QUALIFYING NOTES: Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg
24th: RINUS VEEKAY 01:00.4831 (107.137 mph)
26th: CONOR DALY 01:00.6066 (106.919 mph)
TRACK: Streets of St. Petersburg
LOCATION: St. Petersburg, Florida, USA
TRACK LAYOUT: 1.8-mile, 14-turn street circuit
RACE LENGTH: 100 laps/180 miles
BROADCAST: Sunday – 12 p.m. ET (NBC)
CONOR DALY, NO. 20 BITNILE.COM CHEVROLET
CONOR DALY, No. 20 BitNile Chevrolet, Qualified 26th: “Our car feels better than what he has last year, we just didn’t quite have the pace necessary. It’s a shame to have both of the BITNILE.COM cars starting in the back, but there’s a lot that can happen tomorrow. I am still very excited for the race and we will do our best to move forward!”
• Conor Daly and the No. 20 BITNILE.COM crew worked hard to improve the car throughout both practice sessions leading up to this afternoon’s qualifications. He elected to start his qualifying run on a set of Firestone’s new alternate green sidewall Firehawks, switching to a second set after three laps. His fastest lap of 1:00.6066 had him 13th in Round 1, Group 2 and he would not advance. He will start tomorrow’s Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg from the 26th position.
• Daly is back with ECR for a fourth season and his second as full-time driver of the No. 20 BITNILE.COM Chevrolet. In 2023, he will reach a career milestone as he makes his 100th NTT INDYCAR SERIES start early in the season and will compete in his 10th Indianapolis 500.
• Daly has competed in the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg five times, leading the race for 16 laps during his first event in 2016. In 2022, Daly qualified 20th and finished 21st. Despite the challenges last year’s event presented, he was able to set the fastest lap of the race.
RINUS VEEKAY, NO. 21 BITNILE.COM CHEVROLET
RINUS VEEKAY, No. 21 BITNILE.COM Chevrolet, Qualified 24th: “That was a tough one. I am pretty annoyed and angry. We had a fast car, good enough for Fast 6 definitely. I was on my fast lap and then there were a bunch of cars standing still in Turn 10. Got hindered there and that was that. We have a fast car. If anything, this makes our strategy decisions easier for tomorrow. We have some different options in front of us and we’ll give it our all. Last year, we had a tough race and still finished 6th. With the pace we have, I think we’re better than last year. We can definitely move up fast and finish well!”
• Rinus VeeKay was one of the fastest drivers in the two practice sessions preceding qualifying. In yesterday afternoon’s Practice 1, he was 6th quick; this morning in Practice 2, he set the 3rd fastest lap. Spirits were high heading into qualifying and VeeKay was assigned to the second group to take to the circuit. On what would have been his fast lap on the new green Firestone Firehawks, he was slowed by another competitor. He was unable make up any additional time and had to settle for the 24th position on tomorrow’s starting grid.
• Rinus VeeKay remains ECR’s longest-tenured full-time driver, now entering his fourth season behind the wheel the No. 21 BITNILE.COM Chevrolet. The 22-year-old has spent his entire NTT INDYCAR SERIES career with ECR and will make his 50th start early in the 2023 season at Barber Motorsports Park.
• Of his three starts in the streets of St. Petersburg, the 2022 edition proved to be the most fruitful for VeeKay to date. He started 4th following his first career Firestone Fast 6 appearance. After leading 13 laps, he brought home a 6th-place finish.
Tags BITNILE.COMChevroletConor DalyFirestone Grand Prix of St. PetersburgNTT IndyCar SeriesRinus VeeKayStreets of St. Petersburg
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