top of page

VeeKay: Anticipating Barber's 'Long Flowing Turns', Says He Wants to be Seen as Someone 'to Beat'

Dave Furst, the Vice President of Communications for NTT IndyCar, wished Rinus Veekay (#21 for Ed Carpenter Racing) a 'happy 50th'; it seemed a bit odd because Rinus is only 22 years old.

Here is what Furst was talking about in a recent interview with the young Dutch driver, VeeKay, the 2023 pole winner for the Alabama Grand Prix, who ended that race with a podium finish- VeeKay is celebrating his 50th start with IndyCar.

That is pretty impressive for someone as young as he is. Veekay was born in 2020 so back in 2009, before his 10th birthday, Veekay won the Dutch Winter championship in Cadet class karting. He won multiple titles in various Dutch series before coming stateside for a Mazda Road to Indy test in 2015.

Veekay’s talent caught the eye of his countryman Arie Luyendyk, nicknamed "The Flying Dutchman," and winner of the 1990 and 1997 Indianapolis 500 races. Luyendyk mentored young Veekay into an IndyCar.

"50! Rinus, where has the time gone," Furst asked.

"I don't know but it is wild, I was noticing this year that I have been in IndyCar now longer period time than it took me to get into IndyCar," VeeKay answered., adding: "I still feel like a rookie sometimes."

VeeKay talked about what happened at Barber last year, which he said was the highlight of the year when he got third place; he also said he learned from his mistakes and planned to go for the win this year for this coming weekend's race.

"Barber is a great track. I like turning left and right, and what I have done since go-kart, and the setup for Barber and the IMS road course works well for us," VeeKay said.

But the disappointment over Long Beach still stings him, as he both tries to shake it off and learns not to make what he says are some big mistakes.

"We are not where we want to be right now; we have all the cards on the table to get back to last year- in the next three races. So, we have a chance to climb back up and get back to where we were last year. I like the layout of the Barber track and the flowing corners, but you need a fast car. I have to nail the driving because the talent is so high in IndyCar. People are working day and night to win, and we have to hit that. I think we are going to pick up where we left off last year.," VeeKay told the media at the NTT IndyCar Presser.

"I think we qualified well last year, and it is hard to pass at this race. For this race, you have to be smooth; you can not throw the car around like a street course., but you do have to drive hard still. It is hard to pass there, so the podium ends up looking like qualifying.," he said, talking to the media about what he hopes to see happen this year.

"Not winning last year at Barber is fuel for nightmares because we had all the ingredients to win, and that is a mistake I am not going to make again. Mistakes happen for a reason. I re-watch everything, but I have higher expectations for myself this year," when one reporter recalled that last year he was joking about race day superstitions.

"We need more than superstitions, like lucky underwear," VeeKay said with a chuckle., adding: "We have an opportunity to win here, and it is nice to have some confidence in this race."

Getting to power as soon as possible in every corner is what is important The turn hardest to pass is in turn eight near the museum; stuff can go wrong there because there is no space for two corners.

Ed Carpenter- I can ask him a lot of questions. I can always knock on his door and get something from his experience; he is a real veteran. He gives me advice on how to talk nicely to the media and to remember to thank the sponsors. What he wants is good results.

At Barber, you need to keep the tires lasting and stay consistent, hitting your mark, it is hard for the guy behind to pass at Barber, and when someone gets close- use boost to pass.

Veekay has an impressive racing history for a young man. He is an optimistic spokesman for the series, always saying positive things about IndyCar, even when the pressure to bow to Formula One comes up, time after time.

One journalist said that he had heard rumors that F1 was going to buy IndyCar and sort of merge the two circuits, which would be a nightmare to most IndyCar fans. VeeKay has been asked this question before. His answer was the same:

"I like the competition between F1 and Indy Car, and Indy Car is the series here. So I don't want Indy Car to become a step to F1," VeeKay responded.

"IndyCar is not for sale, "Furst quickly added.

Talking about his progression from a very young driver to someone who is celebrating his 50th start, he spoke about how he wants others to see him:

"iId like people to think about me- someday- that I am a driver to beat," VeeKay said, and everyone who dreams of IndyCar will appreciate that.

VeeKay likes the way IndyCar is. Like so many of us, he dreamed about it as a kid, and last year's podium finish made his dreams come true, but he was first a winner at Indianapolis at 20 years old:

Watch coverage of his first win:

When asked by a journalist about it, VeeKay said that he expects the new reality series 100 Days to Indy will be great for the fans because everyone he knows who watches Indy Car can't stop watching. "It is good fun racing. It is always a spectacle, and fans will love this series," he said.

The new show will air days before the race weekend in Alabama.

VeeKay's dream for the weekend is to place first in Alabama at the Barber Speedway. He plans to go hard and fast and qualify well, keep other cars out of his path, and enjoy what he says are long and flowing turns of this unique road course.

Here is the track:

According to the website for the race:

"Children’s of Alabama Indy Grand Prix powered by Amfirst in its 13th year in Birmingham and takes place at the world-famous Barber Motorsports Park. This three-day event features the same cars and drivers as the Indy 500. The event is attended by fans from all 50 states and countries around the world."

14 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All
bottom of page