INDIANAPOLIS – History repeated itself for Rinus VeeKay as the 2020 Indianapolis 500 Rookie of the Year was the first driver to crash in Thursday’s open test for the 105th Indianapolis 500 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
VeeKay was also the first to crash in the first practice of the 2020 NTT IndyCar Series season. After the season was delayed until June 6 because of the COVID-19 pandemic, IndyCar’s first official practice was at Texas Motor Speedway the same day as the Genesys 300. That day, VeeKay crashed in turn two a the 1.5-mile high-banked oval.
Thursday morning at IMS, VeeKay was up to speed early in the session before he lost control of his No. 21 Sonax Chevrolet for Ed Carpenter Racing in turn one. The car slid, hit nose first into the outside wall and then spun again before coming to a rest.
The 20-year-old driver from The Netherlands was able to get out of the crashed car on his own but was taken to the IU Health Infield Care Center by the AMR Safety Crew. He was examined and released and cleared to drive. He later confirmed on Twitter he suffered a broken finger in the crash.
Note to self: don’t post on social media you’re ready for the season with testing still to go. Nasty wind from the side swept me into the wall. Broken finger, but good to go again. Sorry to the team, these days were meant to get as many laps and I’m gutted we can’t do that now… pic.twitter.com/MnLZ81uAFH
— Rinus VeeKay (@rinusveekay) April 8, 2021
VeeKay was on his fifth lap at the time of his crash. He had just completed a fast lap of 217.539 mph around the 2.5-mile oval.
“I want to say sorry to the team, of course,” VeeKay said after he was released from the Infield Hospital. “I wanted to do as many laps as possible and be successful. And it just ended completely early, and it’s very, very unfortunate and I’m very sorry.
“It was a very weird moment… I was just building… You have a tailwind in [turn] three so it should be very safe going flat-out into turn one with a headwind, and so I did that. It felt good on entry but then just the front dipped down, and I lost it. Once that happens, you’re a passenger.
“So, I’m going to go back to the trailer now and see what happened exactly. Just leave this behind and make sure we only learn from this and go better onwards.”
Rain began to fall at 12:45 p.m. ET, one hour and 45 minutes into the two-day test session.
Conor Daly of Carlin Racing was the fastest driver at the time rain stopped the session. Daly ran a fast lap of 222.714 mph in the No. 47 Carlin Chevrolet. Ed Carpenter was second quick at 221.296 mph. Six-time NTT IndyCar Series champion Scott Dixon was third at 220.575 mph in the No. 9 PNC Bank Honda.
Dixon’s former teammate, Felix Rosenqvist, was fourth in the No. 7 Arrow McLaren SP Chevrolet at 220.860 mph. Rosenqvist’s teammate, Pato O’Ward, was fifth at 220.233 mph.
Thirty-one drivers have clocked lap times so far at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.