Bryan Herta talks Pocono withdrawal, Hawksworth injury

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Verizon IndyCar Series rookie Jack Hawksworth is frustrated at not being able to compete in today’s Pocono IndyCar 500 according to his team owner, Bryan Herta.

In an interview with NBCSN’s Robin Miller during today’s telecast, Herta revealed that the young Brit was “pretty [ticked] off that he’s not out there racing today.”

Hawksworth was held out of today’s race after suffering a myocardial contusion in a crash during yesterday’s second practice session.

After being evaluated at Pocono Raceway, he was transported to a local hospital for overnight observation. He will need another evaluation before being allowed to compete in next weekend’s event at Iowa Speedway.

Meanwhile, Bryan Herta Autosport opted to withdraw Hawksworth’s No. 98 Honda. In a team release, they said that running a substitute driver in today’s race was not feasible.

“We’re expecting him to bounce back next week at Iowa,” Herta said to Miller. “The guys are working on getting the [backup] car ready…It’s a bump in the road. It’s unfortunate, but we should back on track next week.”

The tub and gearbox of Hawksworth’s car was damaged in his incident, which had him spin out and hit the wall flush on the left side.

Hawksworth was checked, cleared and released from the Pocono Raceway infield care center afterwards. He expressed confidence in a radio interview about competing in qualifying later on Saturday if BHA could make repairs in time – but neither he or the car made an appearance.

Rinus VeeKay to drive for Ed Carpenter Racing in 2020

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Ed Carpenter Racing has signed 2019 Indy Lights runner-up Rinus VeeKay to drive the full 2020 NTT IndyCar Series season, the team announced Wednesday.

VeeKay will drive the No. 21 Chevrolet previously occupied by Spencer Pigot.

“I’m so happy!” the 19-year-old driver from the Netherlands said in a press release. “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.”

In his maiden Indy Lights season this year, VeeKay collected six race victories and seven pole potions. VeeKay previously won the 2018 Indy Pro 2000 championship, and finished second in the 2017 USF2000 standings.

VeeKay’s success in the ladder series caught the attention of Carpenter, who gave VeeKay the opportunity to first test for the team at Portland International Raceway in August.

“I have been following Rinus’s path through the Road to Indy, especially the past two years,” Carpenter said. “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.”

As a driver, Carpenter will be VeeKay’s teammate during the five oval races in 2020, once again returning to the team’s No. 20 entry. An announcement on which driver will pilot the No. 20 on the road and street circuits will be made at a later time.

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