Breakthrough Weekend for Rinus VeeKay in Indianapolis
During the penultimate weekend of the 2020 NTT INDYCAR Series, Rookie Rinus VeeKay had a breakthrough performance at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. The 20-year old amazed INDYCAR fans worldwide by grabbing Pole Position for race 1 of the Harvest GP doubleheader weekend, before going on to snatch a career first podium.
Having built momentum throughout the course of the season with Ed Carpenter Racing thus far, VeeKay was immediately off to a great start at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course. During a cold Thursday evening qualifying session, the Dutchman made the most of challenging track conditions to score his first Pole Position in the NTT INDYCAR Series, stunning the competition along the way.
At the start of the first race on Friday afternoon, VeeKay would engage in a thrilling battle with series sophomore Colton Herta. A daring move on Herta saw VeeKay grab the lead in assertive fashion, pulling out an impressive lead over the following laps. The Jumbo-sponsored driver would lead 15 laps until the first round of pit stops. With different tire selection to the cars immediately around him, VeeKay dropped slightly from third to fifth over the course of his following two stints.
VeeKay was not to be deterred, however, and his determination was very apparent during the final stint when the talented youngster rocketed into the top-3 with four laps to go. After 85 laps of hard racing, VeeKay crossed the line in third place, securing a first podium finish of his young INDYCAR career, along with the fastest lap of the race.
"Well, pretty good weekend so far," said an enthused VeeKay. "First pole yesterday, first podium today. It definitely wasn't easy, but I'm very happy with a podium finish. I struggled on the primary tires, but had a great last 15 laps on the alternate tires. I wish I could have done a little bit better, but a podium is a podium. Tomorrow is another day, we will have one less set of reds, but it's 10 laps shorter of a race. Tonight, I'm happy."
Saturday would see a more challenging endeavor for VeeKay, who qualified 14th during the early morning qualifying session. With only a few hours between qualifying and the second race of the weekend, there was limited time for Ed Carpenter Racing to address any set up changes required ahead of the race.
Although the second race of the weekend didn't pan out the same way as the first race, VeeKay still put on a display of maturity by keeping his car out of trouble. In a race 10 laps shorter than Friday's contest, the opportunity to go off-strategy didn't exist and as such, made the race much more difficult to move forward. Ultimately, VeeKay had to settle for 17th at the line.
Following the breakthrough weekend, the SONAX, Autogeek, Jumbo, La Place, KNAF TeamNL and Basic-Fit supported driver has a comfortable advantage in the INDYCAR Rookie Of The Year Championship, with opportunity to clinch in style during the final race in St. Petersburg, Florida on October 25th.