Rinus VeeKay announced his arrival in IndyCar with a pole, a podium and two top-fives in his debut season at the wheel of Ed Carpenter Racing’s No.21, and in doing so, became the first Chevrolet-powered driver in nearly 30 years to claim the series’ Rookie of the Year honors.
“I was minus-eight back then (in 1992), so that’s pretty crazy,” said the Dutchman. “I had to do a video for T.K., everyone had to do that, and I’m like, ‘Well, I actually didn’t really know him back then.’ I met him of course, but we were not personal or friends or anything. And then I’m just like, ‘Well, Tony you’ve been in IndyCar since I was like, minus-two or minus-three!’”
VeeKay’s debut came in a season defined by limited track time due to the effects of the pandemic, which meant that the Dutchman had to do a lot of his preparation work in Chevrolet’s simulator.
“We spent a lot of time in the simulator on setup work, not only driving,” he said. “We tried setups in the sim, and we bought them over to the race track. And it worked exactly the same as in the simulator. So it’s verifiable, you can try a lot, there’s no there’s no damage or anything. It was a big advantage.
I’ve driven different simulators before, but the setups were never really the same. But then the one from Chevy, it just translated the same way from the simulator to the racetrack. So very surprising, very good.”
There’s a bit of a wait before VeeKay and the rest of the field head back out onto the track for the first practice session of 2021, so in the meantime, courtesy of Chevy, here’s his own take on his first IndyCar season, and one that he’s excited to build upon.
“It seems that most of the Rookies of the Year go on to be successful in IndyCar,” he said. “I’m very happy to be on the list and especially with a Chevy, which hasn’t happened in many years. So I’m very happy with that, and I cannot wait to not be a rookie next year and fight with those guys again.”