VeeKay: “I’m not sure how much better it could have gone” after qualifying second for the Indy 500

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Rinus VeeKay qualified second for the Indy 500 for Ed Carpenter Racing and says his four-lap run was close to perfection.

The Dutchman was just six thousandths of a mph behind pole sitter Alex Palou.

“I’m not sure how much better it could have gone. The car felt the best it’s felt in qualifying trim.

“It was very close. Wow, very happy, but also a bit bummed. We had that shot, and I wish we could have done it.

“It would have been so great for the team. But also I’m bummed to be starting the Indy 500 second.

“What is in my head now is I lost, but no, I will enjoy this one, and it’s my best starting position so far in the 500, which fourth, third, third and second, we all know what comes in my car number after second, and that’s a 1.”

VeeKay said that he remained calm in the Fast Six despite the lengthy pause after the Fast 12 as he was assured of starting at least sixth on the second row of the grid.

“It’s a long day, actually longer than last year because there was a big break between the two, the Fast Twelve and the Fast Six.

“But I think I was the least nervous for the Fast Six because I already made it that far — I’m sorry, worst-case scenario I’m starting sixth. So emotions were pretty good, and also within the team was very chill.

“Just very happy to have it done now and focus towards the race.”

The 22-year-old has been a master in qualifying for the Indy 500 since his debut in 2020, starting on the front row in the last three years, as well as a superb P4 on his first qualifying bow three years ago.

VeeKay has also been the fastest driver powered by a Chevrolet engine for the previous four Indy 500’s but is yet to finish in the top five.

The Ed Carpenter Racing driver believes starting on the front row will have a lasting benefit during the 500 mile race as overtaking is tricky on the 2.5 mile track.

“I feel like even if race running when we did that in the beginning of the week, you definitely feel there’s a bunch of cars in front of you, more than three, it gets very hard to pass.

“This way if you are in the top 3 you can basically save fuel and focus on that kind of stuff to move your way forward.

“That helps, that definitely helps, and we’ve got to make sure we stay in there for the last part of the race, and then I think everyone tears it up.”