INDIANAPOLIS — 32 drivers are on hand here at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway to test for next month’s 105th Running of the Indianapolis 500. Unfortunately, it didn’t take one driver long to find the wall on the famed 2.5-mile track.
Rinus VeeKay got really low in Turn 1 on his fourth lap completed and crashed hard into the outside SAFER barrier as a result. That accident happened just 11 minutes into the session as he was the only driver thus far to complete a hot lap. The second year drivers’ top speed so far was 217.539 mph in his No. 21 Chevrolet.
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VeeKay, was the fastest teenager ever here last year as a rookie with a four-lap average of 230.704 mph which was his “official” qualifying time. But, the day earlier, he qualified at 231.114 mph in order to make the Fast Nine Shootout.
What was even more impressive was, not only did he qualify fourth in his first ever Indy 500, he was the top Chevrolet driver overall. In fact, VeeKay was the lone Chevy driver represented in the top 12 of the starting lineup last August.
Luckily he walked away from the crash but he did note that he has a broken finger though. He’s still cleared to drive so he will be in the car next weekend at the season opener in Barber.
“I’m ok,” VeeKay said following the crash. “My hands a little beat up, but I’m alright. I can drive again. I want to say sorry to the team of course. The start of the test and wanted to do as many laps as possible and be successful. Just ended extremely early here. So very, very unfortunate. I’m very sorry. But, it was a weird moment.
“Indy should be flat and have a tailwind in Turn 3, so it should be very safe going flat out into 1 with headwinds. And I did that and it felt good on entry. Then, from mid corner, the front dipped down and I lost it. So once that happens, you’re a passenger.”
His boss Ed Carpenter said that VeeKay is still young and as much as you talk about things, sometimes you have to make mistakes yourself.
“I’ve been there,” he said. “A lot of us have been there. The good and bad of it is he is a super confident kid with a lot of ability. Sometimes that leads to mistakes like that just getting a little ahead of himself. He was the first car out and was probably just a little aggressive today.”