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.”
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. Hopefully we can celebrate it with a good result from today’s race. @ECRIndy @IndyCar pic.twitter.com/Jlu8jMIZNv
— Rinus VeeKay (@rinusveekay) October 25, 2020
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.”