|Rinus VeeKay Finishes 13th in First IndyCar Race at Road America; Conor Daly’s Day Ends Early Following Contact|
|(ELKHART LAKE, Wis.) July 11, 2020 – Race 1 Notes The revised 2020 NTT INDYCAR SERIES schedule now includes three doubleheader events, the first of which began today at Road America. The REV Group Grand Prix consists of two full-length, points-paying races in less than 24 hours. This afternoon, Rinus VeeKay and Conor Daly took on the first of those events. VeeKay would finish his first NTT INDYCAR SERIES race at Road America in the 13th position while heavy contact would bring Daly’s day to an early end.|
Drivers had an hour and a half practice session this morning that would set the groups for qualifying. Unlike knockout qualifying at other road courses, qualifying for the REV Group Grand Prix would see the field split in half with both groups getting a 14-minute session. The fastest driver overall was awarded the pole position, while the rest of the drivers from that group filled out the odd-number spots. VeeKay was out to qualify in Group 1, finishing 8th; Daly finished 10th in Group 2. With pole winner Josef Newgarden coming from Group 2, VeeKay would be assigned the 16th starting position while Daly would roll off 19th.
VeeKay selected red Firestone Firehawk tires to start the 55-lap race while Daly chose blacks. Daly jumped five positions on the start to complete the first lap in the 14th position. VeeKay was caught in a group of several cars that went off-track and hit signage, but he escaped with only a piece of plastic stuck to the suspension of his No. 21 Direct Supply Chevrolet. The debris caused no damage and eventually flew off.
The teammates made their first pit stops only one lap apart, with VeeKay coming in on Lap 10 for black Firehawks and Daly in on Lap 11 for reds. They came out next to each other on track with Daly running 14th and VeeKay in 15th for the duration of their second stint. They would stop within one lap of each other again, with VeeKay pitting on Lap 24 and Daly just behind on Lap 25. Both chose sticker blacks for their third stints.
After a lengthy pit stop, VeeKay re-entered the four-mile circuit with no other cars around him. He was mired in 21st without opportunity to gain any positions. Daly cycled back into the 14th spot, which he held until the first caution flag flew on Lap 38.
The entire field stopped on Lap 39 under the yellow with Daly exiting the pit lane in 13th and VeeKay in 19th. The race restarted on Lap 41, but went back yellow on Lap 42. Unfortunately, Daly was involved. He and Pato O’Ward made contact, sending Daly hard into the Turn 7 tire barriers. His day would immediately come to an end and he would be credited with a 21st place finish. The No. 20 crew immediately began repairs to the U.S. Air Force Chevrolet to have it ready in time for tomorrow morning.
Daly’s incident brought out the full course caution, followed by another restart. Green flag conditions only lasted one lap, but VeeKay had already climbed up to 15th. On Lap 47, the race went back green for the final time. He continued to push forward, climbing to 13th in only three more laps. VeeKay held off a late-race charge from pole sitter Newgarden to maintain the position.
VeeKay’s No. 21 Chevrolet showcases the blue and white colors of longtime ECR partner Direct Supply. Headquartered in nearby Milwaukee, Direct Supply is committed to enhancing the lives of seniors and those who care for them. Since 1985, the company has helped Senior Living providers create amazing environments, improve care and outcomes, optimize building operations, streamline procurement and more.
Ed Carpenter Racing will return to Road America tomorrow for the second race of the REV Group Grand Prix doubleheader. There not be a practice session and qualifying will mimic today’s format. It will be streamed on NBC Sports Gold at 10 a.m ET with an INDYCAR Pass subscription. The second 55-lap race will be broadcast on NBC, beginning at 12 p.m. ET. The green flag is scheduled to fly at 12:42 p.m. ET.
CONOR DALY, No. 20 U.S. Air Force Chevrolet, Finished 21st: “Pato (O’Ward) got out onto the curb and he was really slow exiting. I had enough of a run to where honestly, I thought it was going to be OK, but I don’t really race with him that much. It was tough there, that’s probably on both of us a little bit. It’s really hard to go two-wide there. I had enough of a run to where you’ve got to take a chance so I can’t throw the blame on him. It’s a little bit of a shame because he was on red tires, so I think he could have lasted a little longer, and it sucks for us. That was really painful. But the U.S. Air Force guys will fix it up and hopefully we can have a better day tomorrow.”
RINUS VEEKAY, No. 21 Direct Supply Chevrolet, Finished 13th: “This was a very hectic race! I had a good start and passed some guys. In Turn 13, many guys went off and I also tried to see how the grip in the grass was. I picked up a plastic bag on my left wishbone which really slowed me down on the straights. I got it off after a few laps and then started to push the car. We went for a long run on reds and I struggled a lot with understeer. Once we got sticker blacks on, it got better. I was happy with that first yellow that really packed up the field. I could just take positions restart by restart. That went pretty well, I had some cool passes and a nice fight with Simon. In those last laps, I had to drive my butt off to keep Josef behind me, but I did it! I think P13 is a good ‘bad’ result!”