Starting his fifth lap of the famed 2.5-mile oval, the front left wheel of the #21 Sonax ECR-Chevy went down below the white line negotiating Turn 1 – VeeKay’s trap speed entering Turn 1 was 219.882mph – and the rear continued to swing around.
However, the car went through only one 360deg spin before striking the outside SAFER barrier on the exit of Turn 1 with its right side. The car then scraped along the track before coming to a halt at the entry to Turn 2.
VeeKay, last year’s IndyCar Rookie of the Year, stepped from the car without needing assistance from the AMR IndyCar Safety Team.
The accident occurred in the 12th minute of the first session of the day, and VeeKay was the only driver on track to have turned more than a systems-check/installation lap.
He had just turned his best lap – an average of 217.539mph – the lap before.
On being checked and released from the medical center, VeeKay reported that his hands were “bashed about”, but otherwise he was OK.
He told NBCSN’s Kevin Lee, “I want to say sorry to the team, of course. I wanted to do as many laps as possible and be successful. And it just ended completely early, and it’s very, very unfortunate and I’m very sorry.
“It was a very weird moment… I was just building… You have a tailwind in [Turn] 3 so it should be very safe going flat-out into T1 with a headwind, and so I did that. It felt good on entry but then just the front dipped down and I lost it. Once that happens, you’re a passenger.
“So I’m going to go back to the trailer now and see what happened exactly. Just leave this behind and make sure we only learn from this and go better onwards.”
The first two hours of the session are for those classified as veterans, the second two hours will be for Rookies and Refreshers, and the last three hours of the day will be for all entrants, as will tomorrow’s six hours.
On Instagram VeeKay revealed he had broken a finger in the crash, but added he was “good to go”.