Wisconsin Connections to Watch Today at Road America – Yuven Sundaramoorthy, Direct Supply and Pabst Racing

By Tony DiZinno

Before today’s XPEL Grand Prix at Road America here in Elkhart Lake, Wis., we wanted to highlight a few local Wisconsin connections arise at the first of two IndyCar stops to the land of Golden Eagles, Badgers, cheese and dotted bovine this calendar year (if you know, you know).

Yuven Sundaramoorthy, Wisconsin Driver

Yuven Sundaramoorthy at the XPEL Grand Prix at Road America in Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin. (Photo by Joe Skibinski | IMS Photo)

The first comes with Oconomowoc, Wis. native Yuven Sundaramoorthy, part of Abel Motorsports’ Indy NXT program. A several-year veteran of the USF Pro Championships, Sundaramoorthy is in the first of a planned two-year program with the team following his recent graduation from U.W. Madison with a degree in computer science, and an active member of the university’s Formula SAE effort as well. Some of his friends even made a “Yuven head” – and it appeared during the qualifying broadcast on Satruday.

He’s seeking to be the first Wisconsin driver in IndyCar in more than 20 years, since Scott Mayer made three starts in 2003 with PDM Racing, and the first Wisconsin driver to race at the Indianapolis 500 since the late Stan Fox did so in 1995.

The Indian-American, born in Wisconsin who now lives in Indianapolis, caught the racing bug when visiting the Chinese Grand Prix with his father a little over a decade ago.

He’s a race winner in the USF2000 ranks but his first full Indy NXT season has seen more valleys than peaks; bad luck has struck the highly visible turquoise, gold and black No. 22 Dallara frequently.

He’s been busy with a series of local and media commitments this week in the run up to the race, and a pair of pieces from two of the best in Milwaukee motorsports media – the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel’s Dave Kallmann and WTMJ -TV NBC sports director Lance Allan, into in his final few months in that role – are linked here.

“I intentionally didn’t do well at Detroit so I could do well here,” Sundaramoorthy laughed, talking to TSO earlier this week. “It’s so special to race here because there are a lot of family, friends and supporters here.”

He’ll start 11th in his No. 22 Abel Motorsports Dallara after a delayed qualifying session.

“After I lost the first practice, I just needed laps, and the red flag didn’t really give me that,” he said. “I really had my first real couple attempts at pushing the car in qualifying and just obviously way under-drove it. I still need a lot of speed, but we can work forward from eleventh.” 

Pabst Racing, Wisconsin Team

With Saturday’s weather, there are now two more USF Pro Championship races on the docket for today. Oconomowoc, Wis.-based Pabst Racing has entries in both USF Pro 2000 and USF2000, and got another win to add to Augie Pabst’s team’s ledger on Saturday.

Sam Corry on the USF2000 podium. Photo by Gavin Baker Photography | USF Pro Championships

Sam Corry won his second USF2000 race in the No. 23 Redline Oil/Stilo/Simpson Race Products-Pabst Racing Tatuus USF-22 on Saturday.

“We needed that one. This is Pabst’s home race so it is really cool to be able to do it for them here. Road America is the National Park of Speed, and it is beautiful here and it’s beautiful to get a win. I can’t thank those boys enough. They put on a really good race car. It was a bit of a crazy race. Going into Turn One on the last restart, I had everybody up my rear trying to come through.”

Pabst also got a podium with Christian Brooks and a couple top-fives in USF Pro 2000 with Jace Denmark in its two races.

USF Pro 2000 (9:40 a.m.) and USF2000 (10:30 a.m.) have additional races this morning.

Direct Supply, Wisconsin Sponsor

Rinus VeeKay during the XPEL Grand Prix at Road America in Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin. (Photo by Joe Skibinski | IMS Photo)

Ed Carpenter Racing has a special connection to Wisconsin as well thanks to longtime partner Direct Supply. As every year since the series returned to Road America in 2016, the special blue and white livery returns to adorn Rinus VeeKay’s No. 21 Chevrolet. Per the team: “Headquartered in nearby Milwaukee, Direct Supply is committed to enhancing the lives of seniors and those who care for them. Since 1985, the company has helped Senior Living providers create amazing environments, improve care and outcomes, optimize building operations, streamline procurement and more.”

The livery was unveiled Thursday at Direct Supply’s company picnic and the livery style matches the template seen on the ECR cars this year. The team will confirm at a later date if Direct Supply will return for the Milwaukee doubleheader over Labor Day weekend. Of note, Josef Newgarden scored his first career NTT INDYCAR SERIES pole the last time the series raced at Milwaukee in 2015 in what was then the No. 67 CFH (Carpenter Fisher Hartman) Racing Chevrolet, black and blue with, you guessed it, Direct Supply support.

Rinus VeeKay during the XPEL Grand Prix at Road America in Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin. (Photo by Chris Owens | IMS Photo)

VeeKay hasn’t had the best of results in his four previous IndyCar starts at the circuit (best start of 15th and best finish of 12th), but he did win in both Indy NXT (2019) and USF2000 (2017) competition at the circuit. The latter wins came with Oconomowoc, Wis.-based Pabst Racing and served as VeeKay’s first two in North America, so in some respects, Wisconsin has been a mildly adopted extra home for the Dutchman.

“I love the whole place, especially going to Siebkens (Thursday) night,” VeeKay told TSO. “There isn’t anything like this in the U.S. There’s a big Dutch and German influence around here. Definitely had a Dutch breakfast yesterday morning in Milwaukee, so that was pretty cool!”

He’ll roll off 17th in his No. 21 Ed Carpenter Racing Chevrolet. 

“We definitely have much more speed in the Direct Supply car than where our qualifying position shows,” he said. “The guys who took a second set of wet tires were able to go faster than us there at the end. It is disappointing to be starting so far back but I love this track and I love passing people so we’ll try to have some fun tomorrow.”