Rinus VeeKay is a rising star in the NTT IndyCar Series. Driving for Ed Carpenter Racing (ECR), VeeKay got his first victory in May of 2021 at the Indianapolis road course. Less than a month later, his season was interrupted by a cycling accident that broke his collarbone and caused him to miss one race. We spoke with him at the 2022 Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach to get an update on his condition, his stunning win last year, and how he’s looking forward to the Indy 500 with one of the best teams at Indy. Enjoy!
NOTE: VeeKay started 15th at Long Beach after not advancing from Round One of qualifying by less than a quarter second. After the first race re-start, he had slight contact in the Turn 11 hairpin. In addition to getting hit from behind on lap 60, he was just trying to get into some kind of a rhythm to move up. After a late race caution, his ECR team put a set of Firestone “Reds” on his car and he moved up three positions in four laps to finish 13th.
By Larry Mason
Copyright © 2022 Larry Mason
After waving to the fans, Rinus VeeKay makes his way down the stairs to get into his car just prior to the start of the 2022 Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach.
Early into the Grand Prix, VeeKay rockets down Shoreline Drive at about 170mph here looking to move up from his 15th place starting position. Notice his bright red helmet (in the side view mirror) is pointed to where his eyes are looking way ahead.
It was a bumpy ride for VeeKay and his fellow competitors in the concrete jungle of the Long Beach street circuit as you can see that his right rear tire is off the ground entering Turn 5. He hasn’t even arrived at the berm curbing yet!
Less than a second later, VeeKay uses the berm curbing in Turn 5 to extract the maximum speed out of his car to try to move up in the overall results. It’s quite clear to see the nose cone is dangling loose with only its Zylon SWEMS (Suspension Wheel/Wing Energy Management System) safety tether keeping it from falling off. You can also see some slight damage to the left front corner of his front wing too.
VeeKay’s crew fit his car with the alternate Firestone “Red” tires to help him gain three positions in four laps late in the race.
Interview and photos Copyright © by Larry Mason