Conor Daly Takes Checkered Flag in 15th, Rinus VeeKay Finishes 18th
DETROIT (June 13, 2021) – Race 2 Notes
For the second time in 24 hours, it was race day for Ed Carpenter Racing. After a 70-lap race yesterday afternoon, Conor Daly and Rinus VeeKay stepped back into their Chevrolet-powered NTT INDYCAR SERIES cars for Race 2 of the Chevrolet Detroit Grand Prix doubleheader. Conor Daly turned in one of his best qualifying results of the year today but finished 15th as track conditions proved difficult for passing. In contrast to yesterday’s podium result, Rinus VeeKay was challenged by several setbacks today and finished 18th.
Qualifying for Race 2 mirrored that of Race 1 yesterday. Knockout qualifying was condensed from the usual three rounds to two with the fastest six cars from each group advancing. Daly and VeeKay were both assigned to Group 1, which was the second group to take to the 2.35-mile, 13-turn temporary street circuit today. VeeKay was second quick and Daly was fifth, advancing both to Segment 2. At the end of Segment 2, Daly was 10th and VeeKay was 4th. However, a red flag in the final seconds caused several driver’s laps to be invalidated. VeeKay was moved the 3rd position on the starting grid while Daly was up to 8th.
Daly started the 70-lap race on Firestone’s alternate red Firehawks along with all but three other competitors. He was the first car to make a pit stop under green on Lap 10, bring the No. 20 U.S. Air Force Chevrolet in for a switch to the weekend’s preferred tire. He fluctuated in and out of the Top 10 throughout the race, but was not able to make up any ground on track. He was mired back in 15th following the two late-race caution flags, where he would finish the second doubleheader event.
Following the same strategy as yesterday, VeeKay came in under a Lap 2 caution to switch off the red Firestone Firehawks. However, the plan was thwarted on Lap 15 when he had to make an early pit stop. Contact with Marcus Ericsson cut VeeKay’s left rear tire, necessitating an emergency pit stop for the No. 21 SONAX Chevrolet. Like Daly, VeeKay found it difficult to pass and could not make up much ground. Under one of the late-race cautions, VeeKay came in for a splash of fuel to ensure he would make it to the end of the race. On much older tires, he lost one position on the final restart and would finish 18th.
Yesterday, VeeKay’s first career race in the streets of Belle Isle ended with a podium finish as he took the checkered flag in the second position. It was VeeKay’s first career race in any series as he had never driven on the track in any series until yesterday. Daly returned to one of his favorite tracks for the first time in several years, earning a 13th place finish in Race 1 of the Chevrolet Detroit Grand Prix.
Ed Carpenter Racing will return to Indianapolis to continue preparations for next weekend’s race in Road America. The REV Group Grand Prix will be a three-day event, beginning with practice on Friday, June 18. Another practice session, qualifying, and final practice will take place on Saturday, June 19. The 55-lap race will be broadcast live on NBC Sports Network, with coverage starting at 11 a.m. CT on Sunday, June 20.
CONOR DALY, No. 20 U.S. Air Force Chevrolet, Finished 15th: “Today was a positive overall, even though the result doesn’t show it. We had a great qualifying pace and our pace in the race was fantastic as well. We just got bogged down in traffic and struggled to make our way through. It really doesn’t seem like too many people were able to pass, including us. That kind of ruined our strategy and ended up not getting the result we deserve as a team. I don’t think we can leave this weekend and say we were slow, we were definitely competitive lap-time wise. We’ll take it and move on to Road America.”
RINUS VEEKAY, No. 21 SONAX Chevrolet, Finished 18th: “We had a good qualifying result, starting third. We made a strategy call that could have worked out very well, but unfortunately didn’t go our way. Our race just went downhill! I got a puncture that put us even worse on strategy, it was just a hard day. Let this be our bad result of the season! We’ll get back to going to Top 10s, podiums and wins. I am very excited to go to Road America, it is my favorite track and I want to get a nice result!”
About Ed Carpenter Racing Ed Carpenter Racing (ECR) has entered its 10th season of NTT INDYCAR SERIES competition in 2021. The Indianapolis-based race team has proven its versatility by collecting eight wins across each type of track the series competes on – street and road courses, short ovals and speedways. ECR is led by IndyCar’s only team owner/driver, Ed Carpenter, three-time pole winner for the Indianapolis 500 (2013, 2014 and 2018). In 2021, Indiana natives Carpenter and Conor Daly share the No. 20 Chevrolet as Carpenter drives the oval races and Daly takes over for the road and street course events. Both were entered in the Indianapolis 500 alongside 2020 Rookie of the Year Rinus VeeKay, full-time driver of the No. 21 Chevrolet. ECR made its eSports debut in the 2020 iRX World Championship with Jim Beaver eSports. More information may be found at http://www.edcarpenterracing.com/.