Rinus VeeKay breaks finger in hard crash early in Indy 500 test before rain halts session


A contrite Rinus VeeKay was cleared to drive after breaking a finger during a hard crash early in the Indy 500 test Thursday at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

The Ed Carpenter Racing driver was first on track and lost control of his No. 21 Dallara-Chevrolet entering Turn 1 just minutes after the two-day session at the 2.5-mile oval went green at 11 a.m.

“I’m OK; my hand’s a little beat up, but I’m all right,” VeeKay told NBC Sports pit reporter Kevin Lee during the Peacock broadcast. “I can drive again. I want to say sorry to the team, of course. The start of the test and wanted to do as many laps as possible and be successful. Just ended extremely early here. So very, very unfortunate. I’m very sorry. But it was a very weird moment.”

NBC Sports pit reporter Marty Snider reported Friday that VeeKay broke the index finger on his left hand and would be seeing a hand specialist to fit a brace for driving in the April 18 season opener at Barber Motorsports Park. VeeKay later stopped by the NBC Sports set Friday for an interview and said he was confident his driving at Barber would be unaffected by the injury.

Snider said Ed Carpenter Racing decided to focus on its other two cars in testing Friday at IMS rather than rush to repair VeeKay’s Indy 500 primary car. The car’s tub avoided a crack, but the damage was extensive, and the team’s backup was its primary car for Barber.

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HOW TO WATCH ON PEACOCK: Details for the two-day Indy 500 test

Despite a morning rain, Thursday’s test started on time with a dry track but with a heavy headwind from the south down the front straightaway. IndyCar on NBC analyst Townsend Bell said such a wind direction is unusual during typical Indy 500 practice and race conditions in May and possibly caught VeeKay off guard with unexpected understeer in Turn 1.

“Indy should be flat and have a tailwind in (Turn) 3, so it should be very safe going flat out into 1 with headwinds,” VeeKay told Lee outside the care center. “And I did that, and it felt good on entry, and then from mid-corner, the front dipped down, and I lost it. So once that happens, you’re a passenger.

“I’m going to go back to the trailer now and see what happened exactly, yeah. Just leave this behind and make sure we only learn from this and go better onward.”

“He’s still young, as much as you talk about things, sometimes you have to make mistakes for yourself,” team owner Ed Carpenter told Snider in a Thursday interview during IndyCar on NBC coverage. “I’ve been there. A lot of us have been there. The good and bad of it is he is a super confident kid with a lot of ability, sometimes that leads to mistakes like that just getting a little ahead of himself. He was the first car out and was probably just a little aggressive today.”

VeeKay had the only incident in an abbreviated day of testing, but other drivers did take note of the wind. Alexander Rossi said the gusts weren’t overly disruptive to the cars’ aerodynamics.

“With the amount of downforce we have on, no, it’s not a big deal,” Rossi told Lee in a pit lane interview. “If we were doing qualifying sims, it would be pretty terrifying, actually, but you’re on race-level downforce, so it’s pretty manageable.”

Carpenter said the crash would affect the team’s rotation of cars, “but we’ve got a lot of very good people at Ed Carpenter Racing, and we’ll get it put back together and be ready to go.”

Last season, VeeKay crashed twice at Texas Motor Speedway in the season’s opening weekend but rebounded to capture a pole position at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course on the way to being named the 2020 IndyCar Rookie of the Year. He also qualified fourth for the 2020 Indy 500.

TESTING RESULTS: Click here for veteran speeds Thursday

After just under 90 minutes, the test was halted by another shower that soaked the IMS surface, cutting short the final 30 minutes of practice for veterans. The two-hour Rookie Orientation Program, scheduled to begin at 1 p.m. ET, also was on hold.

After a lengthy delay, IMS reopened at 6 p.m. ET for an hourlong Rookie Orientation Program and refresher that ended at around 7:10 p.m.

ROOKIE ORIENTATION PROGRAM: Click here for speeds Thursday

The news wasn’t all bad Thursday for ECR as VeeKay’s teammates, Conor Daly (222.714 mph) and Ed Carpenter (221.296), ranked 1-2 atop the speed chart shortly before the rain.

Daly and Carpenter both said during IndyCar on NBC coverage that their fast laps came in the draft.

“It’s always nice,” Carpenter said. “At this stage, we ran so few laps and a lot of guys hadn’t run, so don’t read too much into it just yet. We both had tows, but the initial feel is pretty good. I think the team has done a nice job over the winter. We had one good horse last year, and we need three.”

2023 SuperMotocross Power Rankings after Seattle: Cooper Webb, Eli Tomac overtake Chase Sexton


Another crash while leading at Seattle dropped Chase Sexton from the top of the NBC SuperMotocross Power Rankings while solid performances by Cooper Webb and Eli Tomac allow them to climb the chart and threaten to make this a two-rider battle with six rounds remaining in the 2023 Monster Energy Supercross season.

SuperMotocross Power Rankings Seattle
Cooper Webb wags his finger at Chase Sexton after winning his heat in Seattle. – Feld Motor Sports

During the race, Webb knew he had ground to make up. Riding behind both Tomac and Sexton early in the Main, he was as far back as fifth on Lap 7 at Seattle. That position would cost him the red plate and give away the advantage he began to build with his first win of the season in Tampa. Sexton is often at his best as he battles from the back and he methodically worked his way through the field. At the end of the feature, he was nearly five seconds off Tomac’s pace, but during the past 45 days, he holds the advantage. A resurgent Tomac that could erase that advantage quickly though.

Tomac struggled in Indianapolis with a neck strain. That contributed to his worst performance of 2023 and his second result outside the top five. He finished third in Detroit two weeks ago, but it was a distant third after finishing off the podium in his heat during that round. In Seattle, it appeared the same thing might happen when Tomac finished third in the prelim behind his two principal competitors Webb and Sexton. The Main was a different story.

Tomac dropped to fourth in the opening laps behind both of his rivals early in the race, but he got around Webb on Lap 2 and kept charging. When Sexton fell to the ground on Lap 11 and dropped to fourth, Tomac was in position to strike. He scored his sixth win of the season to tie James Stewart for second on the all-time wins list. He now shares the red plate with Webb as the rounds wind down.

MORE: Eli Tomac gets rebound win in Seattle

Sexton has the speed, but he lacks the seasoning of Webb and Tomac. He’s pressing hard on every lap and that has bitten him several times this year. Sexton’s mistakes are costing him with a 10th-place finish at Indy, the loss of seven points at Detroit and a fifth in Seattle as the riders he’s battling stood on the podium. No one seriously questions Sexton’s talent or speed, but ultimately the results are what counts.

Justin Barcia is hitting his stride. He advances two positions this week after scoring his fourth consecutive top-five and second podium in that span of races. Barcia finished between sixth and eighth in five consecutive rounds from Anaheim 2 through Arlington, but he’s mostly avoided controversy and that puts him fourth in this week’s SuperMotocross Power Rankings after Seattle.

Jason Anderson had a solid performance in Seattle, but with a fifth-place finish in his heat and fourth in the Main he just keeps losing a little ground to the leaders. The biggest impact to his standing in the NBC Power Rankings is a 10th-place finish in Indianapolis that will take a while to age out of the 45-day formula. He’s tied for fourth in the championship points with Ken Roczen, who sits sixth in the rankings below. It’s important to be the rider “best in class” with Webb, Tomac and Sexton stealing the show.

450 Rankings

Rider Power
1. Cooper Webb 87.77 2 1
2. Eli Tomac 86.23 3 1
3. Chase Sexton 85.77 1 -2
4. Justin Barcia 80.71 6 2
5. Jason Anderson 80.69 4 -1
6. Ken Roczen 80.46 5 -1
7. Aaron Plessinger 75.86 7 0
8. Adam Cianciarulo 71.13 8 0
9. Christian Craig 69.86 9 0
10. Justin Cooper 62.88 10 0
11. Justin Hill 59.86 11 0
12. Dean Wilson 52.86 12 0
13. Josh Hill 49.00 15 2
14. Colt Nichols 48.67 13 -1
15. Shane McElrath 45.62 14 -1
16. Benny Bloss 43.00 16 0
17. Grant Harlan 38.08 20 3
18. Max Miller 37.67 24 6
19. Lane Shaw 36.67 21 2
20. Cade Clason 34.67 19 -1

Supercross 450 Points

The 250 West riders were back in action in Seattle and that gave Jett Lawrence the opportunity to break out of a tie with his brother Hunter Lawrence on the all-time wins list. It also provided Jett the opportunity to take back the top spot in the NBC SuperMotocross Power Rankings after Seattle.

SuperMotocross Power Rankings Seattle
Jett Lawrence regained the top spot overall in the NBC SuperMotocross Power Rankings with a near-perfect race in Seattle. – Feld Motor Sports

Jett has stood on the podium in every race this year with the exception of the second Triple Crown race at Anaheim 2 and that level of perfection gives him bragging rights. Rest assured that while the two brothers have a bond that is unapparelled in motorsports, there is no one they would rather beat. Neither has been particularly successful in Triple Crown rounds this year, however, and Jett could lose his advantage in two weeks in Glendale, Arizona under that format.

Lawrence is now two wins away from capturing the fourth-most wins at this level.

A rivalry is developing between Lawrence and Cameron McAdoo. Tired of losing to the affable Australian, McAdoo pushed the envelope last week in Seattle. He crowded Lawrence in the whoops during their heat race and sent both to the ground. That frustration could bubble over with four rounds remaining. One thing is certain, when these two riders are in proximity on the track, the cameras will be aimed in their direction.

Supercross 250 Points

A little means a lot this season. Finishing second to Lawrence in four of five rounds, RJ Hampshire would be losing ground to the leader no matter what, but an 11th-place finish in the overall at Anaheim 2 places him eighth on the chart below behind two of the 250 West riders and five 250 East competitors.

In the mains, Levi Kitchen has been all over the board with a win, one more top-five, two results on the high side of the single digits and a crash-induced 21st at San Diego. He’s really shown his speed in the heats, however, with a perfect record of top-fives and a win.

Mitchell Oldenburg makes the top five list among West riders with a perfect record of top-10 finishes. He’s heading in the wrong direction, however, falling from ninth overall to 11th after finishing outside the top five in both his heat and the Main last week.

250 Rankings

Rider Power
1. Jett Lawrence – W 90.75 2 1
2. Hunter Lawrence – E 90.43 1 -1
3. Nate Thrasher – E 84.00 3 0
4. Cameron McAdoo – W 80.50 4 0
5. Haiden Deegan – E 78.21 5 0
6. Jeremy Martin – E 78.00 6 0
7. Jordon Smith – E 76.77 7 0
8. RJ Hampshire – W 76.75 10 2
9. Levi Kitchen – W 76.67 8 -1
10. Max Anstie – E 74.43 11 1
11. Mitchell Oldenburg – W 73.67 9 -2
12. Max Vohland – W 72.55 13 1
13. Tom Vialle – E 72.07 12 -1
14. Pierce Brown – W 68.64 19 5
15. Enzo Lopes – W 67.83 17 2
16. Chris Blose – E 67.43 15 -1
17. Chance Hymas – E 67.10 16 -1
18. Michael Mosiman – E 65.80 18 0
19. Stilez Robertson – W 64.45 14 -5
20. Phil Nicoletti – W 59.25 20 0

* The NBC Power Rankings assign 100 points to a Main event winner and 90 points for each Heat and Triple Crown win, (Triple Crown wins are included with heat wins below the rider’s name). The points decrement by a percentage equal to the number of riders in the field until the last place rider in each event receives five points. The Power Ranking is the average of these percentage points over the past 45 days for the 450 class and last 90 days for 250s (because of the split nature of their season).

POWER RANKINGS AFTER WEEK 10 AT SEATTLE: Chase Sexton narrowly leads Cooper Webb
POWER RANKINGS AFTER WEEK 7 AT ARLINGTON: Jason Anderson narrowly trails Tomac
POWER RANKINGS AFTER WEEK 6 AT OAKLAND: Perfect night keeps Tomac first
POWER RANKINGS AFTER WEEK 4 AT HOUSTON: Tomac rebounds from A2 crash, retakes lead
POWER RANKINGS AFTER WEEK 3 AT ANAHEIM 2: Consistency makes Ken Roczen king
POWER RANKINGS AFTER WEEK 2 AT SAN DIEGO: Roczen moves up, Sexton falls
POWER RANKINGS AFTER WEEK 1 AT ANAHEIM 1: Tomac, Jett Lawrence gain an early advantage