Conor Daly and Rinus VeeKay Take on Chevrolet Detroit Grand Prix Doubleheader With Races on Saturday and Sunday
NDIANAPOLIS (June 9, 2021) – Race Preview
The NTT INDYCAR SERIES will head north to Belle Isle in Detroit, Michigan this weekend for the second of two doubleheaders this season. Once at the island park in the Detroit River, Ed Carpenter Racing will compete in two races in two days, the Chevrolet Detroit Grand Prix. After racing the No. 47 in the Indianapolis 500, Conor Daly will resume his duties as road and street course driver of the No. 20 U.S. Air Force Chevrolet. Rinus VeeKay will take on the challenging street circuit for the first time in his career.
As the 2020 Chevrolet Detroit Grand Prix presented by Lear was cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the 2021 event will be VeeKay’s first NTT INDYCAR SERIES event at the 2.35-mile, 13-turn temporary street circuit. Daly competed in he doubleheader in 2015, 2016 and 2017. He led in 2015 and 2016 with the first of the 2016 races awarding Daly his highest NTT INDYCAR SERIES finish to date, a second place.
Less than two weeks ago, Ed Carpenter Racing competed in it’s 10th Indianapolis 500. Team owner Ed Carpenter stepped into the No. 20, joining VeeKay and Daly on track. Carpenter qualified 4th, his sixth Top 10 start at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway since starting his own team. A stall of his engine on his first pit stop dropped from 4th to 28th. Carpenter’s 18 years of experience, combined with smart strategy and quick work by the No. 20 crew in the pits, helped him rejoin the fight at the front with a quarter of the race remaining. His 5th place result was one of the 40-year-old’s strongest Indy 500 finishes.
Driving the No. 47 as Carpenter drove the No. 20, Daly was consistently one of the fastest cars during the Month of May as he turned Top 5 lap times in five of six practice sessions. On Lap 50 of 200, Daly took the lead of the Indianapolis 500 for the first time in his career. He would go on to lead 40 laps, the most of all drivers. A rogue tire damaged his U.S. Air Force Chevrolet on Lap 116, but he was able to complete the race and take the checkered flag in the 13th position. In the race prior to the Indy 500, the GMR Grand Prix on the IMS road course, Daly made his first career Firestone Fast 6 appearance.
The Indianapolis 500 led to another milestone in VeeKay’s career as he became the youngest front row qualifier in “500” history. The 20-year-old earned the 3rd starting spot, placing an ECR car on the front row for the 7th time in nine years. He took the lead for the first time on Lap 2 and went on to pace the field for 32 laps before finishing 8th. VeeKay earned his first career victory just one month ago, winning the GMR Grand Prix. His sophomore season is off to a strong start, having scored five Top 10 finishes in six races. Those results have come on each type of track the NTT INDYCAR SERIES competes on, being a road course, a street course and an oval.
Daly’s return to the No. 20 coincides with the return of the B-2 Spirit car. The design of Daly’s 2021 road and street course car celebrates the U.S. Air Force’s B-2 Spirit stealth bomber. A dramatic leap forward in technology, the bomber represents a major milestone in the U.S. bomber modernization program. Its low-observable, or “stealth,” characteristics give it the unique ability to penetrate an enemy’s most sophisticated defenses and threaten its most valued and heavily defended targets.
While VeeKay drove the Bitcoin Chevrolet in the Indianapolis 500, the SONAX USA scheme he campaigned in the first five races transferred over to Carpenter’s No. 20. VeeKay will return to the No. 21 SONAX Chevrolet for the Detroit doubleheader. SONAX Car Care is an innovative manufacturer of premium car care products for optimum maintenance, protection and rejuvenation of vehicles. All products are developed and manufactured in Neuburg, Germany, where SONAX was founded over 50 years ago. Today, the brand is represented in 80 countries around the world and is available in the U.S. through car care superstore Autogeek.com.
This weekend, collectively referred to as the Chevrolet Detroit Grand Prix presented by Lear, features the Chevrolet Dual in Detroit doubleheader. Daly and VeeKay must compete in two full-distance, points-paying races in a span of 24 hours. Qualifying for both races will take place less than three hours before each green flag. Saturday’s race will be broadcast on NBC, beginning at 2 p.m. ET. Race 2 on Sunday will also be on NBC with coverage starting at 12 p.m. ET.
Photo Courtesy of INDYCAR Photo
CONOR DALY, No. 20 U.S. Air Force Chevrolet: “I am very excited to get back to Detroit with our B-2 Spirit U.S. Air Force Chevrolet. It is one of my favorite tracks and home to my best finish in the NTT INDYCAR SERIES. We’ve come a long way with our car so far this year. We’ve been very competitive the last few races, which is really nice. It’s time for me to deliver on a street course and we’ve got two chances to do it!”
RINUS VEEKAY, No. 21 SONAX Chevrolet: “Detroit is an awesome track, from what I’ve seen! I’ve never driven a racecar there before, so it’s very, very exciting to go to someplace new! It is going to be tough with only one practice, but I know ECR will have a great car to start with and that will make getting used to the track a lot easier. I just cannot wait to get driving again and a doubleheader, double the fun! Hopefully, we can keep getting podiums and wins. See you all there!”