Rinus VeeKay told The Associated Press his return to the NTT IndyCar Series from a shoulder injury could happen in the July 4 race at Mid-Ohio.
The rising IndyCar star will miss Sunday’s race at Road America in Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin, but is determined to be back in the car and salvage his promising season for Ed Carpenter Racing driver. VeeKay was on a 75-mile training ride when he lost control of his bicycle, flew over the handlebars and landed so hard that he cracked his helmet and his left shoulder.
He said he twice nearly blacked out on the trail from the pain, and his trainer had to leave him to go to the main road and call an ambulance. He was taken to a hospital in Hobart, Indiana, where X-rays confirmed a broken collarbone.
“Everyone is very, very sure that I can drive in Mid-Ohio,” VeeKay said Thursday during a drive to Milwaukee, where he planned to have lunch with the CEO of Direct Supply, the company sponsoring his Ed Carpenter Racing Chevrolet this weekend at Road America.
VeeKay also is at Road America all weekend supporting ECR and having fun with Askew while trying not to be upset to see someone else driving his car. The 20-year-old Dutchman scored his first career IndyCar victory in May on the road course at Indianapolis and is fifth in the standings, 56 points behind leader Pato O’Ward in a changing of the guard season of IndyCar.
“I think it’s going to be a little bit hard, of course, to get reminded once you see the cars take off,” VeeKay said. “I’m just going to be at the track trying to learn as much as possible and still be a big part of the team.”
VeeKay and his trainer, Raun Grobben, left Detroit following the IndyCar doubleheader and headed toward Chicago for their training ride Monday. VeeKay’s parents went to the beach while he and Grobben went for a ride that dipped into Indiana on a “trail with good asphalt. No cars, no motorcyclists, we were just the only ones out there and taking it easy, just chatting.”
He said he doesn’t know what caused him to lose control of his bike but that Grobben tried to grab him and stop the fall and suffered tire burns on his arm and knee.
“He’s like `Are you OK?’ and I said `Well, I think I broke my collarbone,’ ” Veekay said. “I just kept hoping it was pulled out of the socket or something.”
VeeKay acknowledged he was “a little bit scared to call my father” because he knew Marijn van Kalmthout was going to be angry.
“You know it takes a lot of effort (to make it in racing) and he was definitely not happy. I will just call it very upset,” VeeKay said. His parents picked him up and drove VeeKay and his trainer to Indianapolis, where VeeKay underwent surgery Tuesday to insert a plate in his collarbone.
VeeKay says his parents had been scheduled to be at Road America this weekend, but they have returned to the Netherlands because he is not racing.
VeeKay has since connected with two-time IndyCar champion Josef Newgarden, who broke his collarbone in a 2016 crash at Texas while driving for ECR. Newgarden had the same surgery and didn’t miss a race – he was back in the car at the next scheduled IndyCar event two weeks later and finished eighth.
“I talked to Josef about the pain and anything he felt when he was driving so I can prepare for that,” VeeKay said. “We are part of a very exclusive `Driving with a Titanium Collarbone Club.’ Josef thinks I am going to be all right and he looks pretty good the last few years, so a broken collarbone might be faster, who knows?”
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Jett Lawrence – W
Hunter Lawrence – E
Nate Thrasher – E
Cameron McAdoo – W
Haiden Deegan – E
Jeremy Martin – E
Jordon Smith – E
RJ Hampshire – W
Levi Kitchen – W
Max Anstie – E
Mitchell Oldenburg – W
Max Vohland – W
Tom Vialle – E
Pierce Brown – W
Enzo Lopes – W
Chris Blose – E
Chance Hymas – E
Michael Mosiman – E
Stilez Robertson – W
Phil Nicoletti – W
* 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).