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QUALIFYING NOTES: Firestone Grand Prix of Monterey

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STARTING POSITIONS

7th: RINUS VEEKAY No. 21 BITNILE.COM
25th: RYAN HUNTER-REAY No. 20 BITNILE.COM

RACEFirestone Grand Prix of Monterey
TRACKWeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca
LOCATION: Monterey, California, USA
TRACK LAYOUT: 11-turn, 2.238-mile natural road course
RACE LENGTH95 laps/212.61 miles

BROADCASTSunday – 12:30 p.m. PT (NBC, 11:30 a.m. PT)

RYAN HUNTER-REAY, NO. 20 BITNILE.COM CHEVROLET

RYAN HUNTER-REAY, No. 20 BITNILE.COM Chevrolet, Starting 25th: “We made some good gains yesterday, but I haven’t been able to find the grip and feeling I need from the No. 20 BITNILE.COM Chevrolet yet. Unfortunately in qualifying, I just dropped the right rear into a little bit of sand and it turned around and stalled. We’ll start near the back, but hopefully go have a good race and move forward.”

OF NOTE:

Beginning with Thursday’s test day at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca, Ryan Hunter-Reay made solid gains throughout each session. During his qualifying run this afternoon, the No. 20 BITNILE.COM Chevrolet spun coming out of Turn 11. As his spin caused a red flag, he was penalized by losing his two fastest laps and not being allowed to advance. Hunter-Reay will start 25th in tomorrow’s season finale. 

• Hunter-Reay’s history at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca dates back to 2003 and 2004, when he competed in Champ Car World Series races at the road course. In 2019, the NTT INDYCAR SERIES returned to Laguna Seca and Hunter-Reay was not only in the field, but advanced to the second round of qualifying and earned a Top 10 finish. He also competed in the 2021 event, where he narrowly missed out on another Top 10. 

• Hunter-Reay joined Ed Carpenter Racing as driver of the No. 20 BITNILE.COM Chevrolet prior to the Road America race weekend in June. Throughout the duration of the season, he has utilized his wealth of experience from an INDYCAR career that spans two decades to help the team improve in all aspects. The Fort Lauderdale, Fla.-based driver is an NTT INDYCAR SERIES Champion (2012) with 18 career wins, including a victory in the 2014 Indianapolis 500. 

RINUS VEEKAY, NO. 21 BITNILE.COM CHEVROLET


RINUS VEEKAY, No. 21 BITNILE.COM Chevrolet, Qualified 7th: “I would have been more satisfied with a Fast 6 experience! We have had really good pace in practice so I would have loved to have done a little bit better. I just couldn’t get it 100% right. Starting 7th is decent and I think we are one of the fastest cars out there, especially on old tires. I am confident that we can do well in the race and move up some positions!”

OF NOTE: 

Prior to this afternoon’s qualifications at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca, Rinus VeeKay had the second-fastest lap in Practice 2. It was the fifth practice session in a row that he had turned a Top 10 lap time. After advancing to the second round of qualifying, he sat 8th on the timing chart. As a competitor that qualified in front of him has a grid penalty, VeeKay will start 7th in tomorrow’s Firestone Grand Prix of Monterey. It is his best non-oval starting position of the 2023 season.

• VeeKay has two previous NTT INDYCAR SERIES starts at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca. In 2022, VeeKay narrowly missed advancing to the second round of qualifying and started 14th. At the conclusion of the first lap, he found himself back in 25th but remained undeterred. He charged back forward and made up eight positions in only 10 laps. Prior to joining the NTT INDYCAR SERIES, VeeKay competed in the 2019 Indy Lights doubleheader (now INDY NXT) at the road course and won both races. 

• Born in Hoofddorp, Netherlands, Rinus van Kalmthout began karting in 2009 at the age of 8. With sights set firmly on the NTT INDYCAR SERIES, he transitioned to the Road to Indy in 2017 and launched his U.S. career driving as Rinus VeeKay. He is now ECR’s longest-tenured full-time driver, concluding his in his fourth season behind the wheel the No. 21 Chevrolet. Last weekend at Portland International Raceway, VeeKay had his best finish of the 2023 season with a 6th place. He will celebrate his 23rd birthday this coming Monday, September 11.

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