Qualifying Update

Photo by Joe Skibinski

Honda issues, a procedural penalty, and the third fastest qualifying average in history highlight the first round of qualifying.

Honda Problems

Marco Andretti was impeded by Takuma Sato on his warmup lap. Sato was still on the track on his cool down lap. he should have been in the warmup lane. Andretti also had an engine issue on his third lap. Sato’s qualifying time was withdrawn by Indycar.

Colton Herta lost all power on his warmup lap.

Juan Pablo Montoya’s car faled tech inspection and was withdrawn from the line by Indycar. he will qualify after everyone else has their guaranteed turn.

Stefan Wilson overrevved the gears in this morning’s practice session. The team decided to change the engine. Wilson has not been out to qualify yet.

Rinus VeeKay began his run with a lap of 234,4 mph. His average of 233.655 is the third fastest qualifying average in Speedway history. Arie Luyendyk and Scott Brayton are the two ahead of VeeKay.

The top 12 as of 1:25 PM;

Rinus VeeKay

Pato O’Ward

Felix Rosenqvist

Alex palou

Tony Kanaan

Jimmie Johnson

Ed Carpenter

Marcus Ericsson

Romain Grosjean

Scott Dixon

Will Power

Josef Newgarden

The chance for storms has pushed back to 2:45, so we may have a few second runs. There are still four spots open in the field. Back with more later.

Bitnile to Sponsor VeeKay in 106th 500

From Ed Carpenter Racing this morning:

Rinus VeeKay Will Compete in the No. 21 Bitcoin Racing Team Powered By BitNile Chevrolet in the 106th Running of the Greatest Spectacle in Racing

(INDIANAPOLIS) May 10, 2022 – Ed Carpenter Racing announced today that Rinus VeeKay will compete in the No. 21 Bitcoin Racing Team Powered By BitNile Chevrolet in the 106th Running of the Indianapolis 500. Ed Carpenter Racing (ECR) became known as the Bitcoin Racing Team when VeeKay raced an iconic black and orange Bitcoin car in last year’s 500-mile classic. Through the generosity of BitNile Holdings, Inc. (BitNile), the Bitcoin Racing Team will continue to grow in 2022.

BitNile is a diversified holding company pursuing disruptive technologies, including cryptocurrencies and innovations in the field of decentralized finance (DeFi). BitNile owns and operates their own high-density data center at which it mines Bitcoin. With a desire to see expanded access to DeFi, BitNile invests in technology platforms that provide community-based, peer-to-peer transactions, such as Earnity Inc. (Earnity).

Earnity, the world’s first community-based crypto platform and marketplace, combines a social media community with a cryptocurrency and DeFi marketplace to give users a place to earn, learn and collect crypto assets. The platform connects creators, educators and other enthusiasts to share knowledge and grow audiences. Every individual who scans the unique QR code on the side of VeeKay’s No. 21 and completes the registration process will receive free Bitcoin from Earnity. BitNile is a significant investor in Earnity.

The Bitcoin Racing Team was a natural home for BitNile. “With the goal of becoming a top 10 North American miner of Bitcoin, it made sense for BitNile to give Rinus VeeKay and ECR this opportunity. The fans loved the Bitcoin car last year and now it’s going to be even better with a QR code that will let them earn FREE Bitcoin,” Milton “Todd” Ault, III, the Executive Chairman of BitNile said. He continued, “I believe all three ECR entries have a real opportunity to win this year’s Indy 500. We are offering a special Bitcoin incentive to any ECR winning driver and the entire team if successful!”

BitNile provided VeeKay the unique opportunity to design his own car for the Indianapolis 500. VeeKay wanted to pay homage to his native country of the Netherlands and his Dutch family, friends and supporters. He immediately chose to have the No. 21 be painted orange, the national color of the Netherlands and a source of great pride for his countrymen. The front wing carries the horizontal tricolor of red, white and blue stripes, representing the national flag of the Netherlands. Also important to VeeKay was including a lion, a symbol steeped in historical significance for the country. A Dutch lion appears on top of both of VeeKay’s mirrors.

VeeKay was thrilled when he received BitNile’s offer. “I have always dreamed of racing an orange car in the Indianapolis 500, but I never imagined I’d get to design it myself!” stated VeeKay. “I am very grateful to Todd Ault and BitNile for allowing me this opportunity, it is so cool. We incorporated many things for the Dutch fans and I hope they love it as much as I do!”

Just two weeks ago, VeeKay earned his first pole position and his first podium finish of the season at Barber Motorsports Park. The 21-year-old will carry that momentum to a track that is home to several of his career milestones. Before attention shifts to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway oval, the NTT INDYCAR SERIES will compete on the road course. VeeKay’s first career pole position and first career podium came at the IMS road course in 2020 and he enters this weekend as the defending race winner, having captured the victory in 2021. The second half of the Month of May is dedicated to the Indianapolis 500, where VeeKay has also built an impressive resume. In 2020, he recorded the best qualifying result by a teenager in Indianapolis 500 history by starting 4th; in 2021, he qualified 3rd and became the youngest front row starter in “500” history. He led 32 laps in last year’s race, third-highest of all drivers in the field, before finishing 8th.

VeeKay will take his first laps in the No. 21 Bitcoin Racing Team Powered by BitNile Chevrolet when the Indianapolis Motor Speedway opens for Indy 500 practice on Tuesday, May 17. Practice will continue through Friday May 20, before the Field of 33 qualifies on Saturday, May 21 and Sunday, May 22. The 106th Running of the Indianapolis 500 will take place on Sunday, May 29, 2022 with coverage beginning at 11 a.m. ET on NBC.

VeeKay Takes Pole in Youthful Fast Six

Photo: Kyle McInnes

Rinus VeeKay tok the pole for tomorrow’s Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama with a lap of 1:06.25. Pato O’Ward, last year’s polke winner, will join VeeKay on the front row. O’Ward was 0.15 seconds slower than VeeKay.

Alex Palou, 2021 race winner and series champion, will start third, the same position he won the rac from last year. Scott McLaughlin, Alexander Rossi, and Felix Rosenqvist round out the first three rows.

As startling as the names in the Fast Six were, equally shocking was who was not in it. Scott Dixon missed the Fast Six at Barber for the first time. He will start 13th. Power had been in the Fast Six nine times in the 11 races here, will start 19th. Josef Newgarden will start seventh and Colton Herta 10th. Romain Grosjean will start eighth.

Colton Herta waited a bit too long to make his final run in the round of 12. That session ended early when Marcus Ericsson went off track and brought out the red flag with 25 seconds left.

The results set up a Fast Six with drivers who had 16 poles between them and an average age of 26 years.

In the Fast Six, VeeKay was the last car on track and nipped O’Ward at the line. The pole was VeeKay’s second career pole. The first came aqt the 2020 Harvest Classic Race 1 at IMS.

Notes

Veekay is the fourth different pole winner and ECR is the fourth different team to win a pole in 2022. Pole winners have won two of the three races this season.

Chevy has been quite strong this year. The manufacturer has three poles and has won the first three races of 2022.

How good are rookies Callum Ilott and Kyle Kirkwood? Ilott will nstart b11th and Kirkwood lines up 21st, but people were disappointed that neither advanced further today.

David Malukas continues to struggle. He has had wall contact every weekend this season.

Kudos to Alexander Rossi’s team and others from Andretti Autosport for getting the 27 car back together after after the big crash this morning. Rossi rewarded them as the onlky Andretti car to make the Fast Six.

Will rain affect the brace tomorrow? The latest radar looks as if there will be rain this afternoon, possibly during the final practice session later today.

Tomorrow’s forecast as of 2:50 pm Central calls for a 46-48 % chance of rain during race time tomorrow, with a better chance for in the hours leading up to the noon start.

Results:

1. (21) Rinus VeeKay, Chevrolet, 01:06.2507 (124.980 mph)
2. (5) Pato O’Ward, Chevrolet, 01:06.4003 (124.698)
3. (10) Alex Palou, Honda, 01:06.4415 (124.621)
4. (3) Scott McLaughlin, Chevrolet, 01:06.4967 (124.517)
5. (27) Alexander Rossi, Honda, 01:06.5549 (124.409)
6. (7) Felix Rosenqvist, Chevrolet, 01:06.6410 (124.248)
7. (2) Josef Newgarden, Chevrolet, 01:06.3348 (124.821)
8. (28) Romain Grosjean, Honda, 01:06.3820 (124.733)
9. (15) Graham Rahal, Honda, 01:06.6339 (124.261)
10. (26) Colton Herta, Honda, 01:06.7295 (124.083)
11. (77) Callum Ilott, Chevrolet, 01:07.2000 (123.214)
12. (8) Marcus Ericsson, Honda, 01:07.3561 (122.929)
13. (9) Scott Dixon, Honda, 01:06.5142 (124.485)
14. (30) Christian Lundgaard, Honda, 01:06.7462 (124.052)
15. (45) Jack Harvey, Honda, 01:06.6511 (124.229)
16. (06) Helio Castroneves, Honda, 01:06.8138 (123.926)
17. (51) Takuma Sato, Honda, 01:06.7541 (124.037)
18. (18) David Malukas, Honda, 01:06.8898 (123.786)
19. (12) Will Power, Chevrolet, 01:06.7775 (123.994)
20. (29) Devlin DeFrancesco, Honda, 01:07.0242 (123.537)
21. (14) Kyle Kirkwood, Chevrolet, 01:06.8213 (123.913)
22. (20) Conor Daly, Chevrolet, 01:07.0350 (123.518)
23. (4) Dalton Kellett, Chevrolet, 01:07.6869 (122.328)
24. (60) Simon Pagenaud, Honda, 01:07.1052 (123.388)
25. (11) Tatiana Calderon, Chevrolet, 01:07.9248 (121.900)
26. (48) Jimmie Johnson, Honda, 01:09.0075 (119.987) 
 

McLaughlin on St. Pete Pole as Penske Sweeps Front Row

Scott McLaughlin turned a sizzling final lap as time expired to win the pole for tomorrow’s Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg Presented by RP Funding. He edged teammate Will Power, who will start on the front row for the 12th time at St. Pete.

Scott McLaughlin on his pole winning lap

Group 1 in Round 1 ended with six different teams advancing, including A. J Foyt Racing with Kyle Kirkwood, Ed Carpenter Racing driver Rinus Veekay. Colton Herta led the round with a time of 59.466 seconds, followed by Graham Rahal, VeeKay, Scott Dixon, Kirkwood, and Josef Newgarden.

Group 2 saw Power lead with a lap of 59,394 seconds, followed by McLaughlin, Romain Grosjean, Simon Pagenaud, Marcus Ericsson, Alex Palou. Palou and Grosjean recovered from heavy damage in the morning practice.

The second round saw a great battle for the lead between Power, Grosjean, McLaughlin, and Herta, with Power taking the round. Power set a track record with his lap of 59.346 seconds.

Will Power

The Firestone Fast Six looked to be comfortably in Power’s grasp as Herta, Grosjean, and Pagenaud all failed to beat his time. McLaughlin’s final lap was 0.12 seconds better than his teammate. The second year driver has earned his first career pole.

Two drivers and teams who had great drives today- Kyle Kirkwood of A. J. Foyt Racing and Rinus VeeKay of Ed Carpenter Racing. Neither team is known for their prowess on road and street courses, nut today may be a sign that the situation could be about to change. Kirkwood finished fifth in Round 1. The rookie has shown in two days how talented he is.

VeeKay appears to be fully recovered from the shoulder injury he suffered mid -season last year. VeeKay was third in Round 1, sixth in Round 2, will start fourth tomorrow.

Qualifying Results:

VeeKay Stays at ECR for 2022

A news release from Ed Carpenter Racing:

RINUS VEEKAY TO REMAIN WITH ED CARPENTER RACING FOR 2022 INDYCAR SEASON
Young Dutch Talent Will Continue as Driver of the No. 21 Chevrolet for Third Year
(LONG BEACH, Calif.) September 26, 2021 – Ed Carpenter Racing announced today that Rinus VeeKay will officially remain with the team for the 2022 NTT INDYCAR SERIES season. The 21-year-old will continue as full-time driver of the No. 21 Chevrolet, a role he will now hold for a third season. When the 2021 season concludes today in the streets of Long Beach, VeeKay’s focus will immediately shift to 2022’s 17-race schedule. 
“I am very excited to have another season with Ed Carpenter Racing! We made so much progress this year, I had my first win in IndyCar and made many great memories. Next year, we can be better than we’ve ever been!” stated VeeKay. “We want to be championship contenders, to go for even better results, more frequent wins and podium finishes. The atmosphere at ECR is perfect for that, it feels like a group of friends who are eager to work hard for strong results. I am excited to continue that in 2022 and not having anything change!”
Raised in Hoofddorp, Netherlands, Rinus van Kalmthout began karting in 2009 at the age of 8. With sights set firmly on the pinnacle of North American open wheel racing, he transitioned to the Road to Indy in 2017 and launched his U.S. career driving as Rinus VeeKay. His rapid ascent through the RTI ranks included 16 wins and 36 podiums in 48 races. Those statistics propelled him to second place in the 2017 USF2000 standings, the 2018 Indy Pro 2000 title and a runner-up finish in the 2019 Indy Lights championship. Just four years into his career in the United States, VeeKay not only reached the NTT INDYCAR SERIES, but earned 2020 Rookie of the Year honors.
ECR team owner Ed Carpenter watched VeeKay’s progression through in the Road to Indy and selected the Dutch driver for his team in late 2019. VeeKay has been with ECR ever since and will make his 29th career start this afternoon. “I am very happy that Rinus will be back behind the wheel for ECR in 2022,” said Carpenter. “Rinus has continued to show that he has the talent and work ethic to be a champion and that’s the goal of our team. We look forward to more success next season!”
Though VeeKay is only two years into his NTT INDYCAR SERIES career, he has already built an impressive resume. In addition to his Rookie of the Year title, his debut season included his first pole position and first podium finish. In 2020, he recorded the best qualifying result by a teenager in Indianapolis 500 history by starting 4th; in 2021, he qualified 3rd and became the youngest front row starter in “500” history. In May of this year, VeeKay joined the ranks of NTT INDYCAR SERIES race winners. He earned his first career victory in the GMR Grand Prix at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course. 
VeeKay is grateful for the support he has received. “I want to thank Ed Carpenter for giving me the opportunity to drive for another season! Ed was the one that gave me the chance to be able to prove myself in IndyCar and I am very grateful to him.”  He continued, “Thank you to Tony George, Stuart Reed and the entire team, every single person who makes this possible. I am the one driving, but there is a whole team behind me working day a night to give me a good, reliable car. I also really appreciate the support of ECR’s partners, including SONAX and Direct Supply, for allowing us to work hard, improve and take a big step forward this offseason.”
A third year with the Indianapolis-based team will make VeeKay the longest-tenured full-time driver in Ed Carpenter Racing’s 10-year history. Since its inception in 2012, ECR has raced exclusively in the NTT INDYCAR SERIES.  The team has shown versatility by earning eight wins on each style of track the series competes on – street and road courses, short ovals and speedways. ECR boasts 36 Top 5s to date, 23 of which have been podium finishes. For nine of their 10 Indianapolis 500s, ECR has had at least one car qualify in the first three rows. An ECR Chevrolet has sat on the front row seven of those years, including three pole positions by Carpenter (2013, 2014 and 2018).
The 2021 season concludes this afternoon with the Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach, broadcast live on NBC Sports Network at 3 p.m. ET. ECR’s 2022 campaign will the team continue to compete with two full-time entries, the No. 20 and No. 21. While the No. 21 will feature VeeKay for the full season, Carpenter will continue as oval driver of the No. 20 in his 20th season of Indy car competition. VeeKay’s third NTT INDYCAR SERIES SEASON will begin February 27, 2022 with the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg.  
Rinus VeeKay will remain with Ed Carpenter Racing for the 2022 NTT INDYCAR SERIES season. The 21-year-old will continue as full-time driver of the No. 21 Chevrolet, a role he will now hold for a third season. A third year with the Indianapolis-based team will make VeeKay the longest-tenured full-time driver in ECR’s 10-year history. (INDYCAR Photo)
In May of 2021, Rinus VeeKay joined the ranks of NTT INDYCAR SERIES race winners. He earned his first career victory in the GMR Grand Prix at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course. One week later, he became the youngest front row starter in Indianapolis 500 history by qualifying 3rd. (DREAM Digital)
About Ed Carpenter RacingEd Carpenter Racing (ECR) has entered its 10th season of NTT INDYCAR SERIES competition in 2021. The Indianapolis-based race team has proven its versatility by collecting eight wins across each type of track the series competes on – street and road courses, short ovals and speedways. ECR is led by IndyCar’s only team owner/driver, Ed Carpenter, three-time pole winner for the Indianapolis 500 (2013, 2014 and 2018). In 2021, Indiana natives Carpenter and Conor Daly share the No. 20 Chevrolet as Carpenter drives the oval races and Daly takes over for the road and street course events. Both were entered in the Indianapolis 500 alongside 2020 Rookie of the Year Rinus VeeKay, full-time driver of the No. 21 Chevrolet. ECR is active in the eSports arena as part of the iRX World Championship. More information may be found at http://www.edcarpenterracing.com/.

VeeKay Cleared to Drive; Returns at Mid Ohio

Photo from ECR Twitter account

The Indycar grid is now back intact as Rinus Veekay joins Felix Rosenqvistat Mid Ohio this weekend. Both drivers missed road america because of injuries. Rosnqvist also missed Detroit Race 2 after his accident in Race 1. The announcement from Ed Carpenter Racing:

INDIANAPOLIS (June 30, 2021) – Rinus VeeKay has been medically cleared to resume driving and will return to NTT INDYCAR SERIES competition this weekend at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course. Following a cycling accident, VeeKay underwent successful outpatient surgery on June 15 to repair a fractured left clavicle. He was re-evaluated this afternoon and was given clearance to return to racing by Dr. Geoffrey Billows, INDYCAR’s director of medical services. VeeKay will be back in the No. 21 SONAX Chevrolet for this weekend’s Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio.
VeeKay is eager to get back behind the wheel. “First, I need to say thank you to the INDYCAR medical staff, including Dr. Webber, who did my surgery. I am very excited to race this weekend at Mid-Ohio, especially after missing the last race at Road America. I am more motivated than ever!” stated VeeKay. He continued, “I have been working incredibly hard on my recovery, doing all kinds of treatment. I feel I will be right back at the level I was before. I sat in the car earlier this week to make sure I was comfortable and I was in the simulator yesterday, I have no pain and feel as good as ever.”
The 20-year-old is in the midst of a breakout sophomore season with Ed Carpenter Racing. VeeKay earned six Top 10 finishes in seven races, including his first career victory at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course in mid-May. One week later, he became the youngest front row starter in Indianapolis 500 history as he qualified 3rd. In his most recent event weekend, the Chevrolet Detroit Grand Prix, VeeKay returned to the podium with a second-place finish in Race 1.
While VeeKay was recovering from surgery, Oliver Askew stepped into the No. 21 Chevrolet at Road America. Despite not being able to compete, VeeKay remains sixth in the overall championship standings. A solid performance by Askew at Road America has Ed Carpenter Racing’s No. 21 Chevrolet fourth in entrant points.
VeeKay will rejoin his teammate Conor Daly, road and street course driver of the No. 20 U.S. Air Force Chevrolet. The Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio will be a three-day event, beginning with practice on Friday, July 2. Saturday, June 3 will consist of a second practice session, qualifying and final practice. The 80-lap race will be broadcast live on NBC, with coverage starting at 12 p.m. ET on Sunday, July 4.
About Ed Carpenter RacingEd Carpenter Racing (ECR) is in its 10th season of NTT INDYCAR SERIES competition in 2021. The Indianapolis-based race team has proven its versatility by collecting eight wins across each type of track the series competes on – street and road courses, short ovals and speedways. ECR is led by IndyCar’s only team owner/driver, Ed Carpenter, three-time pole winner for the Indianapolis 500 (2013, 2014 and 2018). In 2021, Indiana natives Carpenter and Conor Daly share the No. 20 Chevrolet as Carpenter drives the oval races and Daly takes over for the road and street course events. Both were entered in the Indianapolis 500 alongside 2020 Rookie of the Year Rinus VeeKay, full-time driver of the No. 21 Chevrolet. ECR made its eSports debut in the 2020 iRX World Championship with Jim Beaver eSports. More information may be found at http://www.edcarpenterracing.com/.

VeeKay Undergoes Surgery, Askew to Sub

From Ed Carpenter Racing :

[UPDATE] @RinusVeeKay underwent successful outpatient surgery to repair a fractured clavicle sustained in a cycling accident.

As RVK is not medically cleared to drive, @OliverAskew will take over the No. 21 @_DirectSupply car at @RoadAmerica.

More: https://t.co/GqonkCtImC https://t.co/SBVdtRi1wx

Still no word on who will drive the7 if Rosenqvist is not ready to return. More on this story tomorrow.

How the Front Row Fares in the Race

The 2021 front row. Photo by Joe Skibinski, Indycar

Starting in the front row has been a great place to begin the Indianapolis 500 over the last three years. There is no reason to think 2021 will be any different. the cars are basically the same, passing will be difficult, and the front row starting teams have shown great reliability over the course of an entire season.

Forty-four of the 104 Indianapolis 500 Mile Races have been won from the front row. The pole winner has won the most times, 21. Simon Pagenaud is the most recent driver win from the pole in 2019. His win from pole was the first win from the top spot since Helio Castroneves won in 2009. Since 2006, when Sam Hornish, Jr. won at the line from Marco Andretti, the race winner has started on the pole just three more times. In addition to Pagenaud and Castroneves, Scott Dixon won from pole in 2008. Pagenaud’s victory saved the 2010 decade from being just the third decade without a race winner starting from pole. The first decade of the race, 1911-1920, and the 1940s did not see the pole winner in Victory Lane.

Starting second has produced the fewest winners among the the front row starters, 11. That number seems pretty good, but only once since 1970 has the winner come from the middle spot of row 1. Juan Pablo Montoya won from the second starting spot in 2000. The 21 year drought has a decent chance of ending this year with Colton Herta.

The outside of the front row is the preferred starting spot for many drivers. Some say it presents a better approach to the first turn. 12 winners have started third, including Takuma Sato last year

.

A look at the chart below shows that starting places 1-7 have produced 68 of the 104 winners. The most wins further back than that come 15th, where four winners have emerged.

A 500 mile race is long, and many things happen. there have been pole winners who haven’t completed the first lap. Roberto Guerrero in 1992 spun into the the inside fence on the pace lap. Scott Sharp in 2001 crashed in turn 1 of the first lap. There are no guarantees, but if you are playing the odds, the pole and the third place starters are decent wagers.