Despite the lack of pace shown by Chevrolet powered cars all week, Ed Carpenter Racing rookie Rinus VeeKay put his car into the Fast Nine in qualifying and will start fourth in the Indianapolis 500 next Sunday,the highest that a rookie has started since Carlos Munoz started second in 2013.
VeeKay, born Rinus van Kalmthout in Hoofddorp, Netherlands, began karting in 2009 at the age of 8.He moved to the Road to Indy program in 2017 under the name Rinus VeeKay. As he worked his way up the ladder, the Dutchman would finish second in the 2017 U.S. F2000 National Championship, win the 2018 Pro Mazda Championship, and finish second in the 2019 Indy Lights Championship.
Now with a full time drive in the NTT IndyCar Series, VeeKay’s dream has come true as he gets set to race in his first Indy 500 at the tender age of 19.
“I feel great,” VeeKay said in a press release.
“That was the most amazing qualifying, I did not expect it! I was really happy to even make it to the Fast Nine. Being the only Chevy made it tough, but we are starting fourth! Super close to making the front row, but I’m still happy with this. And fastest rookie!
“Ed (Carpenter) really helped me, telling me what the wind was going to do to my car. I’ve never driven in wind like this at this track. He really helped me to be confident!”
Only six races into his IndyCar career, VeeKay already owns a top five finish, coming fifth in the GMR Grand Prix on the road course at IMS. Hopefully that confidence instilled in him by Ed Carpenter will propel him to a strong finish in his first Indianapolis 500.