VICTORY FOR RINUS VEEKAY AT THE INDIANAPOLIS MOTOR SPEEDWAY
20-Year-Old Wins First NTT INDYCAR SERIES Race on the IMS Road Course
(INDIANAPOLIS) May 14, 2021 – Rinus VeeKay is now a winner at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, claiming the victory in today’s GMR Grand Prix. The 20-year-old earned his first career NTT INDYCAR SERIES win on the IMS road course by almost a five-second margin. The Dutch driver became the sixth-youngest winner in INDYCAR history in only his 19th start. His victory is the first for Ed Carpenter Racing at IMS and the team’s first since the summer of 2016.
VeeKay was fast all weekend, finishing 3rd, 2nd and 1st in the three practice sessions before the race. However, he was slightly disappointed following yesterday’s qualifications where he only earned the 7th staring position for his No. 21 SONAX Chevrolet. VeeKay started the GMR Grand Prix on Firestone’s black Firehawk tires, allowing him to complete the race on the alternate red tires. He used the extra grip from his second set of reds to pass pole sitter Romain Grosjean on Lap 44, which would prove to be the decisive move of the race. VeeKay paced the field for 33 laps, taking the lead for good on Lap 65 of 85.
“I knew we had the car; we were so fast. I’m so happy for the ECR team, so thankful. I couldn’t have done it without them. A perfect day. It’s amazing!” exclaimed VeeKay. “Getting my first podium here last year and now winning, it’s a dream.”
Now home to his first victory, the Indianapolis Motor Speedway was already the location of several of VeeKay’s career milestones. In just his second NTT INDYCAR SERIES start last July, VeeKay earned his first Top 5 finish in the GMR Grand Prix. When he returned to IMS in August, he recorded the best qualifying result by a teenager in Indianapolis 500 history (4th) and was the fastest rookie in the field. In October, he won his first NTT INDYCAR SERIES pole position, led the first laps of his Indy car career and earned his first podium finish on the IMS road course.
ECR owner Ed Carpenter is thrilled for his young driver and his team. “We’ve seen this win coming for a while with the way he’s driven over the last year and the start of this season,” stated Carpenter. “The team was great with strategy, but hats off to Rinus for doing everything he needed to do today. He didn’t put a wheel wrong and stayed cool under pressure when he got out front. It’s always nice to get that first win and I’m guessing he will see more of them before too long. Very happy – happy me!”
The race was caution-free after an opening lap incident that involved teammate Conor Daly. Daly’s No. 20 MannKind Chevrolet was damaged and pulled behind the Turn 7 wall. The crew quickly made repairs and Daly rejoined the race, taking the checkered flag in the 25th position.
Attention will now turn to the 105th Running of the Indianapolis 500. Three-time pole winner Carpenter will temporarily hand over his ownership responsibilities and focus on driving the No. 20 SONAX Chevrolet. As Carpenter steps into the No. 20, Daly will shift to the No. 47 U.S. Air Force Chevrolet. VeeKay’s car will switch to a brand-new orange and black Bitcoin scheme, which will be seen for the first time when IMS opens for “500” practice on Tuesday, May 18.
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