RACE NOTES: Firestone Grand Prix of Monterey
10th: RYAN HUNTER-REAY No. 20 BITNILE.COM Chevrolet
18th: RINUS VEEKAY No. 21 BITNILE.COM Chevrolet
NEXT RACE: 2024 Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg
RYAN HUNTER-REAY, NO. 20 BITNILE.COM CHEVROLET
RYAN HUNTER-REAY, No. 20 BITNILE.COM Chevrolet, Finished 10th:“It was a good day for the No. 20 BITNILE.COM Chevrolet team. Mission accomplished is what we see here at the end. It’s always tough when you are trying to points race while also being aggressive and competitive. We tried to balance those two in what was a pretty chaotic race. It was difficult at times to think about points but also wanting to move forward. All in all, we ran in the Top 3, finished in the Top 10 and secured a position in Leaders Circle. Mission accomplished!”
• Despite making solid gains throughout each session, Ryan Hunter-Reay had to start today’s season finale at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca from the 25th position. During his qualifying run, 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.
• When multiple cars made contact and went off-track on the opening lap, Hunter-Reay made it through unscathed. By the restart on Lap 6, he was scored in 14th, up 11 positions from his start. He picked up two more positions before the next yellow flag flew just a few laps later, moving him into 12th.
• Hunter-Reay stayed in the Top 10 for the middle portion of the race, cycling as high as 4th. On Lap 67 restart, he passed two more cars to move into 2nd. Hunter-Reay made his final pit stop four laps later, relinquishing the 2nd position. He rejoined the field in 12th, but made up two spots in the closing laps to earn his first Top 10 finish with Ed Carpenter Racing.
RINUS VEEKAY, NO. 21 BITNILE.COM CHEVROLET
RINUS VEEKAY, No. 21 BITNILE.COM Chevrolet, Finished 18th: “I stayed out of the initial chaos in Turn 2, but then got hit by (Scott) Dixon. They gave him a drive-through penalty, which then helped him get on the right strategy. How lucky can he be and how unlucky can I be? It took three minutes to get my car restarted which was very frustrating. I felt like I was trying to create a tornado with my hand, signaling the safety team over! But from there my race was pretty much over, I just had to concentrate on staying out of all of the mess. It was a good day for the team, good day for Ryan (Hunter-Reay) and good to get both cars in Leaders Circle. Unfortunately, just not a great finish for the No. 21 BITNILE.COM Chevrolet, we should have had a shot at winning. Now we will wait a few months and try again!”
• After turning Top 10 lap times in five consecutive practice sessions, Rinus VeeKay earned his highest road course starting position of the year for today’s season finale. He qualified 8th for the Firestone Grand Prix of Monterey, but started from 6th as two cars ahead of him had to serve grid penalties.
• Multiple cars made contact in Turn 2 on the opening lap, but VeeKay made it through without incident. However, once he had cleared the scene, the No. 9 car ran directly into the side of the No. 21. VeeKay was sent off-track and stalled, losing a lap to the leaders while he was waiting to be re-fired. Damage to the car included left front suspension and cosmetic issues with the bodywork, which the crew quickly repaired when the pits opened. VeeKay rejoined the race in the 24th position, two laps down to the field.
• From Lap 2 onward, VeeKay did everything he could to salvage a solid result. The race was mired with seven more cautions and VeeKay managed to avoid any further issues. As other competitors ran into trouble, VeeKay continued to pick up positions. By the checkered flag, he was up to 18th.
WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca
September 10, 2023
2:30 p.m. ET