday afternoon’s Iowa 250 proved to be a fast one. The 250 race laps were completed within seven quarters of an hour. During those 250 laps, VeeKay easily maintained his position at the front of the field, the driver of the #21 Bitcoin Racing Team with BitNile Chevrolet consistently finding himself in the top ten and, as usual, keeping his rivals busy, as VeeKay once again showed his fighting spirit by not shying away from any duel.
By taking fourth, VeeKay recorded his fifth top-ten finish in eleven races, not a bad ratio in the highly competitive NTT IndyCar Series. With this top-ten finish, the 21-year old Dutchman continued the strong trend of the month of July to score a considerable amount of points for the championship, in which he now holds twelfth place with 243 points, with a good opportunity of attacking the top ten.
“It was a really good race, I enjoyed it”, said VeeKay from the United States. “I came very close to the podium, but I am satisfied. It was not easy today! Especially the second line was treacherous. After a good qualifying run I was allowed to start from the fourth row of the grid and I had some nice battles throughout the race. I am very happy with this fourth place. From the first practice session, in which I set the fastest time no-tow, I had the feeling that a good finish would be possible.”
“In the final stages, it was important to make the tyres work as long as possible. We made our last pit stop during the fourth caution and actually everyone was a few laps short of making it work. During the stint, it was important to keep the tyres in one piece and I managed to do that, allowing me to overtake a couple of rivals at the end.”
“Now we need to take this feeling with us to tomorrow (Sunday), for the start of the second race at this circuit. I will again start from eighth place due to someone else’s penalty and want to try and do a bit better tomorrow. If everything goes according to plan, I am sure we can fight for the podium. For today I am very satisfied with my own performance and of course the hard work by Ed Carpenter Racing. We proved once again that we can compete with the strongest in the field.”
The Hy-Vee Salute to Farmers 300 presented by Google will start Sunday night (Dutch time) around 9:20pm. There are 300 scheduled laps. The race can be followed live on one of the Ziggo Sport channels.