IndyCar: Rinus Veekay wins Indianapolis Grand Prix; Thomas Nepveu Top 6 in USF2000

Saturday 15 May 2021 by Philippe Brasseur

The fifth stage of the 2021 IndyCar season, the Indianapolis Grand Prix took place this Saturday on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road circuit. Author of pole position, only his third career appearance in the series, Romain Grosjean (Dalla-Honda of Dale Coyne Racing) led the start of the race, even building a lead of more than 5 seconds over Alex Palou (Dallara -Honda / Chip Ganassi Racing) before the first pit stops.

Grosjean led the majority of the 85 laps in this event but a better stopping strategy allowed Rinus Veekay (Dallara-Chevrolet from Ed Carpenter Racing) to take the lead after the last pit stops. A few lap records later, the 21-year-old Dutchman managed to keep his rival at bay and go for his first victory in the series. Grosjean finished 2nd at 5 seconds, ahead of Palou, Josef Newgarden, Graham Rahal, Simon Pagenaud, Alexander Rossi, Scott McLaughlin, Scott Dixon and Marcus Ericsson.

Once again, the race was difficult for James Hinchcliffe and Dalton Kellett, the two Canadians entered. They are ranked 18th (Hinchclife) and 20th (Kellett). Disappointment also for Jimmie Johnson. Rookie in the series, the seven-time NASCAR Cup champion finished 24th, 2 laps behind the winner. For the full ranking, click here.

This event also featured races in each of the Road To Indy supporting series. In Indy Lights, the Swede Linus Lundqvist and the American David Malukas shared the winnings. Devlin DeFrancesco finished 7th then 6th. The second Canadian to register, Torontonian Antonio Serravalle finished 121st both times. In the championship, it is Lundqvist, yet a rookie in the series, who leads.

In Indy Pro 2000, three races were on the schedule. Danish rookie Christian Rasmunssen won two and Russian Artem Petrov one. Just like in Indy lights, only 13 drivers were registered in this series, while they were double (26) in USF2000.

Again, three races were presented. After dominating the first two, Yuven Sundaramoorthy had to settle for 5th place in the third, with the victory going to the Brazilian Kiko Porto.

The only Quebecer registered in the Road To Indy sector this year, Thomas Nepveu finished these three races 9th, 8th and finally 6th. “After a successful start from 7th place on the grid of the first race on Friday, with the No.2 Cromwell / Karting Excellence / Home Hardware car, I found myself in 4th position at the end of the first of the 15 scheduled laps. But the car was missing a few tenths of a second on the lap to maintain my position and I finished the race in ninth place, ”said Thomas of the first race.

Regarding his two other weekend races, he explains: “The team then changed some settings in preparation for the second race, mainly by giving me more downforce and therefore more grip in tighter turns. However, the car lacked power again and I crossed the finish line eighth. Finally this Saturday, I managed both starts, at the start of the race and during a restart on the seventh lap, and I won a position each time. I ended up in 6th place and I defended my place until the end. On the 10th lap the car was understeering a bit and I tried to adjust my handling, however I still lack a bit of experience to compensate for these variations in the behavior of the car during a race. I’m happy with my performance this weekend and look forward to the next race, on the Lucas Oil Raceway oval in two weeks ”.

For the full Road To Indy series rankings, click on the series name to access this weekend’s results: Indy Lights, Indy Pro 2000, USF2000.

*** UPDATE SATURDAY MAY 15 6:15 PM: In USF2000, Christian Brooks (finished 3rd) was excluded from the results of the 3rd race. This allows Thomas Nepveu to be officially classified fifth and not sixth in this event. This is his first Top 5 in the series.

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