VeeKay a quiet 4th place finish Saturday in Iowa while Daly has bad luck in 19th place run, a look at their days here

NEWTON, IA — Conor Daly had high hopes. He already had this race circled on his calendar knowing if he was going to score his first career NTT INDYCAR Series trip to victory lane, the Iowa Speedway could be that spot.

This was the ground he scored his lone pole on. Now, he’s with a team that’s always ran well here on this .894-mile Central Iowa short track and had a fast race car under him. Daly qualified his No. 20 Dallara-Chevrolet in Row 2 for both races and was also in the top 5 in practice on Friday.

He stayed in the top 5 for much of the opening stint but that’s where it all went wrong them that point forward.

As his tires started to lose grip, he slid back. He was able to stay in the Top 10 until his first pit stop, but then fell a lap down.

On a day that saw 3 of the 4 drivers starting in the top 4 finish on the podium, the one driver with them missing was Daly who’d finish a disappointing 19th.

“It’s obviously not how we wanted the day to go,” said Daly. “We started off quick, but the tires just go off so aggressively all race long. It was a tough situation for us, just really hard to keep the grip underneath us. We’ll try to make some changes for tomorrow. Obviously, we have a quick car on new tires, but we need to elongate that. Really, really tough day, but thankfully we have another race tomorrow where we start up front.”

His teammate picked up the slack for him though. Rinus VeeKay started 8th and would finish 4th in his No. 21 Dallara-Chevrolet for his 3rd top 5 of the season and 8th of his brief career. 2 of the 3 have come in the last 3 races as he was also 4th on July 3 at Mid-Ohio.

“It was pretty hard out there with the high temperatures,” VeeKay said. “I struggled a lot to run the high line and it would have been a lot nicer if I could play up there. But that last long stint, I could really save the tires and capitalize on other people’s mistakes. I almost got Will (Power), we were sideways coming to the checkered flag! Tough to just miss out on a podium, but I am very happy. We did everything well, the only issue was a little hold up in pit lane with (Jack) Harvey coming in while I was going out, but that happens at tracks like this. We did well, I am happy. On to tomorrow, let’s get that podium, yeet!”

VeeKay completed the race with three pit stops, utilizing caution periods for the last two. His opening green-flag pit stop was the only time he fell out of the Top 10 the entire race.

After his final pit stop, VeeKay mounted a charge forward. He picked up one position on the ensuing restart, then engaged in a battle with Jimmie Johnson which lasted for many laps. Eventually VeeKay claimed the position and gained one more from Alex Palou with five to go. VeeKay crossed the finish line side-by-side with Will Power, narrowly missing out on a podium finish.

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