Ed Carpenter Starts His 19th Season of NTT INDYCAR SERIES Competition; Rinus VeeKay Looking for Redemption After Last Year’s Texas Debut
(INDIANAPOLIS) April 28, 2021 – Race Preview
- The Month of May is known for on-track activity at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, but this year the NTT INDYCAR SERIES will spend the first two days of the month at Texas Motor Speedway. The superspeedway will be the third different type of track Ed Carpenter Racing has competed on in as many weeks, following the road course of Barber Motorsports Park and the street course in St. Petersburg, Fla. last weekend. ECR team owner Ed Carpenter will join VeeKay on track as Carpenter steps back into the No. 20 Chevrolet for his first two races of the year.
- Conor Daly, road and street course driver of the No. 20 U.S. Air Force Chevrolet, competed in the opening two rounds of the season. For the 1.5-mile oval outside of Fort Worth, Texas, Carpenter will be behind the wheel. With 19 starts at Texas Motor Speedway to date, he is one of the most experienced drivers entered in this weekend’s races. He is also the 2014 Texas race winner, taking the victory after leading 66 of the final 67 laps. As his team enters its 10th season in 2021, Carpenter remains the only owner/driver in the NTT INDYCAR SERIES field.
- VeeKay is now in his second season as an NTT INDYCAR SERIES driver after winning the Rookie of the Year title in 2020 with ECR. His sophomore campaign is off to a strong start with two Top 10 finishes in two races. In the season opener at Barber Motorsports Park, VeeKay was caught in a Lap 1 incident and had to drop to the back of the field after emergency service in a closed pit lane. Through smart strategy and a strong run by the 20-year-old, he was 6th by the checkered flag. Last week in the streets of St. Petersburg, VeeKay narrowly missed advancing to the Firestone Fast 6 in qualifying and finished the race in the 9th position.
- Last June, Texas Motor Speedway hosted the first NTT INDYCAR SERIES race of the year in an event that was condensed into a single day. Carpenter qualified 13th and immediately drove his way forward. Combined with quick work by the No. 20 crew in the pits, Carpenter secured a Top 5 finish to start his 2020 season. VeeKay is ready for redemption after his NTT INDYCAR SERIES debut at Texas last year. After heavy contact in practice which resulted in missing qualifying and having to start from the back of the field, he quickly gained eight positions in the opening stages of the event. However, his first race would come to an early end on Lap 36 as he got high coming out of Turn 2 and spun, making contact with another driver.
- Carpenter and VeeKay have the benefit of recently testing their Chevrolets on two different high-speed ovals. On the last day of March, the pair got in a full day of testing at Texas. Less than two weeks later, they were joined by Daly for a two-day test at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Carpenter, Daly and VeeKay make up ECR’s three-car lineup for the 2021 Indianapolis 500.
- This weekend, drivers will be challenged with a doubleheader event, running a full-length, points-paying race on Saturday and another on Sunday. Saturday will also feature a practice session and one qualifying session for both races, all streamed live on NBC’s Peacock Premium. The Genesys 300 will take place Saturday, May 1 at 7 p.m. ET, followed by the XPEL 375 on Sunday, May 2 at 5 p.m. ET. Both will be broadcast on NBC Sports Network.
ED CARPENTER, No. 20 U.S. Air Force Chevrolet: “It has been great to be back at the track the past two weekends! To be behind the wheel of the No. 20 at Texas Motor Speedway makes this an even better week. I am ready to get back to victory lane, it’s been too long!”
RINUS VEEKAY, No. 21 SONAX Chevrolet: “I am very excited for Texas! We had a great test there in the pre-season, the SONAX Chevrolet felt really great in traffic. Even though it’s hard to run in traffic there, it seemed like we could attack. I am also looking for some redemption from last year! I think we will have a great car, ECR is known for having strong oval cars. Ed (Carpenter) finished fifth last year, which is pretty good. We can do that, too!”