Join motor sports insider Nathan Brown as he recaps the first day of qualifying for the Indianapolis 500.

Indianapolis Star

INDIANAPOLIS – Dutch IndyCar driver Rinus VeeKay shaves every day, but not because he needs to do it. He just likes the way it feels, that razor scraping across his skin. Plus it makes him feel older, no small thing for the youngest driver in the 2020 Indianapolis 500. Born on Sept. 11, 2000, VeeKay is 19. He’s hurrying toward something. Greatness, most likely.

VeeKay was the lone Chevrolet driver to crash Honda’s speed party Saturday at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, busting Honda’s monopoly of the Fast Nine Shootout by qualifying sixth. He’s the only Chevy driver in the top 12.

“It doesn’t feel quick enough,” VeeKay said afterward, because it’s like I’m telling you: He’s in a hurry. He’ll probably break a few things along the way – he was literally the first driver to crash this year in the 2020 IndyCar series, a one-car accident in practice – but he’ll get there.

On Saturday he drew an early spot in qualifying, a lucky break on a steamy day. VeeKay went out fourth, before noon, posting the fastest time to date at 231.114 mph. He held first until Alexander Rossi, the 12th driver on the track, and slipped to fifth after one trip through the 33-car field. Series leader Scott Dixon went out two more times, and on his third try edged VeeKay for fifth at 231.155 mph.

Best Indy 500 coverage anywhere:

Ed Carpenter Racing driver Rinus VeeKay (21) makes his way to the track before qualifying for the 104th Indianapolis 500 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway on Saturday, Aug. 15, 2020. (Photo: Mykal McEldowney/IndyStar)

VeeKay never went back out, yielding the fastest time of the day to Marco Andretti’s 231.351 mph, followed by Ryan Hunter-Reay, Rossi, James Hinchcliffe and Dixon.

VeeKay is in a hurry, yes, but he doesn’t call the shots. He works for Ed Carpenter, see, and VeeKay has learned not to irritate his mild-mannered boss. That happened earlier this year, in Texas, and as VeeKay’s mentor and hero Arie Luyendyk was reminding him on Saturday: “Listen to Ed.”

Meanwhile, let’s listen to James Hinchcliffe, the popular Canadian driver, after one of the most harrowing days of the IndyCar season – Indy 500 qualifying day, when teams try to squeeze thousandths of a second from their four-wheel rocket ships:

“You have to be a special kind of crazy to do this,” Hinch was saying.

To which I say: Rinus VeeKay was born for this.


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