Oriol Servia defends moves that drew controversy, criticism in Indy 500

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After being lambasted by runner-up Alexander Rossi for “one of the most disrespectful things I’ve ever seen in a race car,” Oriol Servia defended his Indianapolis 500 maneuvers.

The Spaniard’s Dallara-Honda was a lap down with fewer than 50 laps remaining when he nearly made contact with Rossi, who was running in the top five.

After nearly hitting the inside wall on the frontstretch, Rossi passed Servia on the outside down the frontstretch the following lap.

Rossi wildly shook his right hand outside the cockpit while hanging onto the wheel with his left at 230 mph.

FULL INDIANAPOLIS 500 COVERAGE: Stories from two weeks in May at IMS 

“He’s a lap down and defending, putting me to the wall at 230 miles an hour,” Rossi said of Servia.

“It’s unacceptable. It’s unacceptable for him, and it’s unacceptable that IndyCar allowed it to happen as long as they did.”

In a series of tweets Tuesday night, Servia defended his actions, which he said were permitted by IndyCar rules (his driving wasn’t penalized by the stewards).

Servia also noted that he was in a situation similar to third-place finisher Takuma Sato, and that if he’d caught the right breaks on cautions and how the race unfolded for other cars, he could have been back on the lead lap.

For the second consecutive year, the Indy 500 is Servia’s only scheduled IndyCar race this season. He will return to driving the pace car for the NTT Series in serveral races, which he discussed on a recent episode of the NASCAR on NBC Podcast.

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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