VeeKay Also Highest Finishing Rookie; Ed Carpenter Eliminated by Lap 1 Contact for the Second Race in a Row
(MADISON, Ill.) August 29, 2020 – Race 1 Notes
- When a caution flag flew midway through today’s Bommarito 500, Rinus VeeKay was trapped one lap behind the field. The 19-year-old used a combination of strategy and skillful driving to not only finish on the lead lap, but earn his best oval finish of the year. His 6th place was also the highest result by a rookie in today’s race. For the second week in a row, Ed Carpenter was caught in a Lap 1 incident not of his own making and essentially eliminated from contention. ECR’s team owner was credited with a 20th place finish.
- Qualifying at World Wide Technology Raceway utilized a unique format which mimicked that from Iowa Speedway last month. While qualifying still consisted of two timed laps, the first lap after the green flag set the field for this afternoon’s Race 1 and the second lap – following the white flag – determined the field for Sunday’s Race 2. Lap 1 for VeeKay placed him 14th on today’s starting grid and Carpenter rolled off 17th.
- In last Sunday’s Indianapolis 500, Carpenter was pushed up into the wall in between Turn 1 and 2 on the opening lap. The ensuing repairs cost him 12 laps and left him with a 26th place finish. Before he even reached the start/finish line on Lap 1 today, he was caught in a multi-car incident. Coming to the green flag, Oliver Askew struck the back of Simon Pagenaud, spinning Pagenaud into Alexander Rossi. Carpenter had almost cleared all the cars when Zach Veach struck Marco Andretti. Andretti’s car hit the rear of Carpenter’s No. 20, severely damaging the suspension. Carpenter was able to drive the car around the 1.25-mile oval and the crew immediately got to work on repairs.
- VeeKay started on the outside of Pagenaud in the 14th position. When cars checked up on the start, VeeKay swung wide to the outside and avoided all contact. For the following restart, he picked up two more spots; by Lap 15, he was up to 9th. He was the first Top 10 car to pit, bringing the No. 21 SONAX/Autogeek Chevrolet in on Lap 49. The strategy call cycled him up to the 6th position. He was poised to cycle into 3rd following his second pit stop on Lap 97, but a Lap 108 yellow flag flew for moisture trapped him one lap behind the field.
- After lengthy repairs to the No. 20 U.S. Air Force Chevrolet, Carpenter briefly rejoined the race. As there is no additional track time before Race 2, the laps were invaluable. Once it was confirmed the car could race tomorrow, Carpenter brought it back in for the day so the team could complete bodywork repairs. He finished 20th, having only completed three laps of today’s 200-lap event.
- During the caution, VeeKay stayed out as the leaders made pit stops and was placed back on the lead lap. By not pitting with the other cars that received a wave around, he moved from 14th to 11th. Two laps after the Lap 121 restart, he was up to 8th. Because he did not stop under the caution, he was early to pit again. His final stop came on Lap 149, dropping him to 15th and one lap down once again. However, the race stayed green this time. When the race leader stopped Lap 175, VeeKay was solidly in the 6th position. He was able to hold the spot throughout the closing laps, recording his best oval finish of his rookie season.
- Carpenter and VeeKay will race again tomorrow as the Bommarito 500 is a doubleheader event. Sunday’s race will also feature 200 laps, beginning at the same time. NBC Sports Network will have live coverage from WWT Raceway starting at 3 p.m. ET (2 p.m. local).
ED CARPENTER, No. 20 U.S. Air Force Chevrolet, Finished 20th: “I am pretty bummed out. Second race in a row that I’ve been representing one of the Forces, the U.S. Air Force this weekend. I was basically out of the race before it started, also for the second race in a row. Zach Veach is the current theme right now. He obviously didn’t see the yellow flag or the bright yellow car spinning on the track.”
RINUS VEEKAY, No. 21 SONAX/Autogeek Chevrolet, Finished 6th: “Stellar race! We were on our way to the podium I think, but that yellow kind of screwed me. I kept my chin up and had a great car to make passes with! The No. 21 SONAX Chevrolet was great in the second lane when there were no marbles. I’ve learned luck really isn’t our thing, but we did the best we could with the circumstances. It did get a little sketchy on the last run, I almost lost it a few times! It was 200 laps of experience today and some good points. I’m very happy and I am looking forward to tomorrow!”