ECR Drivers Ed Carpenter, Conor Daly and Rinus VeeKay Focused on Tomorrow’s 500-Mile Race
INDIANAPOLIS (August 22, 2020) – Indianapolis 500 Preview
- The next time Ed Carpenter Racing’s three Chevrolet-powered NTT INDYCAR SERIES cars take to the famed Indianapolis Motor Speedway oval, it will be for the 104th Running of the Indianapolis 500. Rinus VeeKay, the fastest rookie in the field, claimed the 4th starting position for his first 500-mile race. Team owner Ed Carpenter is one of the most experienced drivers in Sunday’s field as he will start his 17th Indy from the inside of Row 6. ECR has expanded to three cars for the Indianapolis 500 and Conor Daly will roll off from the outside of Row 6.
- The 2020 Indianapolis 500 was originally scheduled to run on May 24 in the traditional Memorial Weekend date. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, it will be run this Sunday, August 23. Following careful consideration and extensive consultation with state and city leadership, the decision was made to hold the race without spectators. NBC will carry the race day broadcast, beginning with a 90-minute pre-race show at 1 p.m. ET., followed by race coverage from 2:30-6 p.m. ET. Additionally, the television blackout for Indianapolis-area residents has been lifted and local fans will be able to watch live on WTHR-13.
ED CARPENTER, No. 20 U.S. Space Force Chevrolet, Starting 16th: “It’s finally here! It’s time to race. We definitely have some work cut out for us with where we are starting. It’s going to take a lot of hard work with a balance of aggression and patience. Passing is possible, but it is a lot harder in the past. We’re going to have to be opportunistic. I am still confident that we’ll find our way to the front, but it’s going to be a battle out there. I am looking forward to the drop of the green, getting everyone on equal footing, on the same tires and running full stints. We’ll see where we are in the U.S. Space Force Chevrolet!”
- Qualifications for the Indianapolis 500 were held last weekend. On Saturday, Carpenter had to wait until the middle of the day to make his first run. His first four-lap average of 229.811 mph had him provisionally 20th on the grid. A few hours later, the 39-year-old returned to the track for a second attempt. He improved to 230.211 mph, which will have him starting tomorrow’s 500-mile race from the 16th position. Carpenter has turned 400 laps of practice, exactly twice the race distance.
- Earlier this week, Carpenter had the opportunity to fly with the world-renowned U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds. Thursday morning, Carpenter took to the skies over central Indiana with Thunderbird 8 Advanced Pilot and Narrator, Major Jason Markzon. Officially known as the U.S. Air Force Air Demonstration Squadron, the F-16 Fighting Falcons are in Indianapolis to perform the pre-race flyover on Sunday.
- Carpenter is the only individual in the NTT INDYCAR SERIES who handles both the responsibility of driving and owning his own team. He will be one of the most experienced drivers in the field as he has qualified for his 17th Indy 500. The Indianapolis native solidified his status as a hometown favorite by winning the pole position in 2013 and 2014; in 2018, he became just the 10th driver to collect three or more Indy 500 poles in the century-plus history of the race. Two of his strongest results have come the past two years, including a runner-up after leading the most laps in 2018. Carpenter now competes exclusively in the oval events, beginning his 18th season of Indy car competition with a Top 5 finish at Texas Motor Speedway in June.
- The No. 20 Chevrolet features the U.S. Space Force, the newest branch of the United States military. Earlier this month, Carpenter joined Gen. John W. “Jay” Raymond, Chief of Space Operations, live on FOX and Friends to announce the partnership. The U.S. Space Force became the sixth branch of the Department of Defense when it was signed into law on December 20, 2019. Its mission is to protect the interests of the United States in space; deter aggression in, from and to space; and conduct space operations. Similar to the branches of the military which are dedicated to protecting and securing the air, land, and sea, the U.S. Space Force focuses singularly on space.
RINUS VEEKAY, No. 21 SONAX/Autogeek Chevrolet, Starting 4th: “We have a really strong car going into the race. I found out that passing is going to be tough. Track position is going to be important, but I think have the right people around to guide me through the race. With this car, we have a shot at winning! That’s a lot to say as a rookie, but it’s exciting!”
- VeeKay has turned 377 practice laps – his first in an Indy car around the 2.5-mile oval. The rookie put ECR in the Fast Nine Shootout for the fifth time in as many years after last Saturday’s Day 1 of qualifications. As one of the nine quickest drivers in the 33-car field, he was able to make a run at the Indianapolis 500 pole position on Sunday. His four-lap average of 230.704 mph held as the 4th fastest, granting the 19-year-old a starting position on the inside of the second row.
- By starting 4th, VeeKay has recorded the best qualifying result for a teenager in Indianapolis 500 history. The only Chevrolet-powered driver in the Fast Nine Shootout was also the fastest rookie in the field. He was honored by the American Dairy Association Indiana as recipient of the 46th annual Fastest Rookie of the Year Award on Tuesday of this week.
- Years of preparation will culminate on Sunday as VeeKay competes in his first Indianapolis 500. Born in Hoofddorp, Netherlands, Rinus van Kalmthout began karting in 2009 at the age of 8. With sights set firmly on the pinnacle of North American open wheel racing, he transitioned to the Road to Indy in 2017 and launched his U.S. career driving as Rinus VeeKay. The 2020 Indianapolis 500 will only be VeeKay’s seventh NTT INDYCAR SERIES race. He made his debut at Texas Motor Speedway in June and followed that up with his first career Top 5 finish at the IMS road course in July.
- VeeKay’s No. 21 is carrying the colors of both Autogeek.com and SONAX USA for this year’s Indy 500. Over the last 15 years, car care superstore Autogeek has risen to become one of the most reputable and trusted sources for automotive detailing products and accessories. As one of the United States’ largest distributors of European-made car care products, Autogeek was chosen by SONAX USA to be one of a few select U.S. retailers. Made in Germany, SONAX is a market leader in car care products, offering a highly competitive and extensive range of products for the cleaning and care of vehicles.
CONOR DALY, No. 47 U.S. Air Force Chevrolet, Starting 18th: “I am definitely excited for the race. This is what we work all of these days for. The guys have done a good job putting together the U.S. Air Force Chevrolet. Hopefully, we can put all the right pieces together for a long 500 miles. We’ll see what happens in the end!”
- Daly turned the second-fastest practice lap of the month at 232.337 mph. In all, he completed 413 laps of practice across six days. Like Carpenter, Daly made to make his first qualifying run in the heat of the day last Saturday. The 28-year-old’s average speed over four laps was 229.884 mph, but he too made a second run. Daly increased his four-lap average to 229.955 mph on his second run, which moved him up to 18th on the starting grid. While Carpenter will be on the inside of Row 6, Daly will start on the outside of the same row.
- Daly is another hometown favorite as he was born and raised in nearby Noblesville, Ind. The 2020 Indianapolis 500 will be Daly’s 7th and will come on the heels of his most successful Month of May to date. Last year, he set the fastest lap all practice sessions earning career-best “500” finish of 10th. In addition to stepping into ECR’s third entry for the Indianapolis 500, Daly drives ECR’s No. 20 in the road and street course events and Carlin’s No. 59 entry in the remaining oval events. Daly captured his first NTT INDYCAR SERIES pole position last month at Iowa Speedway.
- Ed Carpenter Racing is proud to represent two branches of the United States Armed Forces as Daly races the U.S. Air Force Chevrolet. For the third consecutive year, Daly will represent the U.S. Air Force in the Indianapolis 500. The No. 47 was selected for Daly’s car with double significance. The U.S. Air Force was officially founded on September 18, 1947 with the passage of the National Security Act of 1947. Less than a month later, on October 14, 1947, an experimental U.S. Air Force rocket plane became the first crewed aircraft to exceed the speed of sound. The Bell X-1 was painted bright orange so it could be seen in test flights and reached Mach 1.06 (700 mph) at an altitude of 43,000 feet over the Mojave Desert in California.