Andretti Autosport rookie Zach Veach said that race-rustiness was the main contributor to a St Petersburg performance peppered with “too many mistakes”.
Veach was forced to pit for a new nose early in the race after sustaining damage through contact while trying to pass Tony Kanaan. The 23-year-old took responsibility for the crash, and said that not racing for most of 2017 had taken the edge off his ability to make split-second judgments.
“Today was just too messy, honestly,” he said. “The biggest thing that hurt me was taking that year off of racing. Once you’re in these situations over and over again, you’re honed and jump into it – it’s easy to minimize the mistakes. There were just too many of them today from me to be proud of. I want to apologize to [Tony] Kanaan. He kind of left the doorway open and, I felt, invited me in, and it didn’t work out for either of us.”
Veach, who is at the beginning of a three-year deal with Andretti, went on to finish 16th, and said that he expects seat time to translate into improved consistency as the season unfolds.
“You’re going to have good days and bad days,” he said. “It’s just all about consistency. The speed is there, it’s just all of the details I have to clean up. Most of all, I can take away patience. Just understanding how the races are going to fold out. And just how long the races actually are. The two races I did last year really don’t quantify how long these races are. The more I get under my belt, the easier it will get.”