Rinus VeeKay chased by bad luck as IndyCar seasons resumes
Rinus 'VeeKay' van Kalmthout failed to finish the Nashville Grand Prix as the NTT IndyCar Series resumed after its summer break. The 20-year old Dutchman fought his way up from the back of the field but fell victim of a multi-car pile-up.
After a five-week break, VeeKay and his NTT IndyCar Series rivals were back on track for the 11th round of the season at the Nashville street circuit in Tennessee. The tight street circuit left no room for mistakes and VeeKay experienced this first hand as the Rookie of The Year in the 2020 IndyCar season hit the wall during a fast qualifying lap and was forced to settle for a disappointing 22nd on the grid.
VeeKay still showed his usual fighting spirit throughout the opening stages of the Big Machine Music City Grand Prix, the driver of the #21 SONAX Chevrolet quickly fighting his way up to 15th place. A fresh top-ten finish seemed a real possibility until a multi-car pile-up threw a spanner in the works. After a restart the field bunched up, with several drivers hitting each other and VeeKay getting caught up in the melée through no fault of his own. To make matters worse, the Dutchman was hit hard on the back of his car.
The race was subsequently redflagged to clear the debris on the track, with the Ed Carpenter Racing team given permission to carry out the necessary repairs. The mechanics set to work diligently, allowing VeeKay able to return to the track after a few laps. However, the diffuser of his red-and-black car was damaged so badly that VeeKay's car was virtually out of control, resulting in the Fort Lauderdale, Florida, resident hitting the wall and forcing him to retire.
“Today was a tough day”, said VeeKay, looking back on the Nashville encounter. “I did note that we were on the pace, the first stint actually went pretty well. On the opening lap I was able to overtake a number of my rivals, and after the first restart I passed a few more. Winning was out of the question here, but a good top-ten result was certainly on the cards today.”
“Of course I am disappointed about the result but I know it’s out of our hands. Ed Carpenter Racing has worked very hard again this weekend and we saw on Sunday that the pace is there. Now we must focus on the next race at a very special circuit for me. Of course I will do my best to repeat the May 15 result.”
The 12th race of the 2021 IndyCar season will be held this Saturday, August 14, as the Big Machine Spiked Coolers Grand Prix is scheduled to take place on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway’s Road Course where VeeKay scored his first NTT IndyCar Series victory three months ago. The race starts at 6.30pm Dutch time.