Daly looking to keep momentum at Mid-Ohio, VeeKay hoping to find it again

Everyone is talking about Rinus VeeKay being the guy who holds the keys to the free agency market right now in the NTT INDYCAR Series and rightfully so too. The 21 year old Dutch driver is young and as talented as they come at this age. However, his Ed Carpenter Racing teammate of Conor Daly is just quietly putting together solid race after solid race.

Daly brought his No. 20 Dallara-Chevrolet home 14th the last time out in Road America. While it wasn’t a great result, it was still solid. VeeKay would finish 3 spots behind in 17th. Unfortunately for VeeKay, ever since we got to Indianapolis he started sliding backwards.

In the first 4 races run in 2022, VeeKay had 3 top 10 finishes including 2 of which in the top 6 with a pole and podium at Barber. He sat 7th in points. Over the last 4 races, his finishes have been 23rd, 33rd, 16th and now 17th. That’s dropped him to 14th in the standings as we near the midway mark.

That’s also the same time of Daly’s emergence.

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. The next race after, he paced the Indianapolis 500 field for several laps before finishing 6th. A week after that on the streets of Detroit, he earned another solid 12th-place finish in the caution-free race.

That’s 4 of the last 5 races Daly has finished ahead of VeeKay including outqualifying him twice in that span. The two have shared a Row in each of the last 2 races at that.

This isn’t a hit piece of VeeKay. He’s still very raw and has a lot of promise and potential. I think he’s got the prowess to do what Josef Newgarden is doing. This is more about how Daly is performing just as good as VeeKay if not better and not getting the attention for it.

Now, we head to Mid-Ohio this weekend for the Honda Indy 200 (12 p.m. ET, NBC, INDYCAR Radio Network). Daly will be making his seventh start at Mid-Ohio this weekend at that. In his 2016 debut, he powered to the front of the field, led 22 laps and finished 6th. He followed up that performance with another Top 10 finish in 2017. Upon joining ECR, he qualified 4th for Race 1 of the 2020 Mid-Ohio doubleheader. Last year, Daly gained nine positions over the course of the race. 

“I am very happy to be back on track after a break,” Daly said via a team release. “Mid-Ohio is a fantastic race course and July 4th weekend is an incredible time to be racing. We’ve had a great season so far and we want to continue our run of solid finishes and scoring good points. Hopefully, we can make it out of Mid-Ohio with a trophy.”

For VeeKay, he hopes to get back going again.

“I’m very excited to drive at Mid-Ohio,” he said I” think we can have a good weekend, I’ve had pretty good results there in previous years and was able to make some good moves. Ready to get back to where we belong, at the front! I’m also very happy to be back in Bitcoin orange, thanks to BitNile.”

The 2021 edition of the Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio marked VeeKay’s return to competition. After being forced to sit out the preceding race at Road America while recovering from surgery on a fractured clavicle, he stepped back into the No. 21 at Mid-Ohio and was able to advance to the second round of qualifying. In his rookie season of 2020, he started 9th and finished 8th in Race 1 of the doubleheader. 

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