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Saturday, June 19, 2021

VeeKay “grateful” for Street To Indy and recommendation from Luyendyk

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The Ed Carpenter Racing-Chevrolet driver led 33 of the race’s 85 laps, carving by way of from seventh on the grid to beat polesitter and early race pace-setter Romain Grosjean and dominate the ultimate stint.

VeeKay’s triumph means he’s the primary driver because the Street To Indy was formalised in 2010 to win in all three junior classes – USF2000, Indy Professional 2000 [née Pro Mazda] and Indy Lights – after which win on the prime stage.

In 2017, VeeKay scored three wins and 9 different podiums on his method to second in USF2000, driving for Pabst Racing.

The next season in Professional Mazda, he delivered the championship to Juncos Racing with seven wins and three podiums, whereas for Indy Lights in 2019 he remained with Juncos and scored six wins and 7 different podiums to complete runner-up.

Race winner Rinus VeeKay, Ed Carpenter Racing Chevrolet

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Picture by: Barry Cantrell / Motorsport Images

VeeKay has additionally been persistently sturdy on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway’s 2.439-mile highway course, taking podiums there in all three Street To Indy classes – together with a win in Indy Lights. Then in his rookie IndyCar season with Carpenter’s crew final yr which ultimately resulted within the Rookie of the 12 months title, he scored his first top-five end on Indy Street course in July, whereas in October’s double-header there, the Harvest Grand Prix, he took his first pole and first podium.

“It is wonderful,” mentioned the 20-year-old Dutchman. “After all my first-ever take a look at in USF2000 in that new automobile was right here. That was the Chris Griffis [Memorial] take a look at in 2016. So yeah, simply wonderful to have a lot expertise on this observe and undergo all of the ladder programs and win races and know tips on how to race right here… I am very grateful for what the Street to Indy has completed to me.”

He later expanded on the purpose, stating: “It is positively distinctive that there is a scholarship system. It actually prepares you. You are at all times driving earlier than IndyCar in the identical weekends, and also you see the IndyCars going and you may see the races in actual life however you may also race on the tracks you are going to race in an IndyCar.

“I’ve completed many passes, many laps on this observe earlier than in all kinds of vehicles, and it positively ready me. I knew every thing that might occur in each nook, each situation, simply due to the Street To Indy. So very grateful that I had the chance to do this and achieve success within the Street to Indy, and yeah, present that for those who can win in Street to Indy, you’ll be able to win an IndyCar race.”

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VeeKay additionally acknowledged the assistance he acquired from fellow Dutchman Arie Luyendyk, who now works as a steward in IndyCar Race Management. Luyendyk, now 67, scored seven wins, together with two Indy 500 triumphs, and 5 poles – three of which got here within the 500.

“Arie has been round for a really very long time,” mentioned VeeKay. “I really met him on the Indy 500 in 2016, right here in Indianapolis on the Union Jack’s Pub in a meet-and-greet!

“It is nice to have Arie right here, and yeah, he has given me quite a lot of suggestions but additionally excellent steering about watching out for any rule modifications. Him being an official or steward, he provides me good suggestions and lots of reminders that basically assist me out. Yeah, simply little suggestions and quite a lot of good environment he provides to me so I can win the race.”

His victory, only a day earlier than the fifth anniversary of Max Verstappen’s first Method 1 win, would imply loads to his compatriots, mentioned VeeKay.

“I might already see many VeeKay followers right here,” he mentioned, “however I believe that is positively an enormous step ahead. I sort of proved myself as we speak, so I believe Dutch persons are at all times very happy with their countrymen, and yeah, I believe that is the very best factor I might do as we speak to get the Dutch military greater than ever.

“After all I sort of needed to present that I might win. That was sort of a strain. However now that I’ve completed it, I believe I wish to proceed doing it! Dutch followers love Dutch success, so I believe due to this, extra followers are going to observe me.

“I’ve confirmed that I can win, and yeah, I can do it extra usually. Very completely satisfied and really completely satisfied that so many Dutch persons are following me already.”

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