STRONG FINISHES FOR RINUS VEEKAY AND ED CARPENTER IN RACE 2 OF THE TEXAS DOUBLEHEADER
VeeKay Earns 3rd Top 10 of the Season; Carpenter Finishes 11th in His Lead Up to the Indianapolis 500
(FORT WORTH, Texas) May 2, 2021 – Race 2 Notes
After last night’s disappointing race where both Ed Carpenter Racing drivers had the pace, but not the luck, today’s XPEL 375 resulted in solid finishes for Rinus VeeKay and Ed Carpenter. VeeKay finished 9th, earning his third Top 10 in four races with each coming on a different kind of track. Ed Carpenter brought his car home in 11th in his lead up to his home race, the Indianapolis 500.
A two-lap qualifying run was meant to set the starting field for last night’s Genesys 300 and today’s XPEL 375. Track drying efforts delayed yesterday’s on-track activity by nearly three hours. As there was limited time before the race, qualifications were cancelled in lieu of a full practice session. Without qualifying, the starting field was set by the entrant points of each car. Today’s grid was set by points following last night’s race, meaning VeeKay would start 12th and Carpenter would be 19th.
Moments after the green flag flew, seven cars were involved in a major accident. The contact occurred behind VeeKay but right in front of Carpenter. Carpenter dove into the grass, deftly missing everything. Though they were unaffected, both came into the pits when they opened for fresh tires and a top off on fuel.
VeeKay was sent to the back of the line for an improper pit exit and restarted 16th, just behind Carpenter. The teammates battled for position briefly, but then settled in for the remainder of their stint. Because of their early stop, both cycled into the lead of the race. Carpenter led Lap 74 and when he stopped, he handed the lead to VeeKay. VeeKay led five laps in the No. 21 SONAX Chevrolet before stopping.
After their stops, Carpenter remained in 14th and VeeKay in 15th. They stayed there until another caution on Lap 117 and then stopped under yellow with the rest of the field. Quick work by the No. 20 U.S. Air Force Chevrolet crew gained Carpenter three spots in the pit lane and VeeKay was up one to 14th with the retirement of another competitor.
Conditions were tough to pass, but both managed to charge forward. Before their final stops, Carpenter was up to 10th and VeeKay was 12th. The last yellow flag flew on Lap 190 but unlike last night, both were firmly on the right side of the timing. Lap 197 saw the 248-lap race restarted and remain green until the end. Each picked up one more position in the closing laps and at the checkered flag, VeeKay was 9th and Carpenter was 11th.
Ed Carpenter Racing will work out of their shop next week as they prepare to move into the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. VeeKay’s next race will be the GMR Grand Prix on the IMS road course on May 15. He will be joined by road and street course driver of the No. 20 U.S. Air Force Chevrolet, Conor Daly. The following week, practice will begin for the Indianapolis 500. Carpenter will step back into the No. 20 while Daly moves to the No. 47. Carpenter, Daly and VeeKay will make up ECR’s three-car lineup for the Indianapolis 500.
ED CARPENTER, No. 20 U.S. Air Force Chevrolet, Finished 11th: “Texas will probably one we look back on, see the results and think we weren’t very good, but the performance was there and our race pace was good. The guys did a great job in the pits. It was just a weird weekend with qualifying and how far back we had to start. The positive is I feel strong and like I am performing well going into Indy. I feel the same way about the team! At least there, we know we will get to qualify and be able to battle at the front where we belong.”
RINUS VEEKAY, No. 21 SONAX Chevrolet, Finished 9th: “We had a pretty good race! I am quite happy with P9. A lot happened, but we had a pretty mistake-free race. It was just hard to get from where we started to the front. We capitalized on what we had, got good points and a Top 10. We’re still in contention! On to the Indy GP!”