Rinus VeeKay is now established in IndyCar. He will be on the grid for the fifth consecutive season this term driving for Ed Carpenter Racing, trying to follow in Arie Luyendyk's footsteps by winning the Indy 500, something his compatriot did twice.
Luyendyk will be among the first to congratulate VeeKay, as the Dutchman has been working as a steward in IndyCar for years. In that capacity, all drivers can turn to him for advice, something VeeKay has obviously taken advantage of in the past, especially in his rookie years.
But that relationship between driver and steward, both of Dutch descent, is creating suspicion among competitors, VeeKay reveals in an exclusive interview with RacingNews365.
"For me, Arie is a running rulebook and it is true that every weekend we have dinner, for example, and then he tells us 'there and there we are going to punish more severely' and 'what those drivers did the other day, we really didn't like'. But he is very open to everyone."
Partisanship is always overcome
"Arie likes talking to drivers and not just to me, and he also doesn't like giving penalties at all. Preferably he doesn't do it at all either.
"It is still sometimes said that he is biased towards me but if that were the case, there is always a second steward in Max Papis and if the two don't see eye to eye, then a third steward makes the decisive decision. That way it can never be biased.
"I know that the entire Ganassi team feels that I am not being punished enough for what I do," VeeKay continued, then cited a specific example.
"When Scott Dixon hit me really hard at Laguna Seca, he immediately yelled 'Arie's boy, Arie's boy!' Then I think 'yeah boy, you're the one driving really hard into me.'
"If I do something wrong, I also just get a penalty and sometimes I think it's even too severe then. But maybe we are like soccer players in that respect sometimes."