ECR Drivers Ed Carpenter, Conor Daly and Rinus VeeKay Focused on Tomorrow’s 500-Mile Race
INDIANAPOLIS (May 29, 2021) – 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 105th Running of the Indianapolis 500. Rinus VeeKay claimed the 3rd starting position and is now the youngest front row qualifier in Indy 500 history. Team owner Ed Carpenter is one of the most experienced drivers in the field and will start his 18th Indy 500 from the inside of the second row in the 4th position. ECR has expanded to three cars for the Indianapolis 500 and Conor Daly qualified 19th, on the inside of the Row 7.
- Ed Carpenter Racing’s first season of NTT INDYCAR SERIES competition was 2012, making the 2021 Indianapolis 500 the team’s 10th. For nine of those 10 years, ECR has had at least one car qualify in the first three rows. Excluding 2015, when the Firestone Fast Nine was cancelled due to weather, ECR has been in every Fast Nine Shootout since 2013. For the second year in a row, ECR was the only Chevrolet-powered team in the Fast Nine.
- The 2021 Indianapolis 500 will be the world’s largest sporting event since the pandemic began. Attendance is capped 135,000 fans, 40 percent of venue capacity, and no more tickets remain. Officials have lifted the local broadcast delay for this year’s race and Central Indiana spectators will be able to tune in on NBC beginning at 11 a.m. ET. The green flag for the 200-lap event is scheduled to wave at 12:45 p.m. ET.
ED CARPENTER, No. 20 SONAX Chevrolet, Starting 4th: “We have had a really, really good two weeks of preparation. I feel like we are in a great spot with the SONAX Chevrolet and we have everything we need to go out and win this race. We are ready to go and get after it for 500 miles!”
- Tomorrow will be the 6th time Ed Carpenter has had a Top 10 start at Indianapolis in the past nine years. The 40-year-old was one of the nine quickest drivers in the 33-car field last Saturday, earning the opportunity to make a run at the Indianapolis 500 pole position on Sunday. His four-lap average of 231.504 mph held as the 4th fastest, granting ECR’s leader a position on the inside of the second row.
- Carpenter is one of the most experienced drivers in the field, now in his 19th season of NTT INDYCAR SERIES competition. He is the only individual who handles both the responsibility of driving and owning his own team. 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 finishes have come in recent years, including a runner-up finish after leading the most laps in 2018.
- With the No. 21 competing as the Bitcoin Chevrolet in the Indianapolis 500, the SONAX USA scheme campaigned by Rinus VeeKay in the first five races of the seasons has transferred over to Carpenter’s No. 20. SONAX Car Care is an innovative manufacturer of premium car care products for optimum maintenance, protection and rejuvenation of vehicles. All products are developed and manufactured in Neuburg, Germany, where SONAX was founded over 50 years ago. Today, the brand is represented in 80 countries around the world and is available in the U.S. through car care superstore Autogeek.com.
RINUS VEEKAY, No. 21 Bitcoin Chevrolet, Starting 3rd: “The Bitcoin Chevrolet is awesome. It was great in all practices, even yesterday during Carb Day. I think we can really move forward! I’m just very excited and I think we have a car that can potentially win this race.”
- Rinus VeeKay cultivated another career milestone last Sunday as he became the youngest front row qualifier in Indianapolis 500 history. The 20-year-old earned the 3rd starting spot for tomorrow’s race, placing an ECR car on the front row for the 7th time in nine years. VeeKay will start one position ahead of his team owner by the mere .0047 of a second difference between their times. VeeKay’s four-lap average was 231.511 miles per hour, versus Carpenter’s speed of 231.504 mph.
- The young Dutch driver is the most recent winner in the NTT INDYCAR SERIES, claiming his first career victory two weeks ago on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course. His sophomore season is off to a strong start, having scored four Top 10 finishes in five races. Those results have come on each type of track the NTT INDYCAR SERIES competes on, being a road course, a street course and an oval.
- ECR has partnered with Strike to fundraise on behalf of the Bitcoin community and support all necessary on-track activities for the Month of May. Strike will handle all payments and donations for the effort through its lighting network and payment application. The Bitcoin car is for the people and supported by the people. A unique QR code on each of ECR’s cars enables the world’s first peer-to-car contribution model allowing anyone in the world to donate. Bitcoin has a fixed supply at 21 million with no more to ever be made and ECR is honored to represent Bitcoin on the No. 21.
CONOR DALY, No. 47 U.S. Air Force Chevrolet, Starting 19th: “We’ve had an incredible car for the last couple of weeks. Tomorrow is going to be a lot of work, but the U.S. Air Force Chevrolet is strong. Our team has done incredible work and now it’s time to go fight at the front!”
- Over the past two weeks, Daly completed the most practice laps of all the ECR drivers, making 446 circuits. He turned Top 5 lap time in five of six practice sessions, including yesterday’s Carb Day practice where he was 4th quick. The 29-year-old’s average speed over his first four lap qualifying run was 230.427 mph, which had him 18th overall. A few hours later, he returned to the track in his No. 47 U.S. Air Force Chevrolet for a second attempt. Daly remained 18th, but was bumped down one position as drivers made runs in the final hours of the day.
- Daly is another hometown favorite as he was born and raised in nearby Noblesville, Ind. Daly is well-prepared for his 8th Indianapolis 500, having set Top 5 times while running in traffic in three of four practice sessions this week. 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 raced Carlin’s No. 59 entry in the Texas Motor Speedway doubleheader earlier this month.
- Beginning as a one-off 2018 Indianapolis 500 entry, Daly and the U.S. Air Force have grown to be synonymous in the NTT INDYCAR SERIES. Daly and ECR work alongside the U.S. Air Force to inspire young adults, communicate the service’s mission and build awareness about career opportunities. Daly’s Indy 500 car design is inspired by the Tuskegee Airmen’s P-51 Mustang used during World War II. The iconic red tail and the red and yellow stripes on the nose of the aircraft are prominent on the cars. The Tuskegee Airmen were the first black military aviators in the U.S. Army Air Corps, a precursor of the U.S. Air Force. Yesterday, it was announced that the flyover will be conducted by U.S. Air Force F-16 fighter jets from the 187th Fighter Wing, assigned to Dannelly Field, Alabama. The aircraft will match the Red Tails tribute livery on the No. 47.