By Luis Torres, Staff Writer
A day Rinus VeeKay would love to forget as his horrid NTT IndyCar Series debut ended with another crash during Saturday’s Genesys 300 at Texas Motor Speedway.
The Ed Carpenter Racing rookie was already under hot water following his “rookie mistake” by clipping the white line in Turn 3 during practice which sent him into the wall. They were able to get VeeKay’s car repaired and ready in time for the 200-lap race that lasted only 36 for the Dutchman.
At the exit of Turn 1, VeeKay’s No. 21 SONAX Chevrolet went onto the marbles. This resulted his car getting sideways and nowhere to go was fellow rookie Alex Palou, who was an innocent bystander. VeeKay collided onto Palou, sending both around on the backstretch and marked the end of their days where they finished 22nd and 23rd respectively.
Both drivers were checked and released from the infield care center with VeeKay saying he got a little too high while trying to battle with Santino Ferrucci.
“I lost the rear in the marbles and made contact with Alex. It’s very, very unfortunate,” VeeKay’s take on his early exit. “I expected my debut to be a lot different. I’m so sorry to the team. We’ll get better from here. I had very limited time, a lot of learning, but unfortunately I crashed twice. I will have to sleep and think about it for a month. But our Ed Carpenter Racing Chevy was good.”
Palou said that he really didn’t have much of a choice on how to avoid the spinning VeeKay besides going a bit high instead of running low.
“Maybe I could have done something different, but not with the oval experience I have right now. It’s a shame because the Dale Coyne Racing with Team Goh car was really good,” said Palou. “I was getting comfortable and getting up to speed. Every lap I was getting better and better and keeping up with the cars in front. I was trying to get the car balanced right for the last stints. Unfortunately, we were not able to do that.”
VeeKay’s second crash made boss man Ed Carpenter a bit ire following his fifth-place result. The owner threw his driver under the bus by saying his lack of experience did show and it’s something he must improve going into the GMR Grand Prix of Indianapolis July 4.
“The thing I told him to do, he didn’t really do which was being patient,” Carpenter on VeeKay. “I told him before the race was to stay out of the marbles. We got a little work to do there on the sponginess of him. He’s going to get there, but it’s going to be challenging. We still love him.”
Carpenter’s next race won’t be until the doubleheader at Iowa Speedway (July 17-18) as Conor Daly, who finished behind Carpenter, will run the No. 20 Chevrolet at the next round with VeeKay as a teammate.