INDIANAPOLIS — Conor Daly deftly avoided a car spun on track on the opening lap, moving up from his starting position of 10th up to 6th. He made his first pit stop on Lap 12, swapping his opening set of black Firestone Firehawks for red tires. The No. 20 BitNile Chevrolet stalled on launch, dropping Daly to one of the last cars running.
With a quick car under him, Daly tried to charge back forward. Anticipating a caution for a car stopped on track, Daly dove into the pit lane on Lap 35. The yellow did fly, but after everyone had the opportunity to stop. On the restart, Daly lost ground when he was pushed off-track by another competitor. He quickly made the positions back and was up to 17th.
Daly held the position through his third pit stop on Lap 60. Ten laps later, he made his way around another driver for 16th. However, with three laps to go, he was forced to give up one spot on a blocking penalty. He finished 17th in today’s Gallagher Grand Prix.
“I made a mistake today in pits, stalling the car. The team gave me a really great car, it was really fast. I can admit when I make a mistake and it was a real shame. We will try to bounce back next week. I am thankful the car was fast as it was.”
Rinus VeeKay started from 8th, but lost eight positions on the first lap as a car spun on track directly in front of him. VeeKay managed to avoid contact and picked four positions back up the following lap. On Lap 10, he elected to pit for a change from black Firestone Firehawks to reds.
As different strategies played out, VeeKay cycled back up the order. The No. 21 Bitcoin Racing Team Powered by BitNile Chevrolet crew was set up to pit on Lap 35 when a car stopped on track. He was able to complete his stop before the yellow flag, but the track stayed green until everyone was able to stop and VeeKay remained 10th.
VeeKay began to work his way forward, picking up several spots after the ensuing restart. When the race leader had trouble, VeeKay moved up into 6th. He made his third pit stop on Lap 60 and kept the position. Despite cars behind him having more push-to-pass than he did, he kept them at bay and took the checkered flag in 6th.
“Today was pretty good, I’m pretty happy. Had a great start, until the greatness faded away in Turn 2. Even to this moment, I cannot really tell you what happened. There was a lot going on! I had to really get out of it so I didn’t crash or get any damage. I was 16th after that, but got back to 6th! If we didn’t have that issue on the opening lap, I really feel like we would have been in contention for a podium. We did everything we could today!”