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!”
Despite Being Caught By Untimely Yellow Flags, Ed Carpenter and Rinus VeeKay Show Great Pace in Genesys 300
(FORT WORTH, Texas) May 1, 2021 – Race 1 Notes
The Genesys 300 only had two cautions and each one caught out an Ed Carpenter Racing driver tonight at Texas Motor Speedway. Team owner Ed Carpenter had just made his first pit stop moments before the first yellow and became trapped one lap down to the field. With less than 40 laps to go, another caution flag finally gave Carpenter lead-lap status to finish the race. However, it was then teammate Rinus VeeKay who lost a lap to the field as he had just stopped. Carpenter finished 17th in his first race of 2021 while VeeKay finished 20th.
The schedule called for practice and qualifying before Race 1 of the doubleheader, but the weather necessitated other plans. On-track activity was delayed due to track drying efforts and emphasis was placed on getting in ample practice time. As there was no qualifying, the starting grid was based on entrant points. VeeKay was in a three-way tie for 6th place in the NTT INDYCAR SERIES point standings after two races, but via a tiebreaker he started 8th. Although the Genesys 300 was Carpenter’s first race of the year, his starting position of 17th was based off of the No. 20’s entrant points earned by Conor Daly in the opening two events of the year.
The 212-lap race got off to a frenzied yet clean start. As drivers settled in, VeeKay remained 8th and Carpenter was 16th. With limited opportunities to pass on track, the No. 20 U.S. Air Force Chevrolet crew elected to pit on the early side of the window and try to gain track position. Carpenter made his first stop on Lap 53; on Lap 56, the caution flag flew for an on-track incident. As the leaders had not yet stopped, Carpenter was immediately trapped two laps behind the field. He received a wave-around and earned one lap back, but had his work cut out for him from then on.
VeeKay avoided the incident right in front of him and jumped to 6th. He was able to make his first pit stop under the yellow, exiting the pit lane in the 8th position. He stayed there until he began to struggle with grip and slid back to 12th. The No. 21 SONAX Chevrolet crew brought VeeKay in for his second stop on Lap 116. He fought his way through heavy traffic and worked back up to the same spot. Lap 153 saw VeeKay make his final pit stop; however, a Lap 160 caution put VeeKay in the same predicament as Carpenter. VeeKay finished the race one lap down to the leaders in the 20th position.
Though frustrated by the timing of the first yellow, Carpenter was undeterred. He raced his way up through the field, keeping himself in a position to gain his lap back should a yellow flag fly. He passed lead lap car after lead lap car, often turning the fastest laps of anyone in the field. The same yellow that hurt VeeKay was Carpenter’s long-awaited opportunity to return to the lead lap. However, with so little of the race left, he was unable to make up ground as he had done earlier. Carpenter would finish the race in 17th.
Carpenter and VeeKay will be back at the 1.5-mile superspeedway tomorrow for the second race of the Texas Motor Speedway doubleheader. The XPEL 375 will feature 248 laps with coverage beginning at 4 p.m. CT on NBC Sports Network.
ED CARPENTER, No. 20 U.S. Air Force Chevrolet, Finished 17th: “That was a bummer of a race! We had a really good car and good pace most of the night. We stopped a little bit early, trying to get some track position, but as soon as I came out of the pits, Bourdais had his accident. I finally got back on the lead lap that last stint, but it wasn’t our best as the car had a weird balance. It stinks we didn’t get to qualify today and had to start deep in the field on entrant points. The result definitely doesn’t show the pace of the ECR cars. One of these chances I have to run the U.S. Air Force car, we will have a good run! We will have to come from deep in the field again tomorrow. It would be great if at some point, we weren’t afraid of pack racing and it would make this a cool race again.”
RINUS VEEKAY, No. 21 SONAX Chevrolet, Finished 20th: “That was a very tough race. I did finish, which was nice! We were doing pretty well, we just got very unlucky. It didn’t go our way today, but we did have great pace and could have done very well. I am happy we have another chance tomorrow and a lot of positives to take away from today!”
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!”
VeeKay Finishes 9th in Streets of St. Petersburg; Conor Daly Battles the Heat to Finish 16th
(ST. PETERSBURG, Fla.) April 25, 2021 – Race Notes
After finishing 6th last week on a road course, Rinus VeeKay added a Top 10 today on a street course. VeeKay finished 9th in the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg, exactly six months after his first start on the 1.8-mile circuit. Conor Daly fought through extreme heat in the second half of the 100-lap race and recorded a 16th place finish.
In yesterday’s qualifying, Daly struggled to get pace out of the red tires and finished 10th in his group. It would ultimately translate to the 19th position on today’s starting grid. In contrast, VeeKay securely transferred to the second round. He was on pace to make the Firestone Fast 6 but fell just short, qualifying 7th. In this morning’s warmup session, VeeKay turned the 5th fastest lap of all drivers.
VeeKay took the green flag on a set of sticker red Firestone Firehawks and immediately moved up a position to 6th. The first full course caution occurred on Lap 18, but VeeKay stuck to his strategy and did not pit. He stretched his first set of red Firehawks to Lap 29 when he brought the No. 21 Autogeek Chevrolet in to the pits for a set of sticker blacks.
Daly also elected to start the race on the red Firestone Firehawks. He went to an alternate strategy early, making his first stop on Lap 11. The No. 20 U.S. Air Force Chevrolet crew gave Daly a fresh set of sticker reds and topped him off on fuel. He was able to make up significant ground and turn quick lap times. After exiting the pits in 23rd, he was 16th by the first full course caution.
VeeKay’s green flag stop dropped him to 20th, but he was back up to 8th by the midway point of the race. He stayed out until Lap 62, when he made his second and final pit stop from 9th. Will Power was able to pass VeeKay following a Lap 83 restart, but VeeKay made up the position on Lap 89 when he made it around Sebastien Bourdais. VeeKay’s fastest lap of the race was his next one, setting him up for a solid final 10 laps. At the checkered flag, VeeKay earned his second Top 10 finish in as many races.
Daly ran as high as 8th before his second pit stop. Anticipating a full-course caution, he dove into the pit lane on Lap 37. The yellow flag did not fly and Daly cycled back down to 19th. Daly began to struggle with the intense heat in the cockpit just before his last scheduled pit stop on Lap 69. He stopped two more times in the closing laps, topping off on fuel and putting on different tires. Even with the brutal conditions, Daly gained three positions before the final lap and finished in the 16th position.
Next weekend, the NTT INDYCAR SERIES moves to the high-speed oval of Texas Motor Speedway. Drivers will be challenged with a doubleheader event, running a full-length, points-paying race on Saturday and another on Sunday. ECR team owner Ed Carpenter will join VeeKay on track as Carpenter steps back into the No. 20 Chevrolet for his first races of the year. 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.
CONOR DALY, No. 20 U.S. Air Force Chevrolet, Finished 16th: “Today we tried some different strategy, which was working for us – until it wasn’t! Not really sure why the yellows were called as late as they were after some incidents, it seemed a bit odd. We had really good pace early on while on the red tires, which was really encouraging. A lot of good things happened, but there was also some tough things at the end. Physically, it was very, very draining. Today was the hottest I’ve ever been in a car and I was just trying to make it to the end. Hopefully, we learned so really good things for the Indy GP here in a couple weeks!”
RINUS VEEKAY, No. 21 Autogeek Chevrolet, Finished 9th: “Pretty tough day in the office! But, Top 10 – P9 is a pretty good result! I had a hard lock up on the red tires which wasn’t ideal, but I learned so much and got the points! Not the easiest day, but not much to complain about. It was very tough physically but we survived and I am so ready for Texas this coming weekend!”
VeeKay Advances to Second Round of Qualifying; Conor Daly Qualifies Inside of Row 10
(ST. PETERSBURG, Fla.) April 24, 2021 – Qualifying Notes
Rinus VeeKay will start 7th in the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg, only his second street course race in an NTT INDYCAR SERIES car. His first was the 2020 edition, which will have taken place exactly six months prior to tomorrow’s race. VeeKay’s Ed Carpenter Racing teammate Conor Daly will roll off from the 19th position.
Two 45-minute practice sessions preceded this afternoon’s qualifying, during which VeeKay turned 27 laps and Daly managed 25. Qualifying groups are based on the lap times from the previous practice session, assigning Daly to Group 1. He took to the 1.8-mile street circuit on a set of sticker black Firestone Firehawks, switching to sticker reds after three laps. He ended the 10-minute session in the 10th position with a lap of 1:01.4220. After all three rounds of qualifying were completed and the pole winner was determined, Daly’s best lap in the No. 20 U.S. Air Force Chevrolet translated into the 19th starting position on tomorrow’s grid.
With the same plan as Daly, VeeKay went out immediately on sticker black tires in Group 2 and turned three laps. The No. 21 Autogeek Chevrolet crew completed a hot pit stop to red Firehawks and VeeKay was back on track in a matter of seconds. On his first lap at speed on the red tires, VeeKay was trapped behind a much slower car who was on his out lap. VeeKay shook off his frustration and shot to the top of the timing sheet when he was able to get in a clean lap. At the checkered flag, his lap of 1:00.5414 had him fourth and earned him a spot in Round 2.
Round 2 also consisted of a 10-minute session and featured the fastest six cars from each group. After three laps on black tires, it was another pit stop to the remaining set of sticker reds. VeeKay again went directly to the top on his first lap and improved his time on his second lap to 1:00.4858. VeeKay was on pace to make the Firestone Fast Six, but barely missed out at the end and was bumped out following the checkered flag. He was 7th in Round 2, which will be his starting position on tomorrow’s grid.
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. The design of Daly’s 2021 road and street course car celebrates the U.S. Air Force’s B-2 Spirit stealth bomber. A dramatic leap forward in technology, the bomber represents a major milestone in the U.S. bomber modernization program. Its low-observable, or “stealth,” characteristics give it the unique ability to penetrate an enemy’s most sophisticated defenses and threaten its most valued and heavily defended targets. Earlier this week, Daly’s No. 47 U.S. Air Force car for the Indianapolis 500 was unveiled. The one-off scheme pays homage to the Tuskegee Airmen and is modeled off of their P-51 Mustangs used during World War II.
Car care superstore Autogeek.com is featured on VeeKay’s No. 21 for the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg. This is the fourth year in a row that the Florida-based company has been featured on the No. 21 during their home race. Over the last 15 years, Autogeek has risen to become one of the most reputable and trusted sources for automotive detailing products and accessories. Through detailing how-to guides and instructional videos, Autogeek provides a wealth of car care know-how for detailers, hobbyists and car care enthusiasts.
Daly and VeeKay will have one more practice to get their Chevrolets race-ready with a morning warmup session at 9:05 a.m. ET tomorrow. Live coverage of the 2021 Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg will begin at 12 p.m. ET on NBC. The green flag is scheduled to fly at 12:42 p.m. ET.
CONOR DALY, No. 20 U.S. Air Force Chevrolet, Qualified 19th: “We just weren’t able to find the pace that we needed on the red tires in qualifying. Last weekend, we were able to nail it and get in to the Fast 12. Today, we just didn’t have it. A lot can happen in the race, there were a lot of people in the Lap 1 accident at Barber and ended up finishing in the Top 10. We’re going to try and make something great happen tomorrow with the U.S. Air Force Chevrolet. The plan is to keep working and be better tomorrow!”
RINUS VEEKAY, No. 21 Autogeek Chevrolet, Qualified 7th: “That was a pretty good qualifying, P7! I am not 100% satisfied, there was more in the car. I think we could have gone for pole with this Autogeek car. Very good job by the team! For tomorrow, seventh is not too bad to start from. We will show some great racing here in St. Pete!”
Six Months After Season Finale, Conor Daly and Rinus VeeKay Return for the 2021 Edition of the Firestone Grand Prix
(INDIANAPOLIS) April 21, 2021 – Preview Notes
The 2021 NTT INDYCAR SERIES season is off and running as Ed Carpenter Racing returns to the downtown streets of St. Petersburg, Fla. this weekend. Drivers Conor Daly and Rinus VeeKay are ready for another chance to take on the 1.8-mile, 14-turn street course only six months after their last visit. The 2021 Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg is the second in a string of three back-to-back race weekends on three different kinds of tracks.
The season started last Sunday at Barber Motorsports Park. Less than one lap into VeeKay’s second year as an NTT INDYCAR SERIES driver, he found himself sideways on track after avoiding a multi-car collision. His only damage was a flat left front tire, but emergency service in a closed pit dropped him to the back of the field. Smart strategy and a strong run launched him up to the 6th position by the checkered flag. Daly was strong in each session prior to the race, including advancing to the second round of qualifying and starting 10th. While Daly avoided the opening lap melee, he had to deviate from his planned strategy. He persevered through a tough second half of the race, gaining positions as he could and ultimately finishing 16th.
Exactly six months prior to this year’s Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg, Daly and VeeKay participated in the 2020 edition. During the late October season finale, both ECR drivers battled adversity. VeeKay had nowhere to go when another car spun in front of him, but was able to continue following repairs and finished 15th. Under a caution, Daly came around a corner to find the entire field stacked up in front of him. On cold tires, the No. 20 U.S. Air Force Chevrolet slid and made contact. A new front wing and suspension pieces were required, but Daly was also able to continue on without further issue and finished 17th.
Though the on-track result last year was not what VeeKay had hoped for to close out his debut year, the day of the season finale marked an important day in the 20-year-old’s career. In the morning, it was announced that he would return to ECR for a second season, continuing as the team’s full-time driver of the No. 21 Chevrolet. By merely taking the green flag in the afternoon, he was awarded the 2020 NTT INDYCAR SERIES Rookie of the Year title.
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. The design of Daly’s 2021 road and street course car celebrates the U.S. Air Force’s B-2 Spirit stealth bomber. A dramatic leap forward in technology, the bomber represents a major milestone in the U.S. bomber modernization program. Its low-observable, or “stealth,” characteristics give it the unique ability to penetrate an enemy’s most sophisticated defenses and threaten its most valued and heavily defended targets. Yesterday, Daly’s No. 47 U.S. Air Force car for the Indianapolis 500 was unveiled. The one-off scheme pays homage to the Tuskegee Airmen and is modeled off of their P-51 Mustangs used during World War II.
Car care superstore Autogeek.com will be featured on VeeKay’s No. 21 in the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg. This year will be the fourth year in a row that the Florida-based company has been featured on the No. 21 during their home race. Over the last 15 years, Autogeek has risen to become one of the most reputable and trusted sources for automotive detailing products and accessories. Through detailing how-to guides and instructional videos, Autogeek provides a wealth of car care know-how for detailers, hobbyists and car care enthusiasts.
The first practice session will take place Friday afternoon at 4:15 p.m. ET, followed by another on Saturday morning at 9:45 a.m. ET. All sessions will be streamed live on NBC Peacock Premium, including qualifying on Saturday afternoon at 1:45 p.m. ET. The Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg will be broadcast live on NBC at 12 p.m. ET on Sunday, April 25.
CONOR DALY, No. 20 U.S. Air Force Chevrolet: “I have always loved St. Pete, it is such a great event! I was able to win in Indy Pro 2000 back in 2010, which was my first time racing on the INDYCAR stage. I led laps there in 2016 as an NTT INDYCAR SERIES rookie as well, so this race has always meant a lot to me. Love the track, love the city, love the event. We learned a lot last weekend and are ready to put on a show in the U.S. Air Force machine!”
RINUS VEEKAY, No. 21 SONAX Chevrolet: “I am super excited for the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg! Last weekend was very awesome, it was a crazy race but to finish 6th in the first race of the season is definitely not a bad start. I am aiming to keep this up and get some hardware, the team deserves it! I am already in St. Pete and the track looks awesome. I can’t wait to get going!”
VeeKay Completes First NTT INDYCAR SERIES Race at Barber Motorsports Park; Conor Daly Finishes 16th
(LEEDS, Ala.) April 18, 2021 – Race Notes
Rinus VeeKay found himself at the back of the field following a Lap 1 incident at Barber Motorsports Park; 90 laps later, he took the checkered flag in the 6th position. Smart strategy and a strong run from VeeKay launched him back into the front half of the field and he continually improved throughout the race. Conor Daly persevered through a tough second half of the race, gaining positions as he could and ultimately finishing 16th.
Today’s Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama was Daly’s first NTT INDYCAR SERIES race at Barber Motorsports Park since 2017. Two strong practices segued into a qualifying session which saw Daly advance to the second round and earn the 10th spot on the starting grid. VeeKay missed advancing to Round 2 by a mere 0.048 seconds and began today’s race from the 14th position.
A multi-car incident occurred only five turns into the season opener. Daly was just ahead of the first car to spin and was unaffected. VeeKay’s crew readied a spare front wing, but a change was not necessary as his only damage was a flat left front. He was forced to take emergency service in a closed pit lane and had to drop to the back of the field as the last car running. On the Lap 7 restart, Daly was 8th and VeeKay was 19th.
Three laps later, another yellow flag flew. It proved beneficial for VeeKay as he was able to duck into the pit lane and top off on fuel. As other cars made their first stops, VeeKay began to cycle forward. On Lap 24, the decision was made to have Daly complete the race on a three-stop strategy. He had started the race on a set of sticker red Firestone Firehawks and selected sticker black tires for his next stint.
Because of VeeKay’s early top off, he was able to stay out until Lap 37 and cycle up to 2nd. After his first green flag pit stop, he re-entered the field in the 10th position, just ahead of Daly. Daly’s second pit stop came shortly thereafter, on Lap 41. Though an issue on the pit stop cost him only a few seconds seconds, it was the equivalent to several track positions. He re-entered the race in 18th and was tasked with pushing hard to keep the leaders behind him. Even while concentrating on that, Daly picked up two positions before his third stop. He held his lead lap standing and the 16th position until the conclusion of the race.
Meanwhile, VeeKay used his new track position to his advantage and continued to charge forward. His pace was enough that by Lap 63, he had cycled into the lead of the race and set his fastest lap of the day. He relinquished the position one lap later, making his final pit stop. He re-entered the field in 7th but was not done yet. In the closing laps, VeeKay passed Marcus Ericsson for the 6th position, where he would take the checkered flag in his first NTT INDYCAR SERIES race at Barber Motorsports Park.
Next weekend, the NTT INDYCAR SERIES heads back to St. Petersburg, Florida, where the 2020 season concluded in the downtown city streets six months ago. The first practice session will take place Friday night, followed by another on Saturday morning. All sessions will be streamed live on NBC Peacock Premium, including qualifying on Saturday afternoon at 1:45 p.m. ET. The Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg will be broadcast live on NBC at 12 p.m. ET on Sunday, April 25.
CONOR DALY, No. 20 U.S. Air Force Chevrolet, Finished 16th: “We had a good start and got into the Top 8. We felt pretty competitive at the beginning, but we just weren’t able to keep the pace we needed to make a two-stop strategy work. We lost a bit of time in the pits, but those things happen. It was disappointing and there are some things I need to figure out with this car, but overall I think we were strong this weekend. We qualified well, which was really nice. Hopefully, we get some good information from today and can be better at St. Pete next week.”
RINUS VEEKAY, No. 21 SONAX Chevrolet, Finished 6th: “It was a crazy race here in Barber! I got into a lot of trouble on the first lap, I had a flat tire and ended up all the way in the back. However, the team was awesome at strategy, the car felt awesome and I felt awesome. We had a great race, coming back to P6. We were so close to the Top 5, it was an awesome recovery. All I could wish for today! This is going to be the start of a great season. Happy me!”
U.S. Air Force Driver Will Start 10th; Rinus VeeKay Qualifies 14th For NTT INDYCAR SERIES Season Opener
(LEEDS, Ala.) April 17, 2021 – Qualifying Notes
Ed Carpenter Racing’s starting positions are set for the first race of the 2021 NTT INDYCAR SERIES season. Tomorrow afternoon, Conor Daly and Rinus VeeKay will take on the picturesque 2.38-mile road course of Barber Motorsports Park. Daly advanced to the second round of this evening’s qualifications and will roll off 10th for the 90-lap race. VeeKay will start his second season of NTT INDYCAR SERIES competition from the 14th on the grid.
This year, the Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama is a two-day event for the NTT INDYCAR SERIES. Two practice sessions preceded today’s qualifying, one in the morning and one in the afternoon. VeeKay, who has not yet participated in an NTT INDYCAR SERIES race at Barber Motorsports Park, completed 31 laps in his No. 21 SONAX Chevrolet. Daly will be racing at Barber for the first time since 2017 and posted a Top 10 lap time in the second session.
Road course qualifying consists of three rounds which progressively narrow the field to determine the pole winner. Round 1 is split into two groups, determined by the best lap of each driver in the preceding practice session. Daly and VeeKay were both assigned to Round 1, Group 2. Both began on a set of sticker black Firestone Firehawks, but were back in the pit lane in less than three minutes under red flag conditions. With only five minutes of guaranteed green track time, both opted to switch to sticker red Firehawks when the course reopened.
VeeKay turned a lap of 124.554 miles per hour on reds, his fastest of the day. He missed advancing to the second round by a mere 0.048 of a second and will start tomorrow’s race from 14th on the grid. Once on red tires, Daly quickly secured his position in Round 2 with a lap of 125.258 miles per hour. He was third when the checkered flag flew, assuring that he would start no worse than 12th.
The fastest six drivers from both rounds advanced to the next 10-minute session. Daly stayed with the same strategy as the previous round, starting on black Firehawks before switching to the faster red tires. He turned six laps in the No. 20 U.S. Air Force Chevrolet, saving his best for last. His top speed of the weekend improved even more with a lap of 125.622 miles per hour. It would land him 10th on the grid, his best starting position at Barber Motorsports Park.
Now with 250 race starts, 2021 will mark Ed Carpenter Racing’s 10th season of NTT INDYCAR SERIES competition. ECR began as a single-car organization in 2012, expanding to two full-time entries in 2015. For the first time since having multiple entries, the team will enjoy the continuity of having the same driver lineup from the previous season. Daly will drive the No. 20 Chevrolet for the road and street course events, handing the car over to team owner Ed Carpenter for the oval races. VeeKay remains the team’s full-time driver of the No. 21 Chevrolet. The trio will again make up ECR’s three-car lineup in the Indianapolis 500.
The first race day of the 2021 NTT INDYCAR SERIES season will begin with a warm-up session at 11:30 a.m. ET (10:30 a.m. local). The season will officially begin at 3:42 p.m. ET on Sunday, April 18 at the drop of the green flag. Live coverage will begin at 3 p.m. ET on NBC.
CONOR DALY, No. 20 U.S. Air Force Chevrolet: “To start the season right and qualify 10th at a true driver’s track makes me very proud of this U.S. Air Force team and Chevrolet. I’ve really been working this offseason to get my mind right and we’ve also improved a lot as a team. It’s exciting to be in the Top 10, it’s a good place to be! We have some work to do, we always want to go faster, but this race can be really interesting and we’ll see what happens.”
RINUS VEEKAY, No. 21 SONAX Chevrolet: “We had a good pace in practice, but couldn’t quite show it in qualifying. I saw a cloud of dirt and maybe took it five percent easier, but that was probably the tenth I was missing! Just came up a little short, but I am glad Conor (Daly) advanced. It is very tough out there, but we will have a good car tomorrow. Ed Carpenter Racing is known for great strategy so I’m not worried all!”
About Ed Carpenter Racing Ed Carpenter Racing (ECR) will be entering its 10th season of NTT INDYCAR SERIES competition in 2021. The Indianapolis-based race team has proven its versatility by collecting seven wins across each type of track the series competes on – street and road courses, short ovals and speedways. ECR is led by IndyCar’s only team owner/driver, Ed Carpenter, three-time pole winner for the Indianapolis 500 (2013, 2014 and 2018). In 2021, Indiana natives Carpenter and Conor Daly will share the No. 20 Chevrolet as Carpenter drives the oval races and Daly takes over for the road and street course events. Both will be entered in the Indianapolis 500 alongside 2020 Rookie of the Year Rinus VeeKay, full-time driver of the No. 21 Chevrolet. ECR made its eSports debut in the 2020 iRX World Championship with Jim Beaver eSports. More information may be found at http://www.edcarpenterracing.com/.
Conor Daly and Rinus VeeKay Begin Their 2021 Campaigns This Weekend at Barber Motorsports Park
(INDIANAPOLIS) April 14, 2021 – Preview Notes
For the tenth time, Ed Carpenter Racing is entering a new NTT INDYCAR SERIES season. Featuring the same driver lineup as last year, the Indianapolis-based race team is ready to bring a new level of continuity to the first race of 2021. Rinus VeeKay, 2020 NTT INDYCAR SERIES Rookie of the Year, is back for his second year as full-time driver of the No. 21 SONAX Chevrolet. Conor Daly has also returned, driving the No. 20 Chevrolet for the road and street course events. Barber Motorsports Park outside of Birmingham, Ala. will host the season-opener this weekend.
CONOR DALY, No. 20 U.S. Air Force Chevrolet: ““To kick off the season at Barber Motorsports Park is very exciting. It feels like forever since I’ve raced there, back in 2017. I can’t wait to return, what a great circuit! We tested strongly there, which is really encouraging. Both Rinus VeeKay and I have been pretty confident in our cars. To get this season started with the U.S. Air Force and Chevrolet power, I’m so ready for that. We know our car looks cool, now it’s time to go get some trophies with it!”
Conor Daly has returned to Ed Carpenter Racing for a second season and will compete in 14 of 17 events this year. In 2020, he split his talent between two teams. The 29-year-old drove the No. 20 U.S. Air Force Chevrolet for ECR during the road and street course events and the No. 47 in the Indianapolis 500. While ECR team owner Ed Carpenter raced the No. 20 on ovals, Daly stepped into Carlin’s No. 59. In addition to four Top 10 finishes, Daly earned his first career pole position at Iowa Speedway.
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. The design of Daly’s 2021 road and street course car celebrates the U.S. Air Force’s B-2 Spirit stealth bomber. The No. 20 was painted in ECR’s race shop and features a pattern of silver, blue and black silhouettes of the only stealth bomber in the world. A dramatic leap forward in technology, the bomber represents a major milestone in the U.S. bomber modernization program. Its low-observable, or “stealth,” characteristics give it the unique ability to penetrate an enemy’s most sophisticated defenses and threaten its most valued and heavily defended targets.
Daly climbed into a kart for the first time at the age of 10. Within five years he was competing in both United States and international open-wheel ladder systems. After finding success in each, he made the decision to concentrate solely on American motorsports in 2015. Over the past seven years, the Noblesville, Ind., native has competed in over 60 Indy car races. Known for a desire to sharpen his skills by racing in different disciplines, Daly has recently competed in USAC Midgets, Lamborghini Super Trofeo North America and NASCAR Camping World Truck Series.
RINUS VEEKAY, No. 21 SONAX/Autogeek Chevrolet: “I am excited to start my second season, excited to go racing, excited to get adrenaline in my veins! We had two great tests at Barber Motorsports Park in the offseason and we were fast in both. Of course, that doesn’t say how the race weekend is going to go, but it definitely shows we have the pace. It’s a cool track. I’m super ready and feel very confident, we have a strong car. We should have a good opening weekend of the season!”
Ed Carpenter Racing’s No. 21 Chevrolet will also feature a familiar name as Rinus VeeKay continues as the team’s full-time driver. VeeKay’s debut NTT INDYCAR SERIES campaign was full of milestones, culminating in the 2020 Rookie of the Year title. By starting 4th in the Indianapolis 500, he recorded the best qualifying result by a teenager in Indianapolis 500 history. The only Chevrolet-powered driver in the Fast Nine Shootout was also the fastest rookie in the field. When VeeKay returned to IMS as a 20-year-old for the Harvest GP, he won his first NTT INDYCAR SERIES pole position, led the first laps of his Indy car career and earned his first podium finish.
VeeKay’s No. 21 will also sport a new look for the 2021 season, featuring the colors of SONAX USA. 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.
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. He found immediate success, following up a second-place finish in the 2017 USF2000 standings with the 2018 Indy Pro 2000 title. Before joining ECR, VeeKay claimed six race wins and finished on the podium 14 of 18 times en route to a runner-up finish in 2019 Indy Lights standings.
ED CARPENTER RACING
Now with 250 race starts, 2021 will mark Ed Carpenter Racing’s 10th season of NTT INDYCAR SERIES competition. ECR began as a single-car organization in 2012, expanding to two full-time entries in 2015. For the first time since having multiple entries, the team will enjoy the continuity of having the same driver lineup from the previous season. The trio of Carpenter, Daly and VeeKay will again make up ECR’s three-car lineup for the Indianapolis 500.
ECR is led by Ed Carpenter, the only individual in the NTT INDYCAR SERIES who handles both the responsibility of driving the racecar and owning his own team. As one of the most experienced drivers in the field, 2021 will be Carpenter’s 19th season of Indy car competition. He solidified his status as a hometown favorite when he scored back-to-back pole positions for the Indianapolis 500 in 2013 and 2014, then again in 2018. Carpenter’s first race weekend of the season will be the Texas Motor Speedway oval, where won in 2014.
Day-to-day operations at ECR remain under the direction of General Manager Tim Broyles and chief mechanic Bret Schmitt. Leadership on the No. 21 also features consistency with ECR chief engineer Matt Barnes serving as VeeKay’s lead engineer and Jeff Frederick as crew chief. Peter Craik continues as lead engineer for the No. 20 and the team has welcomed Jeff Grahn as crew chief. Strategists will again be Brent “Woody” Harvey for VeeKay and Broyles for the No. 20 car, a position he has held since ECR’s first race in 2012. Nearly a dozen of the team’s 40 employees are original hires, including Broyles, Schmitt, Barnes and Harvey.
BARBER MOTORSPORTS PARK
As the 2020 Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama was cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the 2021 event will be VeeKay’s first NTT INDYCAR SERIES event at the 2.38-mile road course while Daly competed in 2016 and 2017. Both drivers tested twice at Barber Motorsports Park over the offseason, once in early November 2020 and then late February 2021. Based on unofficial lap times, VeeKay was the fastest driver in both tests and Daly posted Top 6 lap times each day. ECR was the winning team at Barber Motorsports Park in 2015 with Josef Newgarden behind the wheel.
The Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama will be a two-day event for the NTT INDYCAR SERIES. Two practice sessions on Saturday will be followed by late afternoon qualifying, all streaming live through NBC’s Peacock Premium. The 2021 NTT INDYCAR SERIES will officially begin at 3:42 p.m. ET on Sunday, April 18 at the drop of the green flag for the 90-lap race. Live coverage will begin at 3 p.m. ET on NBC.
(INDIANAPOLIS) March 30, 2021 – Ed Carpenter Racing and the U.S. Air Force are proud to unveil Conor Daly’s No. 20 U.S. Air Force Chevrolet for the 2021 NTT INDYCAR SERIES season. In a brand-new design for 2021, Daly’s NTT INDYCAR SERIES car celebrates the U.S. Air Force’s B-2 Spirit stealth bomber. The No. 20 was painted in ECR’s race shop and features a pattern of silver, blue and black silhouettes of the only stealth bomber in the world. A group of select Airmen from the 509th Bomb Wing were the first to see the 2021 U.S. Air Force Chevrolet two weeks ago. Daly and members of the Ed Carpenter Racing team travelled to Whiteman Air Force Base, Missouri, to meet the men and women who maintain, support and operate the aircraft and displayed the No. 20 car alongside the inspiration behind its design, a B-2 Spirit. The 509th Bomb Wing and its fleet of B-2s serve as part of the U.S. Air Force’s conventional and strategic combat force. Whiteman AFB is the only operational base for the strategic stealth bomber.
“The Air Force’s liveries have traditionally drawn inspiration from the fighter aircraft community, but air power is about much more than fighter aircraft,” said Major Jason Wyche, Chief, National Events Branch, Air Force Recruiting Service. “The B-2 plays a critical role in the defense of our nation, bringing massive firepower to bear, anywhere in the world, in a short amount of time. The B-2 is an iconic aircraft, so we are really excited to unveil this design highlighting the stealth bomber and the Airmen supporting that mission.”
The B-2 Spirit is a multi-role bomber capable of delivering both conventional and nuclear munitions. A dramatic leap forward in technology, the bomber represents a major milestone in the U.S. bomber modernization program. Its low-observable, or “stealth,” characteristics give it the unique ability to penetrate an enemy’s most sophisticated defenses and threaten its most valued and heavily defended targets. First flown in 1989, it will continue to provide a strong, effective deterrent and combat force well into the 21st century.
Daly, 29, is continuing a partnership with the U.S. Air Force that originated four years ago. 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 competed in the full 2020 schedule, splitting his talent between two teams. Daly drove the No. 20 U.S. Air Force Chevrolet for Ed Carpenter Racing during the road and street course events and the No. 47 in the Indianapolis 500. While ECR team owner Ed Carpenter raced the No. 20 on ovals, Daly stepped into Carlin’s No. 59. In addition to four Top 10 finishes, Daly earned his first career pole position at Iowa Speedway. Known for a desire to sharpen his skills by racing in different disciplines, Daly has recently competed in USAC Midgets, Lamborghini Super Trofeo North America and the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series.
“To be able to pay tribute to one of the most outstanding aircrafts in the U.S. Air Force fleet is really incredible. The B-2 Spirit represents some of the greatest technology in the modern world and some of the most impressive air power. For it to be on our NTT INDYCAR SERIES car means a lot to myself and ECR, we hope it’s as powerful as the B-2,” Daly stated. “We have such incredible cars every year. We’ve showcased the history of the fighter jet, which is so fitting since our cars look like fighter jets. Now, we’ve got the B-2 on our car in a really cool pattern. We really hope the fans love it as much as we do!”
The 2021 NTT INDYCAR SERIES schedule consists of 13 road and street course events, all of which will feature Daly in ECR’s No. 20. The B-2 Spirit design will make its race weekend debut in the season opener at Barber Motorsports Park on April 17-18. It will also race at St. Petersburg, Belle Isle, Road America, Mid-Ohio, Nashville, Portland, Laguna Seca and Long Beach. Though Daly will sport a special edition livery for the 105th Running of the Indianapolis 500, the B-2 scheme will first be seen on-track on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway oval. The B-2 car will be branded as the No. 47 during the open test on April 8-9, which will again be Daly’s Indy 500 number. The official design of the No. 47 will be unveiled in April.