Rinus Veekay is hoping that Chevrolet power can propel him to his first IndyCar win of the season.
The previous weekend at Barber saw Veekay put his number 21 Ed Carpenter Racing machine on pole position, and for most of the race, he held a commanding advantage over the charging Alex Palou and Pato O’Ward.
But despite leading for over half of the race and getting in front of the Mexican at the second round of pitstops, Veekay was passed by O’Ward for the net race lead on the run down to Turn 5, with Veekay losing second to Palou two laps after the Spaniard had completed his second stop relegating the Dutchman to third at the chequered flag.
With Chevrolet-powered cars winning four out of the first five races, Veekay, when speaking to selected media outlets, including Motorlat, expressed his hope that with slight improvements to the car, he can make it five Chevrolet wins from six races.
“Well, I think it's very important to start off with great Chevy power. It's four wins out of four races right now. Unfortunately, none of mine yet, but hopefully, I can make it five out of five. I think there can be improvements. It's good to see Chevy be so successful. It also helps us a lot. It makes the job a bit easier. Or I should say less hard.”
“I really want to improve my race this weekend, of course. Last weekend in Barber was very good; it had a great pace. Qualifying was amazing. So I think we can keep building on that and take some improvements we made from Barber to the track here in Indianapolis. I think we can only do better than last year.”
The former Grand Prix circuit at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway has been a happy hunting ground for Veekay in the past, as he managed to take victory his first win on the layout in 2019 when still in Indy lights. But it was in 2021 where Veekay enjoyed his finest hour after holding off Romain Grosjean in the closing stages to win his maiden IndyCar race and, in turn, become the first Dutchman to win at the Brickyard for just under 24 years.
Veekay explained briefly why he performs on this particular layout.
“We've always really had a great setup on this track. Showing up here, we were always really fast already, and I've also driven a lot on this track in the Road to Indy. I've done many laps here. Many races I've done here.”
“It feels very natural to push very hard on this track very soon, so I think we can really push hard and be on the limit very early in the weekend, which gives us a lot more time to try more changes on the car.”
Last weekend, several IndyCar drivers, including Veekay, headed to the inaugural Miami Grand Prix held at the Miami International Autodrome, and it was there where Veekay caught up with countryman and reigning World champion Max Verstappen.
With Sebastian Vettel being the latest Grand Prix driver to be offered a test in an IndyCar, Veekay was asked whether Verstappen would be interested in having a test in the Dallara DW12.
“So I know Max already from the go-kart periods. Actually, I was going to drive for his dad's go-karting team, which eventually didn't work because Max made the step towards car racing, and as we've seen, that was a pretty good step for him.”
“I would love to invite Max over to test in INDYCAR, see how he does, (and) see how sore his shoulders get in the car because of no power steering. (But) no, I would love to see some crossover between INDYCAR and F1. I think that's two of the best racing categories in the world. I think if they can cross over, that would be a lot of fun.”
For the first time since 2019, the Indy 500 and the Monaco Grand Prix will clash, with Formula 1’s crown jewel taking place in the afternoon before IndyCar takes centre stage later on.
Dutch sports channel Ziggo which lost the rights to broadcast Formula 1 at the end of 2021, have now turned its attention to IndyCar and is looking to grow the series in the Netherlands, much to Veekay’s delight.
“The interest for INDYCAR, for the Indy 500, is improving rapidly in the Netherlands. There's a lot more people watching, and there's a lot more promotion going on, too. Because Ziggo doesn't have the rights anymore for F1, they are trying to use those INDYCAR rights to a bigger extent so they can get some more people watching. So that's actually pretty good for us.”