ECR duo struggling for speed right now in Road America

Ed Carpenter Racing was entering this weekend’s 8th race of the 2022 NTT INDYCAR Series season with a lot of momentum. Conor Daly came Road America on the heels of a month of solid results. 

The first of two races at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway was the GMR Grand Prix. Daly advanced through all rounds of qualifying on the road course and started 4th. Battling tricky wet and dry conditions, Daly earned his first Top 5 of the season with a 5th place. Just last weekend, he paced the Indianapolis 500 field for several laps before finishing 6th. Last Sunday in the streets of Detroit, he earned a solid 12th-place finish in the caution-free race.

For Rinus VeeKay while his season was starting to slip, Road America was a track that could be the place to get it steered in the right direction again.

Road America is not only one of VeeKay’s favorite tracks to race on, it is a sentimental favorite as well. After transitioning to the Road to Indy program in 2017, VeeKay earned his first win in the U.S. at Road America. It was also his first victory in an open-wheel car. His first and only NTT INDYCAR SERIES weekend at Road America so far was the 2020 doubleheader.

After qualifying on the pole in Barber and leading the most laps, this is a chance for him to turn his season back around again on a like track. VeeKay went from 3 top 10’s, 2 of which being in the top 6 in the 1st 4 races run which put him 7th in points, to finishes of 23rd, 33rd and 16th respectively the last 3 races to drop him down to 13th.

But maybe all he needs is a reset at Road America. He swept both USF2000 races here in 2017. He was 5th in both races in the Indy Pro 2000 Series a year later. In 2019 he was in Indy Lights and went from 7th on the 1st race to winning Race 2.

That’s 3 wins in 6 Road to Indy starts at Road America with 5 top 5’s.

Unfortunately, the results aren’t matching the expecations so far.

They were 17th (Daly) and 22nd (VeeKay) in Friday’s practice and 17th (Daly) and 20th (VeeKay) on Saturday morning. For qualifying, they’ll share Row 9 with VeeKay in 17th and Daly 18th.

“I thought that was a good lap, but we just didn’t have the speed,” Daly said after qualifying. “Being off by a second and a half is a lot. We’ve been working hard on the BitNile Chevy and really have been improving, but we just didn’t have enough. It’s a real battle. This surface is old and you have to have everything right, it’s so challenging. It is what it is. We’ll focus on the race tomorrow, a lot of things can happen.”

It’s the second straight week they shared a row. They shared Row 7 after both being bounced in Round 1 in Belle Isle too.

“I drove as hard as I could, but we were just way too slow,” said VeeKay. We’ve been struggling since opening practice yesterday, especially in the slow-speed corners. It’s very unfortunate. I hope we can improve and find something good for the race.”

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