A dominating performance by Rinus van Kalmthout (VeeKay) on the way to his second Indy Lights win of the season pushed the 18-year-old back to the championship lead in the chase for a three-race NTT IndyCar Series deal.

“It feels amazing to get my first win at Indianapolis and I hope it’s the first of many,” said VeeKay. “There’s still one more race this month of May and it’s nice to go into it with the points lead and hopefully win that race as well. We came into this weekend with a fresh mindset and our testing program was successful. We then went into qualifying yesterday and it was tougher than we expected, and yesterday we struggled. Today, we started over again and got the pole and the race win and learned from what we did yesterday. I got better, the team got better, and we all learned from our setbacks and finally got the win!”

Rinus Veekay recaptured the Indy Lights points lead after a dominating victory on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course (Photo Courtesy Of Andersen Promotions)

It was VeeKay’s 12th career Road To Indy and win and was the 26th time in 36 starts that the native of Hoofddorp, Netherlands has stood on the podium across the USF2000, Indy Pro 2000 and Indy Lights series. That equates to a superlative podium percentage of 72.2%. It also stretches his run of top-five finishes to 22 consecutive races.

VeeKay joins Kyle Kaiser as Juncos Racing victors on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course. The Speedway, Ind. based team now has six podiums in this event.

Belardi Auto Racing veteran Zachary Claman used all of his wisdom, mixed with just the right amount of aggression to move from the outside of the third row to second place at the end of the first lap on the 2.439-mile, 14-turn road course. The Canadian kept in touch with leader VeeKay, for most of the race, before falling back in the last third of the race.

Before the race, Claman told NBC Gold’s Katie Hargitt he wasn’t himself for Friday’s race but was going to be more himself and just go for it in the second race of the weekend. After the race, we found out that due to budget issues, the Canadian almost missed the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course doubleheader.

The second place finish matches the 21-year-old’s best finish on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course in 2017 and is the seventh time in 40 Indy Lights races that he has stood on the podium.

It was the sixth podium in this event for Belardi Auto Racing.

Claman was able to keep third place finisher Oliver Askew just outside of the push-to-pass range for the entire 35-lap race. The Andretti Autosport rookie was able to hold off Toby Sowery and then Robert Megennis to claim his fifth podium in six Indy Lights starts.

“Overall I think we got the most out of what we had for this weekend,” said Askew. “There were a few cars that had a little more pace than us this weekend, but it’s good to leave here with two podiums and some good points moving into the second race weekend of the Month of May. I’m looking forward to the Speedway and the experience there. I have to give a big thanks to everyone at Andretti Autosport, Index Invest and the Stellrecht Company for supporting me.”

At the start of a chaotic first lap, VeeKay smartly made a quick move to the inside run down to Turn 1, with outside front row starter Megennis tucking in behind him before darting to the outside and pulling ahead of VeeKay as the got to the braking zone of the 90-degree right hander.

The Cybersecurity sponsored No. 27 of Megennis made it through the corner first, but VeeKay was able to get back to the power just a little quicker, just holding off the winner of the first race.

Just behind them, the second row of Ryan Norman and David Malukas were joined by Zachary Claman to make it three wide in the braking zone. Norman made contact Malukas (which he apologized for after the race) forcing both drivers wide, and allowing Claman to cut under them and grab third from his sixth starting spot. 

Robert Megennis briefly takes the lead over Rinus Veekay, while Claman, Norman and Malukas go three-wide for third to begin a chaotic first lap in the second Indy Lights race on the IMS Road Course in 2019 (Photo Courtesy Of Andersen Promotions)

Megennis was able to pull alongside VeeKay’s Mazda/Jumbo Supermarkets/La Place sponsored No. 23 on the long run down Hulman Blvd. to Turn 7. Megennis went just a little too deep into the braking zone and pushed wide into the grass at the exit of the 90-degree left-hand corner, dropping down the order.

Completing the first lap chaos were the Bellko Trading/Kohltrade/IVI Vision sponsored No. 5 of Belardi Auto Racing rookie spinning at the exit of Turn 7 and Andretti Autosport veteran Ryan Norman looping his Three Chord sponsored No. 48 after missing the braking zone and going through the grass in Turn 12.

The running order at the end of the first lap was VeeKay, Claman, Askew, Toby Sowery, Dalton Kellett, Megennis, Malukas, Kohl and Norman.

Lap 2 involved an intense battle for third between Askew, Sowery, and Kellett, but the trio held position and began to spread out.

Claman was not letting VeeKay get too far up the road, with the gap after five laps at 0.8 seconds.

Further behind them, Megennis was starting to put pressure on Kellett for the fifth spot without using his push-to-pass. Megennis was able to get by Kellett before Turn 1 on the 7th lap of the race.

Claman had used 10 of his 15 push to pass activations in the first ten laps, but VeeKay was still able to pull a 1.6-second gap.

On Lap 12 Sowery was starting to put pressure on Askew’s Index Invest sponsored No. 28, with the gap under one second, but it wasn’t long before Megennis began to put pressure on Sowery.

On Lap 18, Megennis was able to get around the Gap Guard/Rich Energy sponsored No. 2 of rookie Sowery, who had used all of his 50hp push-to-pass activations.

After 20 laps, VeeKay’s lead over Claman was 2.6 seconds. Askew was 2.0 seconds behind Claman and 1.7 seconds ahead of teammate Megennis.

Megennis was consistently eating into the gap to Askew, and by the time they began Lap 26, the gap had shrunk to 1.2 seconds. At the end of the next lap, the difference went below one second to 0.8 seconds.

Megennis got a great run on Askew as they crossed the “Yard of Bricks” with five laps to go and made a move to the inside as they got to Turn 1, with Askew also moving right to cover his teammate.

Askew’s move was reviewed by race control, and the Jupiter, Fla. native was given a penalty for blocking and was told to yield the position to Megennis.

Askew let his fellow rookie go past him on the run down Hulman Blvd. Megennis’ hold on the final step of the podium was short lived as Askew dove to the inside into Turn 1 to complete the pass.

I didn’t want to give Robert the opportunity to get by but I did make a bit of an aggressive move to keep him back,” explained the 2017 USF2000 Champion. “That wasn’t intentional at all: I was trying to keep the position; I didn’t mean to make it look that bad. We race each other with respect and we know our boundaries. I let him by on the penalty but thankfully was able to get back by on the straightaway.

VeeKay got the twin checkers 6.9 seconds ahead of Claman, the most significant margin of victory in a dozen races on the current Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course layout.

Indy Lights Grand Prix of Indianapolis Presented By Cooper Tires Race








Rinus VeeKay

Juncos Racing




Zachary Claman

Belardi Auto Racing




Oliver Askew

Andretti Autosport




Robert Megennis

Andretti Autosport




Toby Sowery

BN Racing/Team Pelfrey




David Malukas

BN Racing




Dalton Kellett

Juncos Racing




Ryan Norman

Andretti Autosport




Lucas Kohl

Belardi Auto Racing