NASCAR: Top drivers of 2014 – No. 19 Clint Bowyer

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Clint Bowyer

Season finish: 19th

2014 Season Stats: 0 wins, 5 top-5, 15 top-10, 0 Poles.

What went right: Very little went right for Bowyer this year. His best performances were a pair of third-place finishes, both at Talladega, as well as a third-place showing in the final race before the Chase at Richmond. Unfortunately, even with the strong finish at Richmond, Bowyer fell just short of making the Chase (due primarily to the 38th-place finish he had the week before at Atlanta). Off the track, one thing that went very right: Bowyer became a father for the first time.

What went wrong: What didn’t go wrong for Bowyer? He endured the worst season of his nine-year Cup career. He just never seemed able to get on track, nor was he able to maintain any kind of consistency from race-to-race. And let’s not forget he came into 2014 after the scandal by Michael Waltrip Racing to manipulate Martin Truex Jr.’s finish to make the Chase at the late summer race at Richmond in 2013. Bowyer now hasn’t won a race since 2012, when he won a career-high three races. His average start was 15.8 and average finish was 17.1.

2015 Prospectus: With the way 2014 played out, things likely can’t get much worse and can only go up for Bowyer in 2015. However, overall team continuity could be affected early in the season with teammate Brian Vickers being sidelined for the early part of the season due to medical issues. Bowyer will have to get used to a different teammate for an unknown number of races. Still, Bowyer is a resilient type. After two winless seasons plus his worst-ever Cup finish, he’s a candidate to potentially be comeback driver of the year in 2015 – but only if things go right.

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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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