Rinus VeeKay to Make NTT INDYCAR SERIES Debut; Firestone Grand Prix Marks First Race Weekend for Conor Daly and the U.S. Air Force With ECR (INDIANAPOLIS) March 10, 2020 – Preview NotesAfter six months of preparation, Ed Carpenter Racing is ready for the beginning of a new NTT INDYCAR SERIES season. Featuring a new driver…
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RINUS VEEKAY SELECTED BY ED CARPENTER RACING TO CONTEST FULL 2020 NTT INDYCAR SERIES SEASON
19-Year-Old Dutch Driver Joins ECR Full-Time in the No. 21 Chevrolet
(INDIANAPOLIS) November 20, 2019 – Ed Carpenter Racing announced today it will welcome Rinus VeeKay as the full-time driver of the No. 21 Chevrolet for the 2020 NTT IndyCar Series season. The 19-year-old joins ECR after a meteoric rise through the Road to Indy ranks and a second-place finish in this year’s Indy Lights championship. As VeeKay begins his Indy car career, he will benefit from the guidance of team owner Ed Carpenter, who will be driving in his 18th season.
Born in Hoofddorp, Netherlands, Rinus van Kalmthout began karting in 2009 at the age of 8. With sights set firmly on the NTT IndyCar Series, he transitioned to the Road to Indy in 2017 and launched his U.S. career driving as Rinus VeeKay. He found immediate success, following up a second-place finish in the 2017 USF2000 standings with the 2018 Indy Pro 2000 title. His championship season included seven wins, 10 podium finishes and the Road to Indy career advancement scholarship, which placed him just one step below his ultimate goal. For the 2019 Indy Lights season, VeeKay claimed six race wins and finished on the podium 14 of 18 times en route to a runner-up finish in the standings. In all, the Dutch teenager earned 16 Road to Indy victories and 36 podium finishes in just 48 races.
The newest addition to ECR is ecstatic to have reached the pinnacle of North American open-wheel racing. “I’m so happy!” exclaimed VeeKay. “It’s a dream come true and something we have worked extremely hard for over the last couple of years. To step up from USF2000 to the NTT IndyCar Series in three years is really special.”
VeeKay got his first taste of an NTT IndyCar Series car in August when Carpenter selected him for an evaluation test at Portland International Raceway. A second successful test followed at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course in October, confirming VeeKay’s compatibility with the Indianapolis-based team. Days later, he stepped back into an Indy Lights car at the Chris Griffis Memorial Road to Indy Test and set the fastest time in all six sessions. VeeKay will now focus solely on the NTT IndyCar Series, competing with ECR as a true Indy car rookie throughout the 2020 season.
“I have been following Rinus’s path through the Road to Indy, especially the past two years,” commented Carpenter. “It was clear to me that he deserves to be in an Indy car. After his first day in a car at Portland this past season, that feeling became even more apparent. His pace, feedback and demeanor inside the car was very impressive for such a young driver.”
Since ECR’s inception in 2012, the No. 21 Chevrolet has always featured an Indy Lights graduate, a trend that will continue with VeeKay. ECR has shown versatility by earning seven wins on each style of track the series competes on – street and road courses, short ovals and speedways. The team currently boasts 28 Top 5 finishes, 20 of which have been podiums. ECR Chevrolets have started on the front row of the Indianapolis 500 six of the past seven years, including Carpenter’s three pole positions. In 2019, ECR was the only multi-car team to have their entire lineup make a run for the coveted first starting position and would ultimately start second, third and fourth.
“I would like to thank Ed Carpenter and his partners for this great opportunity and trust,” continued VeeKay. “The number of available seats in the NTT IndyCar Series is very limited, so it’s a great honor that they have chosen me to join their team. I would like to thank Jumbo, La Place, KNAF TeamNL, my new partner Basic-Fit, all my other partners, my manager Charles Crews, but most all my family who made this all happen. I’m really looking forward to the start of the season.”
Carpenter echoed VeeKay’s enthusiasm for the upcoming year. “We’re very excited for the 2020 season to get here and have an ECR car return to Victory Lane!”
The 2020 NTT IndyCar Series will see ECR continue to compete with two full-time entries, the No. 20 and No. 21. While the No. 21 will feature VeeKay for the full season, Carpenter will continue as oval driver of the No. 20 in his 18th season of Indy car competition. The road and street course seat for the No. 20 is still under consideration and will be announced at a later date. VeeKay will make his NTT IndyCar Series debut with the season-opening Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg on March 15, 2020.
Spencer Pigot Qualifies 15th at WeatherTech Raceway; Ed Jones Will Start 18th (SALINAS, Calif.) September 21, 2019 – Qualifying Notes For the first time in 15 years, Indy car racing has returned to WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca; for the final time this year, the starting field is set. After today’s qualifications, Ed Carpenter Racing’s drivers…
Spencer Pigot and Ed Jones Will Conclude 2019 Seasons in NTT IndyCar Series Return to Laguna Seca (INDIANAPOLIS) September 17, 2019 – Preview Notes Only 90 laps remain in the 2019 NTT IndyCar Series season, which will come this Sunday afternoon in the form of the Firestone Grand Prix of Monterey. Spencer Pigot and Ed…
Pigot Drives Damaged Car Back Up Into the Top 10; Ed Jones Gains Nine Positions to Finish 14th in Grand Prix of Portland
PORTLAND, Ore. (September 1, 2019) – Race Notes
- The first corner of today’s Grand Prix of Portland was not a kind one to Spencer Pigot, but he rebounded to bring home a Top 10 finish. Pigot was collected in a Lap 1, Turn 1 collision that cost him eight positions and damaged his No. 21 Autogeek Chevrolet. Not only did Pigot regain each spot he lost, he picked up additional and finished 6th. Teammate Ed Jones ran a clean race, avoiding every on-track incident and picking up multiple positions. He finished 14th, having gained nine spots over the course of 105 laps.
- Both Pigot and Jones fought unrelated issues in the opening practice session at Portland International Raceway, setting both of them on the back foot. The No. 20 and No. 21 crews worked hard to help Pigot and Jones gain speed across each of the next three sessions. By yesterday afternoon’s qualifying, Pigot was able to advance to the second round and earn the 10th starting position. In contrast, Jones would start 23rd.
- Heading into the chicane on the opening lap, Graham Rahal made contact with Conor Daly. The two slid across the track into the right side of Pigot’s No. 21, spinning the car and damaging the bodywork. The contact dropped Pigot to 18th, but he was able to continue. Jones avoided the incident all together and was up to 17th. When the pit lane opened on Lap 11, both came in. Jones switched from black to red Firestone Firehawks and topped off on fuel. Pigot only took a top off while the crew inspected the car for more damage.
- The race restarted on Lap 12, but remained green for only one lap. Spotters for the No. 20 and No. 21 helped guide Pigot and Jones through another Turn 1 incident. Pigot was then 14th while Jones was 15th. On Lap 17, green flag conditions resumed.
- Pigot used his opening set of red tires to carve his way through the field. By Lap 20, he was back up to his starting position of 10th; Lap 30 saw him up to 6th. He held the position for 10 more laps before making his second pit stop on Lap 40 for a set of sticker black tires. After the stop, it was discovered that Pigot drove his entire first stint with a broken right rear wheel.
- Jones was in for his second stop on Lap 42. He rejoined the race in the 15th position, but went a lap down to the field on Lap 56. He was able to keep his No. 20 Ed Carpenter Racing Scuderia Corsa Chevrolet in the same position throughout his next stint, making his third pit stop on Lap 73 for sticker blacks.
- After his second stop, Pigot rejoined the race in 14th. As stops cycled through, he was back into the Top 10. Again he raced forward, this time on black tires. He worked his way up to 6th before his third and final pit stop on Lap 73. A solid stop by the No. 21 crew allowed Pigot to retain the 6th position.
- A late-race caution set up a five-lap shootout to end the race. Under the yellow, Jones ducked into the pit lane for a set of sticker red tires to finish the race. Pigot and the rest of the Top 10 did not pit. Behind Pigot was Simon Pagenaud on red tires, but Pigot was able to stay in front of him. At the conclusion of 105 laps, Pigot would bring home a 6th place finish and Jones would take the checkered flag in 14th.
- The NTT IndyCar Series will have a brief break before the season finale at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca. There, Pigot and Jones will conclude their 2019 seasons with the Firestone Grand Prix of Monterey. NBC will air the race on Sunday, September 22nd at 2:30 p.m. ET.
ED JONES, No. 20 Ed Carpenter Racing Scuderia Corsa Chevrolet, Finished 14th: “We did a good job avoiding the on-track incidents today to help us gain many positions over where we started. We made good progress throughout the weekend, though we didn’t get the car quite to an optimal place for the race. I’m hoping to have a better outing at the season finale!”
SPENCER PIGOT, No. 21 Autogeek Chevrolet, Finished 6th: “It turned out to be not too bad of a race! After getting hit in the first corner, I did not think we would have much of a chance after that. We definitely had damage to the car, but it handled alright. We were able to have some good pit stops, good strategy and ultimately good pace. We got through the field and worked out way up to 6th, which is not bad considering where we were after the first lap. It makes you think ‘What could have been?’ but hopefully we can have another strong race at Laguna Seca.”
ED CARPENTER RACING HEADS TO PACIFIC NORTHWEST FOR PENULTIMATE ROUND OF 2019 INDYCAR SEASON INDIANAPOLIS (August 27, 2019) – Race Preview Only two races remain in the 2019 NTT IndyCar Series season, beginning with this weekend’s Grand Prix of Portland. Road and street course driver Ed Jones will climb back into the No. 20 Ed…
ED CARPENTER RETURNS TO THE PODIUM IN FINAL OVAL RACE OF 2019 INDYCAR SEASON
Team Owner Races Up To Second Place Finish at WWT Raceway; Spencer Pigot Taken Out Of Contention Just After The Midway Point
- Ed Carpenter returned to the podium tonight at World Wide Technology Raceway at Gateway, finishing 2nd in the last oval race on the 2019 NTT IndyCar Series calendar. As Carpenter competes exclusively in the oval events, tonight’s Bommarito Automotive Group 500 marked the conclusion of his 17th season of Indy car competition. He would end his season in style, working his way through the entire field to earn his best finish of the year. Spencer Pigot had raced his way into the Top 10 before contact with another competitor would bring his night to an end just after the midway point of the race.
- The weekend did not start easy for Ed Carpenter Racing. Of 22 cars entered in tonight’s race, Carpenter finished Practice 1 in 20th and Practice 2 in 22nd. Qualifying was a struggle as well. The team owner would only earn the 17th starting position while Pigot qualified 13th. However, both had gained nearly mile an hour of speed from practice to qualifying, the beginning of the weekend’s upward trend.
- On only the second lap of the race, Carpenter narrowly avoided the sideways car of Marcus Ericsson which brought out the first caution of night. Once the race restarted, Pigot settled into 12th and Carpenter into 15th. Both remained in those positions throughout their first stint and were two of the first cars to pit. Pigot made his first stop on Lap 47; Carpenter was in the following lap.
- The second caution flag of the night flew as Will Power got high in Turn 4 and made contact with the wall on Lap 55. Pigot and Carpenter were beneficiaries of the wave-around and got back on the lead lap. During the yellow, Scott Dixon entered the pit lane with an issue and both ECR drivers picked up the position. For the restart on Lap 69, Pigot was 11th and Carpenter was 14th.
- Alexander Rossi worked his way around Pigot after the Lap 69 restart, dropping the No. 21 Autogeek Chevrolet back to 12th. Carpenter remained in 14th, positions they would again hold for the duration of the stint. Again, they would pit within one lap of each other as Pigot came in on Lap 95 and Carpenter was just behind on Lap 96.
- On new tires, both surged forwards. Pigot passed race leader Santino Ferrucci, putting himself in a position to easily regain lead-lap status. Carpenter was the next car behind Ferrucci and as pit stops cycled through, both were scored on the lead lap again starting on Lap 119. Quick work by their crews, as well as fast in and out laps, would help Pigot gain three positions to move up to 9th while Carpenter was up one to 13th.
- The caution flag flew again on Lap 121 as Ericsson brushed the Turn 4 wall. Pigot and Carpenter split strategies on Lap 124 as Pigot ducked into the pit lane under the yellow for fresh tires. He only lost three positions, coming out in 12th. Carpenter moved up to 10th by staying out.
- The race would only go back to green for three laps as Pigot was unfortunately the next car to make contact. While working to pass Charlie Kimball heading into Turn 3, the two touched, which sent Pigot slamming into the wall. He was quickly out of the car under his own power and was checked, cleared and released from the infield care center. The No. 21 sustained too much damage to be repaired and was retired from the event. Pigot would be credited with a 21st place finish.
- Carpenter brought his No. 20 Autogeek Chevrolet in under Pigot’s caution, one of only two cars to pit. The move would put him down in 15th place, but with additional fuel over the rest of the field. As everyone else made their next pit stops, Carpenter steadily cycled forward. He was preparing for his fourth pit stop when the last caution flag of the night flew on Lap 192. All but four cars were trapped one lap behind the field; Carpenter was 3rd. He came in when the pits opened on Lap 194, but as he was on the lead lap, he retained his position. The wave around would put all but three cars back on the lead lap.
- The race was restarted on Lap 205 and Carpenter held off charges from championship leaders Josef Newgarden and Alexander Rossi. Newgarden continued to close on Carpenter, but was unable to make the pass. Ferrucci would eventually work around Newgarden and set his sights on Carpenter, but Carpenter would not give up the position. Using years of experience to his benefit, Carpenter saved the best for last. With only five laps remaining, Carpenter charged past Tony Kanaan for second. Coming to the checkered flag, Carpenter sent his No. 20 to the outside of Takuma Sato and trailed him to the line by only .0399 of a second. The margin was the closest of the 2019 NTT IndyCar Series season and in the 10-year history of Indy car racing at WWT Raceway.
- Carpenter switched to just oval events starting with the 2014 season, splitting the No. 20 between himself and a second driver for the road and street course events. Tonight’s finish was his first podium result since a second place in the 2018 Indianapolis 500. WWT Raceway is now the shortest track that Carpenter has scored a podium finish at, measuring 1.25 miles. Prior to tonight, Carpenter’s best result of 2019 was 6th in this year’s Indianapolis 500 and just six days ago at Pocono Raceway. In his 17th season, the 38-year-old finished in the Top 6 in three of five races.
- The Bommarito Automotive Group 500 was the second in a string of three back-to-back race weekends. From Pocono Raceway in Pennsylvania last weekend to tonight’s race just across the river from St. Louis, a cross-country trip to Portland, Ore. is next. Ed Jones will step back into the No. 20 and race alongside Pigot in the penultimate round of the 2019 season. The Grand Prix of Portland at Portland International Raceway will be contested on September 1, 2019.
ED CARPENTER, No. 20 SONAX Chevrolet, Finished 2nd: “Even just another straightaway, I maybe could have gotten Takuma! Qualifying so bad didn’t help us, but we were really good on the long runs tonight. Early in the race, the guys asked me what I needed and I said clear track more than anything. The car was really good and we had made really good adjustments. Days like yesterday are really tough and dejecting for the whole team. We kept our heads down and did not gave up; we came back strong tonight and got a result. This is a great way to finish the year. It would have been a little better if we could have gotten a win, I definitely gave it all I had! It was fun to be back up at the front again.”
SPENCER PIGOT, No. 21 Autogeek Chevrolet, Finished 21st: “I had a good run coming out of Turn 2. Charlie Kimball had gotten past me but was struggling for momentum. He went to the inside going into Turn 3. I thought I was far enough up alongside him to get some respect and get some space, but he turned in and I was there. It’s an unfortunate end to the day; I feel bad for all of the guys. I thought we had a pretty good car and were making good gains towards the front of the field.”