INDIANAPOLIS – Ed Carpenter Racing’s Rinus VeeKay won the GMR Grand Prix on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course on Saturday afternoon for his first career IndyCar victory.
“I’ve never cried when I won a race, but I have today,” VeeKay said. “So did my parents. It’s just amazing. Their lives have evolved around me for a very long time to make this possible for me and I’m extremely grateful. Yeah, I’ve finally done it. It just feels surreal.”
VeeKay passed pole-sitter Romain Grosjean halfway through the race. He took the lead after the field cycled through pit stops, then stayed in front while dodging rain drops and saving fuel to give Indy’s own Carpenter his first win as a team owner since 2016.
“He can be pretty immature out of the car, which we love about him,” said Carpenter. “But in the car, he acts far older than 20. This is going to be the first of many for him and hopefully, they’re all with us.”
Dale Coyne Racing’s Grosjean finished second and Chip Ganassi’s Alex Palou finished third to round out the podium.
“I think we’re kind of disappointed to be second, but also super happy,” Grosjean said. “I was telling the team, ‘look, guys, that’s a great day.’ You can’t be disappointed being second. That’s fantastic.”
“Hopefully, we can keep it going the month of May,” said Palou. “I think it’s going to be awesome. I had a good month of May until I crashed last year. I’m not going to do that again.”
Palou and VeeKay are two of three first-time winners five races into the new IndyCar Series season.
Carpenter’s other driver, Noblesville’s Conor Daly was involved in a turn one, lap one incident with several other cars and finished last.
Seven-time NASCAR Cup and four-time Brickyard 400 champion Jimmie Johnson finished 24th in his third career IndyCar start.
“Things are just starting to make more sense,” Johnson said. “But it’s still so different and still so much for me to learn to get from green flag to checkered in a race.”
New Colts’ quarterback Carson Wentz gave the drivers the command to start their engines pre-race.
They’ll now turn their attention to the month’s main event, the 105th Indianapolis 500. The first practice for the “Greatest Spectacle in Racing” is Tuesday at 10 a.m.