Fuel Saving Race Limits Opportunities for Rinus VeeKay and Conor Daly at IMS
(INDIANAPOLIS) October 3, 2020 – Race 2 Notes
A different distance for the second race of the INDYCAR Harvest GP presented by GMR created an entirely different set of circumstances for Ed Carpenter Racing’s Rinus VeeKay and Conor Daly. After VeeKay earned his first podium finish in yesterday’s 85-lap Race 1 and Daly was able to drive up through the field, the 75-lap Race 2 was a battle of fuel savings. This afternoon, VeeKay finished 17th at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway while Daly was 20th.

Qualifying for Race 2 was held this morning. The field was split into two groups with VeeKay’s group out first. The Race 1 pole sitter was on pace for another strong qualifying performance when he dropped a wheel off for a split second, costing him his quick lap time. Next out was Daly, who struggled to get speed out of the car throughout his session. When the field was set, VeeKay was in the 14th starting position and Daly would roll off 23rd.

The shorter distance of Race 2 meant a day of fuel saving for the ECR drivers in order to complete the race in only two pit stops. As VeeKay had used three sets of red Firestone Firehawks in Race 1, he had to do two stints of Race 2 on blacks, including the start. One car on red tires was able to get around VeeKay in the opening laps and he settled into the 15th position. Meanwhile, Daly was the victim of a brief electrical issue on the second lap. Though it quickly resolved itself, Daly fell back to 25th and was the last car running.

Just like he had to do yesterday after being driven off-track in the first lap, Daly was forced charge through the field. Despite also starting the race on black Firehawks, he was up to 19th by his first pit stop on Lap 24. Once the No. 20 U.S. Air Force Chevrolet was back out on sticker red tires, Daly really began to march forward. In just 10 more laps, he was up 14th. VeeKay made his first pit stop one lap after Daly’s. He cycled out in 17th, where the 20-year-old rookie would stay for the entirety of his second stint.

Daly received a set of scuffed reds on his final pit stop on Lap 49. They did not perform as well as his previous sticker set and he was unable to hold off the charge from a few competitors. More were able to get by as Daly was blocked by a lapped car, causing him slip back to his finishing position of 20th.

VeeKay was awarded his only set of red tires on his final stint. On Lap 50, the No. 21 SONAX/Autogeek Chevrolet received scuffed reds. Though he finally had the preferred tires, he was still tasked with saving fuel and was unable to attack. The only position VeeKay gained following his last pit stop was Daly and VeeKay finished 17th.

Only one race remains on the 2020 NTT INDYCAR SERIES calendar. Originally scheduled to be the season-opening event, the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg will now be the season finale. Earlier this week, plans were approved to operate the event with 20,000 spectators under specific health and safety protocols. Daly and VeeKay’s final race of the year will take place on Sunday, October 25, 2020.
CONOR DALY, No. 20 U.S. Air Force Chevrolet, Finished 20th: “As made a move into Turn 1 on Lap 2, we had a glitch and lost the throttle for a couple of seconds. I had to fall back to last, but honestly from then on, we had really good pace. Our second stint on new reds was great, we got up to 14th from dead last. We were making great progress but couldn’t maintain the speed on the last set of used reds. The 41 car blocked us pretty aggressively and was not very sportsmanlike, which was a shame. We just had to hang on to the finish.”
RINUS VEEKAY, No. 21 SONAX/Autogeek Chevrolet, Finished 17th: “Way different race than yesterday! I wish there had been some kind of yellow so we could have done something! Two stints on blacks, that was tough. We were not quick on the blacks yesterday and that did not change for today. The last stint on reds was pretty okay, we just had some unfortunate things happen today. I wasn’t completely happy with the handling of the car, but we didn’t get the set up quite right – it happens! Everyone gave 100%, including me, and that just wasn’t enough today. Let’s head to St. Pete and send it!”