Rinus VeeKay was caught in up in the opening lap crash of the IndyCar race from Barber Motorsports Park, but his team made the right calls and was able to help him maximize his situation.
The young Dutch driver did not get the worst end of the multi-car pileup which saw multiple drivers end their day prematurely, but he didn’t make it through unscathed either.
His #21 Ed Carpenter Racing Chevy was skidding completely sideways at one point, and ended up bouncing off Colton Herta’s heavily-damaged car.
VeeKay was able to continue around to the pits with a few scrapes and a punctured tire, but had to restart the race from the back of the pack after being serviced by his crew.
Through some good strategy calls from his team, he was able to march his way through the field over the remainder of the 90-lap race, and ended the day with a solid sixth-place finish.
After the race, VeeKay gave credit to his team for making the right calls that allowed him to recover from near disaster on the first lap of the season.
“That crash was crazy,” said VeeKay after the race. “Got into a lot of trouble in the first lap.
“I actually just braced for impact. I saw cars going all ways, hit the brakes, and unfortunately got my right rear tire in the grass.
“I spun and lost the car. Luckily was able to save it and just got a left front puncture.
“The team was awesome with strategy. The car felt awesome. I could push all the time. Awesome teamwork. I kept pushing, and top six was very good. Very happy with it.
“Awesome recovery and all I could wish for today. I’m super excited to get going next weekend and I think we can do even better.”
This weekend, IndyCar travels to the streets of Florida for the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg.