VeeKay goals to guide ‘Dutch military’ to IndyCar
With 4 wins and 12 podiums in hand throughout his first Indy Lights season, Juncos Racing’s Rinus VeeKay isn’t trying to return to the highest step of the Street to Indy ladder.
The 18-year-old would want a miracle to beat Andretti Autosport’s Oliver Askew to earn the Indy Lights title, however for many who’ve seen the younger Dutchman drive, there’s little doubt as as to if he’s prepared for an NTT IndyCar Sequence commencement in 2020.
Two races stay on the Indy Lights calendar in Monterey; Askew merely wants to begin each races to clinch the championship and earn the three-race IndyCar prize that comes with the achievement. For VeeKay, including to his win tally is the purpose, all whereas making ready for the subsequent part of his profession by solidifying the place he’ll drive in IndyCar subsequent season.
“For now, I believe the subsequent week we’ll be speaking to all these guys after which additional in Laguna, it’s going to be a giant focus, present A-class efficiency from myself, and present the IndyCar groups what I can do,” he informed RACER.
VeeKay accomplished his first IndyCar check final month at Portland with the Ed Carpenter Racing group, the place he was among the many quickest drivers on a day that had Andretti Autosport’s Alexander Rossi, Ryan Hunter-Reay, and different front-running drivers in attendance.
Whereas Askew has, rightfully, garnered a lot of the consideration in Indy Lights this yr, VeeKay’s profitable IndyCar check at Portland helped elevate his profile within the IndyCar paddock in highly effective methods.
“I’ve received now fairly a couple of groups that present lots of curiosity in me,” he stated. “After the IndyCar check I walked across the observe in Gateway and lots of people know me now. It’s rather a lot completely different. It takes longer to get someplace!
“Additionally, followers and people who know rather a lot about IndyCar, they begin to acknowledge me and I believe they’re hopefully trying ahead to seeing me in IndyCar subsequent season, like I do.”
Because the 2018 Indy Professional 2000 champion, VeeKay has carried Mazda’s Soul Purple livery all season with Juncos Racing. The automobile additionally wears branding from his sponsor Jumbo, Holland’s largest grocery store chain, and with its enthusiastic assist of Dutch System 1 star Max Verstappen, the corporate is predicted to play a key function in serving to VeeKay attain IndyCar.
Though his vacation spot within the huge collection has but to be named, the hyperlinks to ECR have solely strengthened for the reason that Portland check. Carpenter hung out throughout final weekend’s Portland Grand Prix on pit lane observing Indy Lights qualifying, and through Sunday’s IndyCar race, VeeKay’s tall body was unattainable to overlook on the ECR timing stand as he listened to driver Ed Jones and his engineers all through the 105-lap contest.
Whether or not it’s with ECR or one other succesful group, VeeKay is assured the grandstands will see loads of orange on show as Dutch followers in America embrace his IndyCar journey.
“I believe it will likely be rather a lot,” he added. “For those who take a look at Max Verstappen, he has a complete orange military behind him and even within the Belgian GP, it’s all orange. In order that’s one thing I wish to take over a bit right here and I believe it’s been such a very long time since there’s been a Dutch driver in IndyCar, and particularly a successful Dutch driver.
“I believe if I can actually put the Netherlands within the highlight right here, I believe it would assist. It’s a small nation, however every part goes tremendous fast. It’s approach simpler to get your complete military behind you within the Netherlands, and we are going to see IndyCar develop rather a lot there. I believe it’s getting higher and higher too with media following IndyCar within the Netherlands. I’d wish to be the man that followers at house need to comply with in IndyCar.”