By Aaron Bearden, Contributing Writer
One day removed from a pair of podiums in the first Pro Mazda Championship Presented by Cooper Tires race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, title hopefuls Rinus Veekay and Harrison Scott entered Saturday’s second event hoping for more of the same.
They would instead be met with early problems.
Scott and Veekay both failed to reach the checkered flag in the second Royal Purple Synthetic Motor Oil Grand Prix of Indianapolis, finishing outside of the top 10 and losing ground in the championship battle.
Veekay didn’t make it to the green flag before trouble befell him.
A stack-up as the field prepared to start the event led to contact between Scott and David Malukas. The duo ran into each other as the Pro Mazda field began accelerating to take the green flag, forcing Malukas to the inside lane of the iconic frontstretch.
With nowhere to go, Veekay collided with Malukas’ machine. The impact briefly sent the rookie’s Juncos Racing machine airborne and caused heavy damage that would eliminate him from the event.
“Scott and Malukas, they hit each other,” Veekay told Motorsports Tribune. “Malukas got sideways and spun and I was on his tail, so I had no where to go so I just flew over it.
“I flew through the air, and just missed the wall. Unfortunately we couldn’t even actually start the race.”
The immediate crash-out relegated Veekay to a 14th-place result. The Dutch driver could only watch from afar as Juncos Racing teammate Carlos Cunha battled to a second-place result.
“I just feel very bad,” Veekay said. “I saw my teammate really putting up a good race, so I knew the car would have been good for this race. I think the car could have gone for a podium or even a win. So it feels very bad, but I can’t do anything about it.
“At least it’s not my mistake. But whatever happens, happens. We just have to keep going.”
Scott continued on with only minor damage after his part in the opening lap melee, and the rookie’s RP Motorsport Racing machine appeared strong enough for him to contend for a weekend sweep.
The first-lap incident dropped Scott to fifth, but he quickly fought back. The Briton rose up to second and challenged Cunha for the lead as the race entered its middle stages.
A third-consecutive win was with reach. But trouble struck again.
A sudden electrical failure brought Scott’s run to a unexpected end.
“The dash just switched off with no warning,” Scott told Motorsports Tribune. “I couldn’t change gear, was stuck in gear. The dash wouldn’t kick back on or anything, so I came into the pits to see if we could fix it. But when we came in the car just wouldn’t turn on or anything.”
One day after winning in his Indianapolis debut, Scott was forced to settle for a 12th-place result.
“I’m obviously frustrated,” he said. “I think our third win in a row was easily in the cards. I think we had by far the quickest car out there, and we were steaming back from fifth place. Caught the leader like nothing, then through no fault of anyone just had an electrical failure. Obviously it’s really disappointing, because I wanted that win.”
While his disappointment was evident, Scott took solace in the pace his car had for the third-consecutive race.
“It’s always a bit uphill when the last race you do is like that,” he said. “I would say we won here yesterday and had the fastest car today, so there are a lot of positive to take away from it.
“There’s a long year ahead, so we’ll see what happens.”
Veekay leaves the Brickyard second in the standings, with a 22-point deficit on points leader Parker Thompson. Scott follows in fourth, 34 points away from the championship lead.