|(LEXINGTON, Ohio) September 13, 2020 – Race 2 Notes|
Ed Carpenter Racing drivers Rinus VeeKay and Conor Daly finished exactly where they started in today’s Race 2 of the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course doubleheader. VeeKay narrowly missed extending his streak of Top 10 finishes when a last-lap pass dropped him to 11th. Daly started and finished today’s Honda 200 in the 16th position.
Yesterday’s Race 1 of the doubleheader resulted in both VeeKay and Daly’s highest road course qualifying efforts of the season. VeeKay started 9th while Daly was up on the outside of the second row in 4th. Daly was running in the Top 10 until the final lap, when his car unexpectedly began to run out of fuel. Daly finished 13th while VeeKay brought home his third consecutive Top 10 with an 8th place.
It was a clean slate for today as Race 2 had it’s own qualifying session this morning. Heavy rains moved through the area and the track was still wet when qualifying began. The field was split into two groups and Daly was out first. A red flag flew just moments before he set his first quick lap that had him sitting third. The lap was invalidated and Daly had to start over. He was able to turn two laps at speed, narrowly missing a third lap by mere seconds. Many cars behind him did have time for an additional lap, dropping him down the order to 16th.
Multiple red flags caused delays to VeeKay’s group. The course had not remained green long enough for anyone to record a lap time and drivers were left with only three minutes and 36 seconds to set a quick time. VeeKay managed two laps, but the rain tires were so degraded by the second lap, he did not improve his speed. His fast lap would slot him into the 11th position on today’s starting grid.
The start of Race 2 was eventful with multiple cars off-course in the first few corners. Daly avoided the melee, but dropped to 19th. Nearly the entire field wound up on the same pit strategy when all but two cars stopped on Lap 15. Daly moved up as the two leaders made their stop, but settled back into his original starting position of 16th. His second pit stop on Lap 46 had him back in 18th, but again he cycled back into 16th. At the end of today’s 75-lap race, Daly brought home the No. 20 U.S. Air Force Chevrolet in the same position it started in.
VeeKay too avoided the opening lap mayhem and gained two positions, moving his No. 21 SONAX/Autogeek Chevrolet up to 9th. Pit stops on Laps 15 and 46 had VeeKay firmly in the Top 10. A spin by Scott Dixon placed him on an alternate pit strategy and with tires that were 12 laps fresher than VeeKay’s, the championship leader made the pass on the Dutch rookie with only a few corners to go. VeeKay finished 11th, also the position he started today’s race.
Next up for the NTT INDYCAR SERIES will be the Harvest Grand Prix, a new event for 2020 utilizing the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course. It too will be a doubleheader weekend with races taking place on both Friday, October 2 and Saturday, October 3. VeeKay and Daly have already completed one race at the IMS road course this year, which took place on the Fourth of July. Daly advanced to the second round of qualifying in that event and VeeKay earned his best road course finish and first career Top 5.
|CONOR DALY, No. 20 U.S. Air Force Chevrolet, Finished 16th: “Today was tough in qualifying. We just didn’t get the right lap in at the right time and we just missed having another lap by a couple of seconds. Starting on the back foot, that’s hard. We took a gamble with the setup which was actually good for me to try. We were in the wrong place at the wrong time for everything that happened on track, it was a shame. However, there were some positives; yesterday, we qualified 4th which was really good. We are still learning together as a team, hopefully we can put what we learned here towards the Harvest Grand Prix.”|
|RINUS VEEKAY, No. 21 SONAX/Autogeek Chevrolet, Finished 11th: “That was a very tough race! Maybe because of the rainy conditions this morning, the track was different. My car felt nothing like yesterday! I had to dodge some cars at the start and did not really move forward like other guys did. It wasn’t the greatest race, but P11 is not terrible! We’ve got the Indy road course again – and again! I had my best road course finish there so I am ready to go back!”|
TIL NEXT TIME, I AM STILL WORKING ON MY REDNECK!