Conor Daly Gains Nine Positions; Rinus VeeKay Completes First Race Back Following Surgery
(LEXINGTON, Ohio) July 4, 2021 – Race Notes
- Ed Carpenter Racing competed in front of a red, white and blue-clad crowd today at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course as NTT INDYCAR SERIES fans celebrated the 4th of July. Conor Daly was one of the biggest movers of the race, finishing nine positions higher than where he started. Daly took the checkered flag in 15th as he raced for the U.S. Air Force. The Honda 200 marked Rinus VeeKay’s first race back following surgery to repair a fractured clavicle. VeeKay was running in the Top 10 for much of the race, but a few seconds off-track cost him several positions and he finished 16th.
- During yesterday’s qualification session, Daly and VeeKay were both assigned to Group 2. Daly missed advancing by a mere three-tenths of a second and would have to start 24th. VeeKay held onto the sixth position at the end of the 10-minute sessions and as the fastest six cars advance, he moved on to Round 2. A car serving a drive-through penalty came out in front of VeeKay, forcing him to lift on one of his flying laps. He was able to turn the 11th-fastest lap of Round 2, which would be his starting position for today’s race.
- VeeKay elected to start on a set of sticker red Firestone Firehawks while Daly selected black tires. The start of the 80-lap race was messy with back-to-back yellow flags. The incidents occurred in front of Daly, who was able to deftly avoid both and gained six positions. VeeKay had already passed two cars at the start, then earned two more positions with the second caution.
- On red tires, VeeKay stayed out until Lap 23 when he made his first stop. Pitting from the 7th position, he was back out on a set of sticker black tires for his next stint. Daly cycled forward on his opening set of black Firehawks, running as high as 9th before his first stop. On Lap 30, Daly came into the pit lane. He chose red tires for the middle portion of the race.
- The race remained fairly quiet for the duration of the second stint with VeeKay running 10th and Daly in 17th. VeeKay was again the first of the two Ed Carpenter Racing Chevrolets to stop, coming in on Lap 52 for fuel and another set of sticker black tires to end the race. A few laps after his stop, VeeKay slid off track momentarily. There was no damage to the No. 21 SONAX Chevrolet and VeeKay was able to continue, but the brief excursion dropped him several positions.
- Daly was in three laps after VeeKay and chose reds for the conclusion of the race. The No. 20 U.S. Air Force Chevrolet exited the pit lane just in front of VeeKay, placing Daly in 15th and VeeKay in 16th. With track conditions leading to few opportunities for passing, both remained in those positions until the checkered flag.
- Daly and VeeKay’s seasons will resume on August 8 for the brand-new Big Machine Music City Grand Prix through the downtown streets of Nashville, Tenn. The 11th round of the NTT INDYCAR SERIES season will be broadcast on NBC Sports Network beginning at 5:30 p.m. ET.
|CONOR DALY, No. 20 U.S. Air Force Chevrolet, Finished 15th: “24th to 15th, a decent effort! We were quite fast, we were putting in laps that were Top 5 pace wise. It is just tough when you start so far back. I was behind (Simon) Pagenaud at the end and it was really, really difficult to overtake. It’s not too bad when you’re fighting with Penske cars! As rough as the weekend had been going, it felt good to be in a position to fight with people today.”|
|RINUS VEEKAY, No. 21 SONAX Chevrolet, Finished 16th: “That was a tough race. We had some really good opening laps and restarts, we got from 11th to 7th. We got stuck behind traffic after the first pit stop and were struggling on the black tires. It was tough to keep the car on the track, which I did almost all the time! My shoulder felt really good though, I had no problems with that. On to Nashville!”|