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RACE PREVIEW: WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca

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FRIDAY, JUNE 21 – SUNDAY, JUNE 23, 2024

RACE: Firestone Grand Prix of Monterey
TRACK: WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca
LOCATION: Monterey, California, USA
TRACK LAYOUT: 11-turn, 2.238-mile natural road course
RACE LENGTH: 95 laps/212.61 miles

PRACTICE: Friday – 2-3:15 p.m. PT (Peacock)
Saturday – 10-11 a.m. PT (Peacock)
Sunday – 12-12:30 p.m. PT (Peacock)
QUALIFYING: Saturday – 2:15-3:45 p.m. PT (Peacock)
RACE: Sunday – 3:30 p.m. PT (3 p.m. PT, USA Network)

CHRISTIAN RASMUSSEN, NO. 20 GUYCARE CHEVROLET

CHRISTIAN RASMUSSEN, No. 20 GuyCare Chevrolet: I love racing at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca! I have great memories there, the latest being locking up the INDY NXT championship by winning by over 15 seconds last year. I am looking forward to experiencing the track it in an NTT INDYCAR SERIES car!  Courtesy INDYCAR Photo

OF NOTE: 

Last September at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca, Christian Rasmussen secured his third championship in four years. He finished second in Race 1 of the INDY NXT doubleheader, ensuring that all he had to do was start Race 2 in order to clinch the championship. Instead, he won the pole position, led every lap and earned his fifth victory of the year with a nearly 18-second lead. He joined ECR on the heels of his 2023 INDY NXT championship. 

• Rasmussen continues to impress in his debut NTT INDYCAR SERIES season. Less than one month ago, he drove from 24th to 12th in the Indianapolis 500 and was the highest finishing rookie in the field. On the tight Detroit street circuit, he turned in his best qualifying effort of the season and narrowly missed out on advancing to the second round of qualifications; on the four-mile Road America road course, he had worked his way into the Top 10 in only six laps. Rasmussen was on track for strong finishes in each before facing unfortunate circumstances in both events. 

• Rasmussen was only nine years old when he claimed his first karting championship in Denmark. He arrived in the United States in 2018 and began his road to INDYCAR the following year. He is only the second driver in history earn a championship in each open-wheel junior category that currently feeds the NTT INDYCAR SERIES – USF2000 (2020), USF Pro 2000 (2021) and INDY NXT (2023). 

RINUS VEEKAY, NO. 21 CHEVROLET

RINUS VEEKAY, No. 21 Chevrolet: It was great to have a weekend off, but I am very excited to get back to racing! We had a good car at Laguna Seca last year, we should have the same fast car again this year. Hopefully we get into a different rhythm and better results for the second half of the season!” Courtesy INDYCAR Photo

OF NOTE: 

Rinus VeeKay has three previous NTT INDYCAR SERIES starts at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca. Last year, he turned Top 10 lap times in both practice sessions and started 6th. His strong start did not last long as he was struck by another competitor in Turn 2 of the opening lap and fell two laps behind the field. Undeterred, he managed to salvage an 18th place result. 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. 

• VeeKay’s last few events have included much adversity, but he has shown patience and perseverance of a veteran driver. Last month, VeeKay and the No. 21 crew rebounded from a crash in Indianapolis 500 qualifying to earn the 7th starting position. One week later, he raced his way through the entire field after a penalty dropped him to the back. He led eight laps and finished 9th, recording another Top 10 finish in the Indy 500. VeeKay was battling for 5th when he was spun by another competitor in the streets of Detroit and was solidly inside the Top 10 in Road America before a mechanical failure. 

• 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. Now in his fifth season in the NTT INDYCAR SERIES, VeeKay has stepped into a veteran role as ECR’s senior full-time driver. He has spent his entire career behind the wheel of the No. 21 Chevrolet and is the longest tenured full-time driver in the team’s history. 

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