Rinus ‘VeeKay’ van Kalmthout is currently stringing together the flawless performance of the NTT INDYCAR SERIES. The 22-year-old Dutchman, who plays for Ed Carpenter Racing, also got his wheel right at Exhibition Place in Toronto, Canada. Unfortunately, the unlucky devil does not leave him alone.
Text and photos: PR
After a promising performance at Road America and an educational weekend in Ohio, VeeKay, driver of the #21 BitNile Chevrolet, was able to ride outside the United States for the only time this year. The tenth company of the IndyCar 2023 season was on the program at the northern neighbor. For the second time in his IndyCar career, VeeKay was cleared to make an appearance on the extremely bumpy Toronto street circuit.
The young Dutchman immediately handed over a gigantic business card during the qualifying sessions on Saturday afternoon (local time). Under varying circumstances, the talented 20-something battled his way to a stunning second fastest time in the first qualifying group, earning him promotion to the hotly contested Fast Twelve session. There, the Chevrolet VeeKay rider had to let the dominant Honda riders take the lead. Nevertheless, employer Ed Carpenter Racing was very happy with a starting place in the front six rows.
After all, the Indianapolis team is not having the easiest year of its existence. Where he was able to assist his drivers several times in previous years, including VeeKay in the last three seasons, in the hunt for podiums and even victories, this year he must work hard to consolidate a place in the midfield. The addition of veteran Ryan Hunter-Reay, a former Indianapolis 500 winner and IndyCar Series champion, gave VeeKay a leg up. After all, Hunter-Reay brings decades of setup knowledge and provides nearly identical feedback to teammate VeeKay.
From twelve on the grid, VeeKay had the chance to get involved again in the battle for the top ten, and after a long first stint on hard tires, the Dutchman looked set for a place in the top eight. Thanks to an alternate strategy and several neutralizations, VeeKay had fought his way to a fine third place, from where he saw opportunities to score quite a few points.
A thirteenth place finish was ultimately the end result VeeKay had to settle for. Because the air cylinder failed at the second pit stop, the ECR driver lost precious seconds and therefore places. On new tyres, VeeKay closed the gap to the opponents like a rocket, but it was no longer possible to attack the top ten due to the gap being too big. Thanks to his thirteenth place, VeeKay has made a place for himself in the intermediate classification.
“We were on our way to a good result,” said Canada’s VeeKay. “It was a good race, despite the fact that we have a difficult and difficult season. We have not been able to fight for the top eight very often in 2023, so we were very happy with the speed displayed. Also in terms of Strategy We were on the right track: it turned out that it was a good choice to start on hard tyres.”
“It went badly at the second pit stop. I entered the pit lane and the mechanics were sharp with their wheel wrenches. However, it was the car that played against it. The pneumatic cylinder is not not entered correctly and therefore the car does not have the mechanics of course a difficult history to change the tires We lost more than ten seconds in this pit stop and it is very unfortunate, because there was much more to do Sunday in Toronto.
“It’s very disappointing when a good result slips away from you in this way, but luckily I don’t have to think about it for too long. After all, I’ll have already done two IndyCar races in a week. We’re going into the Iowa, a circuit that normally suits me well. I’m looking forward to it and I look forward to continuing this upward trend with a good result at the Speedway there,” concludes VeeKay combatively.
The 2023 NTT INDYCAR SERIES circus continues at Iowa Speedway. Two games are scheduled for next weekend. The Hy-Vee Homefront 250 will be set in motion on Saturday evening around 9:30 p.m. Dutch time, a day later the Hy-Vee One Step 250 will start an hour earlier. Both races will be broadcast live on Ziggo Sport.
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