NASCAR: Top drivers of 2014 – No. 22 Brian Vickers

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Brian Vickers

Season finish: 22nd

2014 Season Stats: 0 Wins, 3 Top-5s, 9 Top-10s, 1 Pole.

What went right: Just being able to return to full-time Sprint Cup competition was huge for Vickers, who ran a full, 36-race Cup schedule for the first time since he lost his ride at Team Red Bull after its 2011 shutdown. Restrictor plate events were particularly fruitful for Vickers; he earned two of his three Top-5 finishes in 2014 (including his season-best of second at Daytona in July) as well as a pole on the mega-tracks.

What went wrong: Following a decent early-season stretch (two Top-5s, 5 Top-10s in the first 12 races), Vickers lost an engine early at Dover and finished 43rd. That appears to be where the year took a turn for the worse, as his results, outside the aforementioned runner-up at Daytona, became largely mediocre.

2015 Prospectus: It was pretty clear that Michael Waltrip Racing struggled with downsizing to a two-car team after its Richmond 2013 race manipulation incident. In addition to Vickers’ woes, teammate Clint Bowyer also faltered noticeably. Unfortunately, Vickers will have to wait for his opportunity at redemption. Heart-related health issues – the latest in a series of medical setbacks that have hampered his career – have forced him out of the car for at least the early part of the 2015 season. We wish him the best and we hope to see him back behind the wheel soon.

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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