Rinus Veeqay
Rinus Veeqau (Photo: Al Steinberg)

Rinus VeeKay Leads First Round Of Indy 500 Qualifying

INDIANAPOLIS – First run qualification attempts for the 106th Indianapolis 500 are complete at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway with third-year NTT IndyCar Series driver Rinus VeeKay of Ed Carpenter Racing the fastest provisional qualifier.

The 21-year-old driver from The Netherlands ran a four-lap average of 233.655 miles per hour in the No. 21 BitNile Bitcoin Chevrolet for Ed Carpenter Racing Saturday morning. That speed knocked 22-year-old Pato O’Ward of Monterey, Mexico off the top of the scoring pylon. O’Ward ran a four-lap average of 233.037 mph in the No. 5 Arrow McLaren Chevrolet. His teammate, Felix Rosenqvist, is currently third at 232.775 mph.

Juan Pablo Montoya was not allowed to qualify on the first run because his car failed technical inspection. He did make a four-lap attempt after all drivers made their one qualification attempt.

Takuma Sato’s No. 51 Honda had its speed disallowed after he failed to get off the track by exiting on the pit entry lane instead of coming back around on the race course itself. IndyCar officials wiped away Sato’s time and he also had to requalify.

Stefan Wilson also had not taken a qualification attempt but is expected to later Saturday.

Rain is approaching the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and if it washes out the remainder of qualifications, the field for Sunday’s round will be set. The Fast 12 will advance into Sunday’s qualifications and each driver will make one more four-lap run with the fastest six drivers advancing into the Fast Six.

Those six drivers will battle it out with an additional four-lap run on Sunday evening to determine the pole position and the first two rows of the 106th Indianapolis 500.

Weather permitting, teams can make additional attempts on Saturday until 6 p.m. ET.

Currently, the top 12 include VeeKay, O’Ward and Rosenqvist in Row 1, Alex Palou, Tony Kanaan and Jimmie Johnson in Row 2, Ed Carpenter, Marcus Ericsson and Romain Grosjean in Row 3 and Scott Dixon, Will Power and Josef Newgarden.

Rookie David Malukas made another attempt and knocked Newgarden out of the top 12 as second attempts are beginning.