CHEVY NTT INDYCAR SERIES ROAD AMERICA: Rinus Veekay Teleconference Transcript

JULY 9, 2020

RINUS VEEKAY, DRIVER OF THE NO. 21 DIRECT SUPPLY ED CARPENTER RACING CHEVROLET, met with members of the media via video cconference. Full transcript:

THE MODERATOR: Welcome, everybody, to today’s pre-event REV Group Grand Prix video conference. We’re joined by a drivers who will compete this weekend in the REV Group Grand Prix doubleheader. We are joined by Rinus VeeKay of Ed Carpenter Racing,
Rinus, fifth place, your first top five in the NTT INDYCAR Series. Talk about your performance at Indy, the momentum heading into the REV Group Grand Prix at Road America.
RINUS VEEKAY: Yeah, I just feel very happy to finally have my first top five in INDYCAR. It was a tough start in Texas. I worked hard in the past month to make sure that I would be prepared as best as possible for Indy. That, yeah, worked. Indy was a nice weekend. Everything was according to plan.
Yeah, I was very happy with that. Have to thank the team for that. Yeah, it was just a great weekend. Make me smile when I think about it. I think we can go into the REV Group Grand Prix with the same mentality, hopefully go for more top fives or even a podium.
THE MODERATOR: We’ll open it up for questions.
Q. We’re going to do something different this week: have fans. First race with spectators there. How cool is that going to be for you?
RINUS VEEKAY: I’m excited also. To finally have fans, especially at Road America, it really makes the race weekend. Normally when you drive through there, you can smell the barbecues. It would be less fun if we had no fans there. Of course, it’s different still. At least there’s people that will be able to see us drive in real life.
I’m happy with that and I think the fans will be happy with it, too.
Q. How do you look at the demands of having four races over a seven-day period at two different tracks
RINUS VEEKAY: Yeah, it’s going to be tough having back-to-back doubleheaders. Of course, it’s going to be really hot. I experienced in Indy that it was one of the toughest conditions I’ve ever driven in, being in the car with it being so hot.
I think it will be important to recover well between races. It will be, yeah, tough. In Road America, you got a lot of rest on the straightaways. That’s a plus. In Iowa, you’re just working the whole time.
I’m curious to see how it works. I’m planning to finish in Iowa. Let’s see how elbow feels in the full race. I’m excited, yeah, I feel happy to have four races in two weeks.
Q. We’ve already talked a lot about the heat. The turnaround on this one is especially tough. Could you have raced again 16 hours after you finished at Indy? Is that going to be really hard to think about attacking another 55 laps that soon after Saturday?
RINUS VEEKAY: Yeah, I think it will be tough recovering from a full day of practice, qualifying and race. I think it will be interesting to see, too, with only having one practice, then having qualifying, then a full race where you can learn and set up a car, then having another qualifying which will be I think a lot different. Yeah, it will be exciting for me to see.
Yeah, Road America is my favorite track. I cannot wait to go there and drive one of the quickest cars in the world on that track.
Q. Are you getting any indication that anything can be done to get you a little more air to try to make improvement on your ability to keep cool?
RINUS VEEKAY: I think it will be a little bit better with the longer straights this weekend. But also an issue last weekend was the water bottle being extremely hot. We have been able to give the water bottle a different location so it gets a little bit more airflow and stays colder. I think that will help, yeah, just cool water to cool us down. We’ll see how that goes.
Q. Rinus, you mentioned the tough start at Texas. After the race Ed Carpenter said they still loved you but wished you would have taken his advice on going high. Can you explain what those discussions were like? How difficult was it for you to come back losing two cars in the opener?
RINUS VEEKAY: It was definitely tough. It was, like, the biggest setback I’ve had in my career. But, yeah, it’s like being young: you do something wrong and your parents, they make sure you don’t do it ever again.
Yeah, we had a month to work on it, make sure my preparation was as good as it could get. Of course, before Texas I’ve had the most trouble getting into the country. That wasn’t ideal. I think that kind of affected my focus throughout the weekend.
Then in Indy, I just spent the whole month looking at onboard data, everything I could. Yeah, I was so prepared that I stepped into the car and it felt like I had already done a few days of driving.
Q. Did you have any moments at Indy where you approached it differently based on what you had done at Texas? Is it hard to strike the balance of being conservative and being fast enough to show your speed?
RINUS VEEKAY: Yeah, so in the first practice we could do quite a few laps. I just started off with braking points that were safe for me, that I didn’t lock tires and destroy my tires for the rest of practice. I started easy, moments where I thought, If I go further, it will snap or I will lose the car. I just built it up very slowly.
At the end of the weekend, I got a top five in my second INDYCAR race. Very happy with it.
Q. What is the biggest priority with the cockpit situation? Is it getting the water in the right place, getting cool? Would you like to see an extra hose in there for a bit more air? What are the things you’re looking at to be the priorities being sorted?
RINUS VEEKAY: Well, I think it’s both. Of course, you need to hydrate as good as possible. It’s going to be hot in the car anyway. I think it’s never going to be perfect. Yeah, it’s tough to say.
I would like to have another hose. Also there’s a lot of debris, rubber, little stones coming into the helmet duct, getting into the helmet.
It’s kind of give or take. I think Indy was kind of the worst situations we will get this year. We’ll see. But at least I got my first experience, know what to expect for the future.
Q. What was it like racing without fans? How much of a different dynamic is it going to be? Y’all talked about how the heat affected y’all in Indianapolis. I’ve heard some drivers talk about how much weight they lost. How do you recover from that, go about recovering and preparing for a doubleheader this weekend?
RINUS VEEKAY: I thought Indy was really hot. You’re constantly working there. You got like one real straight where you’re just going straight. I think to recover, it will never be 100%, so you always will be a little tired from the day before, a little sore.
At least for the rookies that had their first INDYCAR road course, the first time is always the worst. I think now with the doubleheader it will be important to just have good nutrition and good sleep. I think it will be mostly about that instead of taking it easy in the first race or something.
Q. Rinus, obviously you’ve had experience at the Indy road course, but also you have a lot of experience from Road America. What did you learn at Indy that you can bring forward for the two races this weekend?
RINUS VEEKAY: Well, I really kind of got my first taste of real fuel saving in a long stint. I’ve never driven more than 15 laps in an INDYCAR back-to-back.
Yeah, this was a whole different experience. I was kind of tense in the car, so I kind of held my shoulders up, which was hurting at the end of the race. I kind of know not to do that in Road America.
But also it’s just all the little things, pit stops, having a direct race in pit lane, all the things where you can save a little bit of time, it will just be crucial at the end of a race.
Yeah, I think overall just have more experience. I’ve had 80 more laps in an INDYCAR which is quite something that you would take forward. Doing long stints on the red, I kind of know how they behave now.
For the future, I really learn all the time.

American Muscle

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