Subscribe

Sign up for free

  • Get quick access to your favorite articles

  • Manage alerts on breaking news and favorite drivers

  • Make your voice heard with article commenting.

Autosport Plus

Discover premium content
Subscribe
IndyCar Indianapolis 500

VeeKay suffers heavy crash, Larson hit by engine issue in Indy 500 qualifying

Rinus VeeKay suffered a hard crash in qualifying while Kyle Larson had his hopes hit by an engine issue ahead of the Indianapolis 500.

Screen Shot 2024-05-18 at 11.18.12 AM

VeeKay, who was expected to be a strong contender for pole position this weekend, was the fourth of 34 drivers to go out and attack Indianapolis Motorsport Speedway’s fastest four laps at the start of qualifying.

After establishing a warm-up lap that exceeded 221mph, he went through the Turns 1 and 2 trouble-free but then it all went wrong going through Turn 3.

His #21 Ed Carpenter Racing Chevrolet went into the corner at 238mph before he got out of shape and bobbled before spinning into the outside wall.

There was significant damage to the backend and left side of the car before he came to a stop in the middle of Turn 4, after nosing into the wall there once more.

Following assistance from IndyCar’s medical team, he got out of the car but was seen walking away with a noticeable limp. VeeKay was cleared and released after being checked out by the medical centre.

The team has evaluated the damage and will rebuild the car rather than switch to a backup chassis.

“The tub and the engine are fine,” said ECR’s Woody Harvey. “We’re just going to split it from the engine back, so [fit] a new bellhousing and gearbox. That’ll take care of the whole rear end, and we’ll fit a whole new left-front suspension, and fit new bodywork as we go along. Should be back out in three hours or so.”

In his four previous starts, VeeKay qualified fourth (2020), third (2021), third (2022) and second (2023).

Kyle Larson, Arrow McLaren Chevrolet

Kyle Larson, Arrow McLaren Chevrolet

Photo by: Josh Tons / Motorsport Images

Later on in the session, Larson was on course for a respectable maiden qualifying attempt to make the field for the Indy 500 before an engine issue ended his run.

The 2021 NASCAR Cup champion was sixth among the 34 drivers, speeding to an opening lap of 232.719mph in the #17 Arrow McLaren Chevrolet.

Larson managed to keep a strong run together by running 232.318mph on his second lap and then 232.299mph on the third circuit around the 2.5-mile Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

But his fourth lap came undone on the upshift out of Turn 1 into the short chute before Turn 2 as the engine pitch changed dramatically.

Larson, who is the fifth driver to attempt ‘The Double’, the Indy 500 and NASCAR’s 600-mile race in Charlotte on the same day, described the feeling of his run to that point.

“I felt like off Turn 4 I got a little bit free once coming to the white [flag],” Larson said. “And then we didn't make an off Turn 1. I have got to catch up with them and see what the alarm was and what that all was. But yeah, that sucks.”

Brian Campe, technical director for Hendrick Motorsports who is calling strategy for Larson in the Indy 500, said they were “still investigating” the engine issue, but are not worried about going out for another attempt this afternoon.

“We've got good speed in our McLaren Indy car and the Chevrolet is producing good power,” Campe said. “Sometimes these things happen and we'll do the best we can get back out there around 2pm and see what we can do.”

It was later revealed that an electronic problem was to blame and that there was no need to change the motor ahead of his next run.

Be part of the Autosport community

Join the conversation
Previous article Indy 500: How the two-day qualifying system works in 2024
Next article Indy 500: Power leads Penske 1-2-3 with 233.758mph qualifying run

Top Comments

There are no comments at the moment. Would you like to write one?

Sign up for free

  • Get quick access to your favorite articles

  • Manage alerts on breaking news and favorite drivers

  • Make your voice heard with article commenting.

Autosport Plus

Discover premium content
Subscribe