Rinus VeeKay will return in IndyCar with Ed Carpenter Racing for the 2021 season

Ed Carpenter Rinus VeeKay
Joe Skibinski/IndyCar

Rinus VeeKay, the presumptive rookie of the year in the 2020 NTT IndyCar Series, will return to the No. 21 Dallara-Chevrolet with Ed Carpenter Racing for the 2021 season.

The team made the announcement Sunday morning, hours before VeeKay, 20, was set to clinch top rookie honors by starting the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg season finale.

“I am very happy to be back with Ed Carpenter Racing in 2021,” said VeeKay, who earned his first pole position for the Oct. 2 race at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course. “I feel like an entirely different driver than I was at the beginning of the year. The team has been so patient with me and given me every opportunity to learn as much as possible. I have a great group of guys around me and I can’t wait to have that same amazing support next year.”

The Dutchman was the runner-up in the 2019 Indy Lights Series. After struggling to enter the country because of novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic restrictions, he got off to a slow start with two crashes at Texas Motor Speedway, but he steadily improved from there.

He finished fifth in the July 4 race at the IMS road course and qualified fourth for the Indianapolis 500. He notched another fourth at World Wide Technology Raceway and then his first podium with a third place at the Harvest GP.

“The 2020 NTT IndyCar Series is one that we will never forget,” team owner Ed Carpenter said in a release. “With all the challenges that have been presented, limited track time and schedule changes, we have seen Rinus progress rapidly from the start of the season until now. It is clear to us that he has all of the tools to be a winner at this level and we look forward to climbing the podium together.”

Said VeeKay: “We have had amazing results and great achievements this year. There is even more possible next year when we get back to a normal schedule. I am really looking forward to doubling my knowledge and not being a rookie.”

Travis Pastrana leads flag-to-flag in Nitro Rallycross as the series returns to America

Pastrana Nitro Rallycross
Barry Chin / Getty Images

Travis Pastrana waited until the final trip around ERX Motor Park to take his Joker Lap – a longer way around the course that all drivers must do at least once in a race – and came out cleanly to win his first Nitro Rallycross race of 2022. With this win, Pastrana is the third driver to visit Victory Lane in the first three rounds of the 2022-23 season.

“This is the closest to a motocross track,” Pastrana told Katie Osborne on Peacock. “Thank you so much for a beautiful facility. It’s been a rough start to the season and I’m so thankful to be back out here. We had a good run in the side-by-side and now for this. This is much needed.”

Another thing needed was the sense of improvement. And Pastrana earned that affirmation each time he completed a lap around the course.

“I get my lap times read out and they said ‘fastest time of the week,’ ‘fastest time of the week’ (each time around) ” Pastrana said. “This is really special. We’re a long way behind in the championship, but welcome to America.”

In a pre-race press conference, Pastrana said that as Nitro Rallycross heads back to America, it was time for an American to win and he made good on his promise. Pastrana took the early lead over Robin Larsson and let the back of his Subaru hang out, taking risks he might not otherwise take if not for his need to win.

How to Watch Nitro Rallycross

Larsson’s second-place finish completed a perfect sweep of the podium in three rounds. In fact, he has not yet finished worse than second after winning the opening round at Lydden Hill in the United Kingdom and finishing second at Strangnas in Sweeden.

Fraser McConnel rounded out the podium for his best result of the season. He finished fourth in each of the first two rounds.

Last year, Pastrana finished second in this race to Scott Speed before narrowly edging his teammate for the championship.

Andreas Bakkerud crashed in prelims, but rebounded to finish just off the block in fourth. Bakkerud won the second round ahead of his teammate Larsson.

Oliver Bennett completed the top five.

Minneapolis is the first of three rounds scheduled in the United States. Next on the schedule is Glen Helen, Calif. on Octo 30 and then Phoenix at Wild Horse Pass on November 12th. Nitro Rallycross will then head to Saudi Arabia in December to continue their 2022-23 season.