Monday, May 20, 2024

QUALIFYING NOTES: Streets of Toronto

INITIAL POSITIONS

12: RINUS WEEKAY No. 21 BITNILE.COM
21: RYAN HUNTER-REAY No. 20 BITNILE.COM

RACE: Honda Indy Toronto
STATE: The streets of Toronto
LOCATION: Toronto, Ontario, Canada
WORK PRESENTATION: 11-turn, 1,786 mile road circuit
DURING THE WOMAN: 85 laps

TRANSMISSION: Sunday – 1:30pm ET (Peacock Premium)

RYAN HUNTER-REAY, NO. 20 BITNILE.COM CHEVROLET

RYAN HUNTER-REAY, No. 20 BitNile Chevrolet, qualified 21st: “Leading into qualifying, the BITNILE.COM Chevrolet was a pretty good car. This morning’s practice was a bit messy and we didn’t manage to finish a run on the new tyres. Unfortunately, we were a little short on time in qualifying and didn’t get a lap on our second set of alternate tires. That’s when everyone went faster, so that was the key. We’ll do our best in the race and go from there.”

FOR NOTE:

Yesterday’s practice session marked Ryan Hunter-Reay’s first laps on the streets of Toronto since 2019 and first laps of the road course with Ed Carpenter Racing. After the second practice session this morning, he was assigned to the first round, Group 1 of qualifying. He was in his second set of Firestone’s green-walled alternative Firehawks when rain began to pour down the track. As the track conditions deteriorated, Hunter-Reay was unable to set a fast time on the fresh set of tyres. He will start 21st at the Honda Indy Toronto tomorrow.

• Hunter-Reay is one of the most experienced drivers in the field this weekend with 16 Indy car starts on the Toronto street circuit dating back to 2003. He has posted a podium finish three years in a row, culminating in a win in 2012. The Fort Lauderdale, Fla.-based driver. is a NTT INDYCAR SERIES champion (2012) with 18 career wins, including the 2014 Indianapolis 500.

• Hunter-Reay, recognized as one of America’s most successful open-wheel racing drivers, brings a wealth of experience to Ed Carpenter Racing with an INDYCAR career spanning two decades. Hunter-Reay joined ECR as driver of the No. 20 BITNILE.COM Chevrolet before the Road America weekend last month. In his first race with the team, he gained 10 positions during the race.

RINUS WEEKAY, NO. 21 BITNILE.COM CHEVROLET

RINUS WEEKAY, No. 21 BITNILE.COM Chevrolet, Qualified 12th: “I am confident with Chevrolet no. 21 BITNILE.COM. We are really fast in the dry. In Fast 12 – I have never driven a race car in the rain on a street course! I have only driven in the rain once and that was about five years ago in Malaysia. It was a good performance to get into the Fast 12. It’s been kind of a struggle this weekend, but we’ve persevered. The crew did a great job. We have a good pace for tomorrow. It looks like it will stay dry, so that’s a positive. We’ll make it a good one!”

FOR NOTE:

In his second NTT INDYCAR SERIES weekend on the streets of Toronto, Rinus VeeKay had his first experience driving an NTT INDYCAR SERIES car on a wet circuit. In the second set of green Firehawks in Round 1, Group 1 qualifying, VeeKay moved up to 2nd on the timesheets with his strongest lap of the weekend. With the rain starting, he easily made it to the second round. The rain eased before round 2, but the track was still wet and rain tires were needed. VeeKay navigated the rain-soaked course without incident and learned the car’s characteristics on a wet track. He will start tomorrow in 12th place, his best road starting position of the season.

• VeeKay has spent his entire NTT INDYCAR SERIES career with Ed Carpenter Racing and is the team’s longest-serving full-time driver, now in his fourth season behind the wheel of the No. 1 Chevrolet. 21. VeeKay raced in his first NTT INDYCAR SERIES start in Toronto last year and paced the field for 13 laps. While on the Road to Indy, he raced the road circuit six times and earned five podium finishes.

Born in Hoofddorp, Netherlands, Rinus van Kalmthout started karting in 2009 at the age of 8. With his sights set on the NTT INDYCAR SERIES, he switched to the Road to Indy in 2017 and began his US career driving as Rinus VeeKay. Just four years into his time in the United States, he not only made it to the NTT INDYCAR SERIES, but earned 2020 Rookie of the Year honors. He became the NTT INDYCAR SERIES race winner in May of 2021 with a road course victory Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

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