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RACE NOTES: Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg

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RACE RESULTS

10th: RINUS VEEKAY No. 21 askROI Chevrolet
21st: CHRISTIAN RASMUSSEN No. 20 GuyCare Chevrolet

NEXT RACE: $1 Million Challenge at The Thermal Club, March 24 (NBC, 12:30 p.m. ET)

CHRISTIAN RASMUSSEN, NO. 20 GUYCARE CHEVROLET

CHRISTIAN RASMUSSEN, No. 20 GuyCare Chevrolet, Finished 21st: “First NTT INDYCAR SERIES race under my belt! It was a long race, definitely one of harder ones I have done in my career I will say! With this being the first race of the season, I think it’s known as being one of the hardest for everyone. I hung in there, it was tough with the clutch issues but we just tried to do the best we could. We went a lap down but tried to maximize it, I worked hard to be the first car one lap down. Obviously not where we want to be, but considering the issues we worked through, it’s an okay result!” Courtesy INDYCAR Photo

OF NOTE: 

Christian Rasmussen made his NTT INDYCAR SERIES debut in today’s Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg. The 2023 INDY NXT Champion was selected by Ed Carpenter Racing to drive the No. 20 GuyCare Chevrolet on the road and street course events in 2024, beginning with this weekend’s season-opening race through the downtown streets of St. Petersburg, Fla.

The rookie made sizable gains in each session, continuing through this morning’s warm-up. Rasmussen had qualified 21st, but had to take the green flag from the last position. A clutch issue discovered on the starting grid necessitated the car being taken back to the pit box, dropping him to the rear of the field. However, by the second lap, he had already made up three spots. 

 • With the help of the No. 20 crew, Rasmussen was able to manage the issue during his two pit stops. However, he received a drive-through penalty for a pit lane speed violation and a full-course caution flew one lap after another his final stop. The combination would result in him being trapped one lap behind the field. Committed to learning as much as possible in his first race, he used the opportunity to fight to the front of his lap and would ultimately take the checkered flag in the 21st position.

RINUS VEEKAY, NO. 21 ASKROI.COM CHEVROLET

RINUS VEEKAY, No. 21 askROI.COM Chevrolet, Finished 10th: “I am pretty happy with today’s race, but it is a bit unfortunate to finish lower than where to started! We fought hard out there and I think I drove a smart race. I am pretty happy with everything, with my car and the performance. Unfortunately we couldn’t really hang on with the green Firestone Firehawks and had quite a bit of drop off at the end. We have some work to do, but we got a Top 10 to start the season! It was tough to get Top 10s last year and now we’ve started 2024 with one! A good start to the year, I am proud of my guys. Ready to go win a million dollars at The Thermal Club in a few weeks!” Courtesy INDYCAR Photo

OF NOTE: 

Rinus VeeKay began his fifth season of NTT INDYCAR SERIES competition with a Top 10 finish in today’s Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg. VeeKay has spent his entire NTT INDYCAR SERIES career behind the wheel of the No. 21 Chevrolet for Ed Carpenter Racing and remains the team’s longest-tenured full-time driver. 

• In the two practices leading up to qualifying, VeeKay set the 5th- and 6th-fastest laps. He missed advancing to the Firestone Fast 6 by a mere 0.012 of a second in yesterday’s qualifications. He lined up 7th on the starting grid, a position he held the entirety of his first stint. Following his first pit stop, he moved back up to 7th within five green flag laps.

• He completed his second stint on alternate green Firestone Firehawks. Near the end of the stint, he experienced heavy degradation and dropped back several positions. He raced his way back into the Top 10 following a switch back to black Firehawks and earned a 10th-place result.

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April 21, 2024 • 3 p.m. ET

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