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Rinus VeeKay’s wild first day of Indy 500 qualifying

Rinus VeeKay on the track at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway during the first day of qualifiers for the Indianapolis 500 on May 18, 2024. (Provided Photo/Penske Entertainment/Karl Zemlin)

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Ed Carpenter Racing’s Rinus VeeKay had a memorable Saturday at Indianapolis Motor Speedway during day one of qualifying for the 108th Running of the Indianapolis 500.

VeeKay was the fourth qualifier of the day. And during his first qualifying attempt, he crashed into the Turn 3 wall.

“It was fine on entry, everything was fine, and then I just got a huge snap,” VeeKay said after the crash. “I’ve never been close to having a snap like that here on this speedway, so I tried to save it but couldn’t catch it anymore.”

It took a lot of hard work, but the team was able to get VeeKay back out on the oval later in the day to attempt two official qualifying attempts. The first attempt put him 28th in the field, but with minutes to go until the day came to an end, he withdrew his time and went out onto track, posting the 11th fastest four-lap average of the day.

His four-lap average of 232.419 mph puts him in the Fast 12 on Sunday with a chance to win the pole for the Indy 500.

“(I’m) ready to drive tomorrow,” VeeKay said. “Driving for pole. It’s just incredible. I never gave up. The hopes went down a little bit after this morning of course. Just in the amount of time the team got the car ready, and the kind of speed that car had with spare parts, is insane. I’m just so proud of the team, so proud of the guys.”

VeeKay has never started lower than fourth in the Indy 500.

“This was a total team effort to get the No. 21 car into the Fast 12,” Ed Carpenter Racing President Tim Broyles said in a news release. “When you look at the work that went in to get that car on the race track and all the different color shirts working on the car, that is a testament to our whole team. These guys deserve to see that car in the Fast 12 and I am really proud of that. I am proud of this whole team and it is a team victory.”