Victory and vice championship title for Rinus VeeKay in USF2000 at Watkins Glenn
KNAF Talent First car racing talent Rinus VeeKay was in a class of his own in the 14th and final race of the 2017 Cooper Tires USF2000 series at Watkins Glen. The 16-year-old driver from Hoofddorp in the Netherlands started from second position to take the lead in the first corner and to claim the victory by a commanding 9.6 seconds. VeeKay also claimed the title of vice champion, as Oliver Askew finished second, enough for the American driver to secure the 2017 USF2000 championship title. “This was all I could do and I knew I didn’t have the outcome of the championship in my own hands,” said VeeKay, realistically.
The 14th and final round of the Cooper Tires USF2000 series at the famed Watkins Glen International road course had to decide the season long duel between KNAF Talent First car racing talent Rinus VeeKay and Oliver Askew. The 16-year-old driver from Hoofddorp in the Netherlands was 13 points short of leader Askew, and although VeeKay knew he didn’t have the outcome of the championship in his own hands, there still was a chance to claim the title. The Pabst Racing driver was fastest in the first practice at Watkins Glen and almost claimed the pole position in qualifying as well. But in the last few minutes of qualifying, Askew was a bit quicker and secured the pole position for the race, with VeeKay in second position. “We used one set of tires during qualifying, so I couldn’t improve my time in the final laps,” said VeeKay.
At the start of the race VeeKay immediately made loud and clear that there was only one driver who would claim the victory at Watkins Glen. The Pabst Racing driver had a good start and with a great overtaking manoeuvre on the outside line into turn one VeeKay took the lead, drove away from the rest of the field and extended his lead to claim the victory by a commanding 9.60 seconds. During his impressive string of fast laps VeeKay reset the track record and was half a second quicker than the number two’s best lap. But still, it was not enough to claim the title. Askew couldn’t follow the impressive KTF-driver, but his second position was enough to secure the 2017 Cooper Tires USF2000 title. Only seven points short of the 20-year old American driver, VeeKay was crowned vice champion. The 16-year single-seater talent from Hoofddorp can look back at a great season with 12 podiums out of 14 races with three wins.
“Being so close to win the championship, it doesn’t feel good to finish second. But I knew I didn’t have the outcome of the championship in my own hands. I couldn’t have done any better today and showed my speed and that I can win races. It was a great season and there is nothing to complain about,” said a happy and realistic VeeKay.
This season, Rinus VeeKay is supported by Jumbo Supermarkets, Total, Quick sports and leisure wear and the Dutch KNAF Talent First program.