LEXINGTON, Ohio — When looking at the final finishing order for Sunday’s Honda Indy 200 at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, you’d see 6 combined Team Penske and Chip Ganassi Racing drivers including a clean sweep of the podium. Between that, Arrow McLaren’s engine reliability issues and Andretti Autosport’s fireworks, it’s easy to see how Rinus VeeKay’s impressive 4th place run on a sun drench day around the rural Ohio 2.258-mile road course was swept under the rug.
But to be the lone representative not of Penske or Ganassi in the top 7 and doing so in 4th in his No. 21 Dallara-Chevrolet for Ed Carpenter Racing is something we shouldn’t take too lightly.
VeeKay knew he had a faster car than his 11th-place starting position showed. He was one of the first cars to make a pit stop, coming in on Lap 23. As the rest of the field cycled through, the No. 21 Bitcoin Racing Team Powered by BitNile Chevrolet kept moving up the order. A Lap 31 caution solidified VeeKay’s position in the Top 10 and had him up to 7th.
He utilized the Lap 39 restart for one of the most impressive moves of the race. While Scott Dixon and Josef Newgarden battled with each other, VeeKay used the opportunity to pass them both and move himself into the 5th position. He then made his way around Pato O’Ward, moving into 4th. He remained there through his second and last pit stop on Lap 53. He was briefly shuffled back to 5th, but regained the position when the leader had to pit. VeeKay held off a hard-charging Dixon in the final laps, earning a 4th-place finish at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course.
“I had a pretty good day, finally! VeeKay said. “It’s been quite some time. I started 11th and didn’t really have a great start, I was sandwiched and shuffled back. We had a really good pit exchange and I ended up 7th.
“Then I had some pretty badass ‘stache-powered moves. I got to third at one point, but I got passed by Will (Power). He didn’t leave me very much space, but he was faster on the sticker reds while I only had scuffs. This was really the max result for me today. The team did a great job on pit stops and the Chevy power was nice.”
For him, it was great to turn this season about around. After coming to the Month of May at Indy 7th in points on the heels of 3 top 10’s in 4 races including a pole and podium (3rd) at Barber, he was 23rd, 33rd, 16th and 17th respectively in the 4 races entering Mid-Ohio.
A finish like this is one to get his season back going in the right direction.