I asked Ed Carpenter on Indy 500 Media Day if he thought Rinus VeeKay reminded him a little bit of former ECR driver Josef Newgarden. Carpenter said that he did see some similarities but went on to say he felt VeeKay was actually faster at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway than Newgarden was already.
VeeKay, was the fastest teenager ever in Indy 500 history in qualifying with a four-lap average over 230 mph. He’s started stacking career achievements in the weeks after. VeeKay was sixth and fourth respectively a week later in the doubleheader weekend at the World Wide Technology Raceway. He was eighth and 11th in the last race weekend at Mid-Ohio.
This weekend, he earned his first career pole on Thursday and turned that into a solid third place run in Friday’s first of two races run this weekend on the 2.439-mile IMS road course. It was his first career podium.
“Well, pretty good weekend so far,” said the 20 year old rookie. “First pole yesterday, first podium today. It definitely wasn’t easy, but I’m very happy with a podium finish. I struggled on the blacks (primary tires), but I had a great last 15 laps on the reds (alternate tires). I wish I could have done a little bit better, but a podium is a podium. Tomorrow is another day, we will have one less set of reds, but it’s 10 laps shorter of a race. Tonight, I’m happy.”
The Dutch driver showed his promise. He showed his resolve. He showed that he can be a future star in this series. The problem is, he has no contract still for 2021.
“I have no contract yet,” VeeKay told me on Friday morning. “I hope I can make sure I have one as soon as possible. I haven’t really talked to him (Ed Carpenter). My management takes care of that to make sure I focus on the racing. Once that is done I can jump in on that.”
VeeKay said that the pole certainly helps his cause for 2021.
“I just want to drive INDYCAR next season full time,” VeeKay said. “Having a pole helps that. I think we’re doing all fine for next year and we’ll we on where we’ll drive and how it goes.”
The talent and speed is there. Someone will be wise and scoop him up with ECR doesn’t retain him.