“I was on the outside and suddenly I got hit,” said Chip Ganassi Racing’s Alex Palou, who was taken out of Saturday evening’s IndyCar race at WWTR along with teammate Scott Dixon when Ed Carpenter Racing’s Rinus VeeKay speared the pair entering Turn 1 on an early restart.
“Feel really bad for myself and Alex,” said Dixon, who dropped from third to fourth in the standings. “I really don’t know what VeeKay was trying to do there. We’ve had some pretty erratic and pretty crazy driving this season, but it just seems to go unnoticed.”
Palou, who fell from first to second in the points, was left with a similar feeling after VeeKay charged into the corner, locked his front brakes while trying to shed an excessive amount of speed, and created a three-car pileup.
“I had plenty of room with Scott,” Palou said. “And Scott had plenty of room with the guy in front, and we just got there (and) there was no space. I don’t know where (VeeKay) wanted to go. We just wanted to have a clean race and get some points. Just a shame it didn’t play out like that. I don’t know what (VeeKay) was thinking.”
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VeeKay pointed the finger at the cars ahead of him for “checking up” but with Dixon and Palou as the only drivers directly ahead of his No. 21 ECR Chevy, it’s not entirely clear which cars he was referring to in the incident.
“Well, first of all, I’m very sorry for Alex and for Scott; they’re both in a good place in the championship,” VeeKay said. “So sorry for them, but really, I watched back the moments, and l had a really good restart, got on the inside of Alex and behind Scott, and I get into Turn 1. I was really focusing on Scott, just to stay behind him, and it kind of packs up and I tried to slow down. But we’re in oval spec, and I think just before I hit Scott, I’m locking up the fronts. Unfortunately, everybody knows how it happens. But all night people have been checking up, which is pretty annoying. I tried to really slow down and I just couldn’t get it to where I wanted to.”
He also absolved himself of blame for the championship-altering crash.
“I feel very sorry for everyone,” VeeKay said. “But I think I cannot really give myself a lot of blame for this.”
Palou did his best to take the outcome in stride.
“We came from 21st to 10th, so we did our job,” he said. “We got hit, but that’s racing. Still three races to go.”