Race 2 of the Iowa INDYCAR 250s Ends in Disappointment for Rinus VeeKay and Ed Carpenter

(NEWTON, Iowa) July 18, 2020 – Race 2 Notes

  • The second doubleheader weekend in as many weeks concluded tonight at Iowa Speedway. Ed Carpenter Racing drivers Rinus VeeKay and Ed Carpenter both faced their share of frustrations and are leaving the .875-mile oval disappointed. A pit stop issue dropped VeeKay two laps behind the field and Carpenter’s night was ended after slight contact with the Turn 2 wall. VeeKay would be credited with a 17th place finish while Carpenter was scored in 23rd.
  • Last night, VeeKay and Carpenter participated in Race 1 of the Iowa INDYCAR 250s. VeeKay started 13th but began an immediate march up through the field. He climbed as high as second, on the same strategy as eventual race winner Simon Pagenaud. On a waved-off restart, the car behind VeeKay launched off his rear tire and went up and over RVK’s cockpit. Both drivers were uninjured, but RVK’s promising night would be over and his crew would have to prepare his backup car for today’s race. It was not an easy Race 1 for Carpenter, who spent the majority of the event battling an ill-handling racecar. Though it did not end in a desired result, he was able to use years of experience to manage the situation and bring the No. 20 home safely.
  • Qualifying for both of the Iowa INDYCAR 250s took place yesterday afternoon, utilizing a unique format for the first time. While qualifying still consisted of two laps, the first lap after the green flag set the field for last night’s Race 1 and the second lap – following the white flag – determined the grid for tonight’s Race 2. The ECR teammates would land one position apart as Carpenter qualified 14th and VeeKay 15th for Race 2.
  • Since qualifying was completed yesterday, drivers were given a one-hour practice session earlier this afternoon. For VeeKay, it was a welcome opportunity to confirm the backup No. 21 SONAX Chevrolet was race-ready. Carpenter’s crew made many changes overnight to combat yesterday’s handling issues and he was confident enough in the results to only use one set of tires during practice.
  • Starting just one position away from each other, the two were immediately in a four-wide battle. Carpenter came out ahead, moving up to the 11th position by just the second lap. VeeKay slid back to 17th, finding that his car was not as agreeable to working through traffic as yesterday. On the other hand, Carpenter’s issues from yesterday appeared to be resolved as he found himself solidly in the Top 10 by Lap 41.
  • The duo made their first pit stops 10 laps apart from each other, with VeeKay coming in on Lap 48. VeeKay had cycled up to 15th; by the time Carpenter stopped on Lap 58, he was running 5th. After the entire field had stopped, VeeKay was 12th and Carpenter was 14th. Carpenter got around his rookie driver on Lap 90 and continued his way forward, making it back up to 7th before he stopped for the second time on Lap 103.
  • Trouble was waiting for VeeKay on his second pit stop. In for a regularly scheduled stop on Lap 107, the No. 21 was dropped to the ground before the outside rear tire was fully attached. The car began to creep forward, then stalled. By the time VeeKay had rejoined the race, he was two laps down to the leader in the 21st position.
  • Just 11 laps after his second pit stop, Carpenter got high coming out of Turn 1 and made slight contact with the Turn 2 wall. The contact was light enough both Carpenter and the No. 20 U.S. Air Force Chevrolet crew thought the car would be repairable. Carpenter retuned to the pit lane while the crew headed straight for the garage. However, word quickly came that the No. 20 was not able to be repaired. Carpenter would be out of the race on Lap 113 and be credited with a 23rd place result.
  • VeeKay continued on for the duration of the event, but was not able to make up any laps. A needed caution flew one lap after his final pit stop on Lap 178. VeeKay was often running with lead-lap cars and was able to maintain pace. By reaching the end of the event, VeeKay would climb up to the 17th position.
  • After a stretch of five races in 15 days, including two doubleheader weekends in a row, the NTT INDYCAR SERIES will now take a brief break before heading to Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course on August 9. VeeKay will be joined by road and street course driver of the No. 20, Conor Daly. Carpenter’s next race will be the 104th Running of the Indianapolis 500 on August 23.
The No. 20 U.S. Air Force Chevrolet of Ed Carpenter on track at Iowa Speedway (Photo Courtesy of Ed Carpenter Racing)

ED CARPENTER, No. 20 U.S. Air Force Chevrolet, Finished 23rd: “I caught a group of guys that were stacked up two-wide in front of me. I had Charlie (Kimball) on the inside and I just went into Turn 1 a little too hard. I got more understeer than I thought, got up into the marbles and couldn’t get it back. I am so disappointed that I made that mistake. The U.S. Air Force Chevrolet was really hooked up tonight. We struggled so much last night but felt like we really showed something tonight. I’m not sure what hurts worst, the poor performance last night or messing up a good result tonight. On to the next one.”

Rinus VeeKay at Iowa Speedway in the No. 21 SONAX/Autogeek Chevrolet (Photo Courtesy of Ed Carpenter Racing)

RINUS VEEKAY, No. 21 SONAX/Autogeek Chevrolet, Finished 17th: “Yesterday, the car felt amazing. I could pass whenever I wanted and tires would stay good for a long time, at least 80 laps. I struggled with that tonight, I just didn’t have the pace to charge through the field. Still, we were doing well, closing back in on the Top 10 after a bad start. Then, at the second pit stop, the car got down on the ground with three wheels on it. We had trouble restarting the car and lost about three laps. That was a bummer. We are very unlucky at the moment, but let’s hope it will switch around soon. Mid-Ohio is coming up soon and that’s been a good track for me. I’ve won races and had a very good test with ECR last year, so I can’t wait to try again there.”