VeeKay to start from seventh in Indianapolis 500

VeeKay to start from seventh in Indianapolis 500

Rinus ‘VeeKay’ van Kalmthout will start from seventh on the grid in Sunday’s Indianapolis 500. The 23-year-old Dutchman made a strong impression during the Fast Twelve session and battled his way up to the third row of the grid with an average speed of 232.610mph.



For a moment, the fifth round of the 2024 NTT IndyCar Series, the most important race of the year, threatened to leave VeeKay sitting on the sidelines. During the first qualifying session for the famous Indianapolis 500, which will be held for the 108th time next weekend, the Dutchman’s car was slung hard into the wall. Miraculously, following a repair and thanks to four phenomenal qualifying laps, the Ed Carpenter Racing driver managed to qualify on Saturday afternoon (local time).



In fact, VeeKay was so fast that he was allowed to return on Sunday for the Fast Twelve session, the continuation of qualifying in which the top starting positions are decided. Saturday's 11th time allowed VeeKay to start second, only to find himself in a solid seventh slot on the starting grid more than half an hour later. During Sunday's session, the driver of the #21 Chevrolet was able to hold off four rivals who had been quicker on Saturday.


Following a fourth, two thirds and a second place on the grid, this celebrated seventh is VeeKay’s worst qualifying result in five appearances in The Greatest Spectacle in Racing. However, it should not be forgotten that Ed Carpenter Racing has had a difficult 12 months and the balance of power in oval racing has changed considerably since the previous meeting at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.


The Penske team, for example, has three cars on the front row and McLaren has one more iron in the fire with oval specialist and former NASCAR champion Kyle Larson. The qualifying results of VeeKay’s ECR team-mates Ed Carpenter (17th) and Christian Rasmussen (24th) further point to this shift in the balance of power, allowing VeeKay to be particularly pleased with his own qualifying performance.


“This is Indy,” an elated VeeKay said from the legendary Indianapolis Motor Speedway. “One moment your back is against the wall, the next you’re able to breathe a sigh of relief. I'm very happy with seventh, I can confidently say that I made the most of it.”



“After their phenomenal work on Saturday, I owe my mechanics a beer every day for the next week,” the Dutchman joked, whose his green and black car was rebuilt in no time after the accident on Saturday morning (local time). “As the spare car was not dialled in as much as my own, we were keen to get everything fixed so that we could get back on track with the car we were used to. I am proud of the whole team that it worked out. On Sunday we were able to take another step forward and P7 is a great result.”


“From the third row of the grid we can definitely fight for top positions, although I have to admit that the Penske cars look like they’re from another planet, that’s how fast they are. Fortunately, the Indianapolis 500 is a long and tough race, so you can never really predict the final result. I will do everything I can to go home with the trophy and the milk. I’m looking forward to it,” VeeKay concluded.



The 108th running of the Indianapolis 500 presented by Gainbridge kicks off next Sunday, May 26, at 6:30 p.m. Dutch time. The race will be shown live on Ziggo Sport and Ziggo Sport Racing with commentary by René Hoogterp.