Hometown Favorite Finishes 11th in Big Machine Spiked Coolers Grand Prix; Rough Day For Rinus VeeKay Complicated Further By Contact

INDIANAPOLIS (August 14, 2021) – Race Notes

  • For the second week in a row, Conor Daly kept the No. 20 U.S. Air Force Chevrolet right in the mix and just barely missed out on a Top 10. Daly finished 11th in today’s Big Machine Spiked Coolers Grand Prix on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course. The 28-car field was the largest NTT INDYCAR SERIES field outside of the Indianapolis 500 in a decade. Rinus VeeKay had already had a difficult day with the No. 21 SONAX Chevrolet and that complicated even farther after he was hit from behind in the closing laps. The contact caused him to spin and dropped to the back of the field. VeeKay finished 24th in today’s race.
  • The Ed Carpenter Racing teammates had strong qualifying efforts yesterday with both making the Firestone Fast 12. Daly earned the 8th starting position while VeeKay was just one spot behind in 9th. Daly and VeeKay swapped positions at the start of the 85-lap race, but VeeKay’s weekend-long struggle with lack of grip carried over opening laps. Once Daly had taken the position back, VeeKay slipped back several more. By VeeKay’s first pit stop on Lap 12, he was running 13th. Daly also came in on the same lap and both switched from primary black tires to alternate reds. 
  • On Lap 21, Daly was battling with Simon Pagenaud and went off-track, through the grass. The car sustained no damage and Daly was able to maintain the 11th position. That is where he stayed until his second pit stop on Lap 36 when he again stopped for fuel and red tires. VeeKay, who had a quiet second stint, also stopped on Lap 36. Daly cycled back into 11th and VeeKay into 15th.
  • The first caution of the race did not fly until Lap 68, only a handful of laps after VeeKay’s final stop (Lap 60) and Daly’s (Lap 61). The yellow laps ensured both were good on fuel and could fight hard until the end. Unfortunately for VeeKay, he was the cause of the second and final yellow of the race on Lap 77. He was struck from behind from Scott McLaughlin, who received a penalty for avoidable contact. VeeKay spun and stalled as a result of the contact. While waiting to be re-fired, he dropped to the back of the field and finished the race in the 24th position. Daly did everything he could to move into the Top 10 in the final laps, but had to settle for 11th at the end of the day.
  • The NTT INDYCAR SERIES will head to World Wide Technology Raceway outside of St. Louis next week. The final oval race of the year will see ECR team owner Ed Carpenter step back into the No. 20 Chevrolet. Carpenter will race alongside VeeKay on the 1.25-mile oval for the third in a stretch of three race weekends. The Bommarito Automotive Group 500 will be broadcast live on NBC Sports Network in 8 p.m. ET on Saturday, August 21.
CONOR DALY, No. 20 U.S. Air Force Chevrolet, Finished 11th: “The start was really strange. The whole outside row managed to slot into the inside and I lost the draft. Everyone on the outside seemed to get a little screwed, but we settled in okay and we made our first stop as soon as we could. There were a few small things that happened which could have been better, but it is racing and those things happen. We wanted to be in the Top 10, we came out of the pits behind [Alex] Rossi on that first pit stop and he finished 4th. You just need every second and every second counts. We keep pushing and keep finishing better every race, we just have to keep it going!”
RINUS VEEKAY, No. 21 SONAX Chevrolet, Finished 24th: “Today’s race was kind of a mystery to me. We started P9 and we believed that we had a good car. From Lap 1, we struggled and it just got worst the whole race. We don’t know what the issue is yet but everyone is looking at it. We will give it everything we can at Gateway next weekend! That’s a whole new weekend, hopefully we can reset and get back to Top 10s and Top 5s!”