Rinus VeeKay signs multiyear extension to stay with Ed Carpenter Racing in IndyCar

Rinus VeeKay extension Carpenter
Brian Spurlock/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

One piece of IndyCar’s silly season fell into place Thursday when Rinus VeeKay announced a multiyear extension with Ed Carpenter Racing.

The 21-year-old Dutchman said on Twitter he was staying in the No. 21 Chevrolet, and unlike recent contract dealings in both IndyCar and Formula One, this one was backed minutes later when ECR confirmed the news.

VeeKay, who was permitted to talk to other teams as of Monday of this week, entered into free agency with a new agent this season. Rather than wait to see how the situation is resolved at Chip Ganassi Racing with reigning IndyCar champion Alex Palou, VeeKay decided to stay where he is and not gamble on the No. 10 at Ganassi possibly opening.

INDYCAR AT NASHVILLESchedules, details for watching this weekend on NBC

IndyCar rookie Callum Illot did the same last week when he honored a handshake deal with Juncos Hollinger Racing to return next year – even though the No. 10 could open if Palou finds a way out of his hotly contested contract. Ganassi is suing the Spaniard over a deal Palou signed to join McLaren Racing – although it’s not clear if that’s for an IndyCar or F1 seat.

“I am very excited to continue with Ed Carpenter Racing for what will be my fourth year,” VeeKay said. “Ed Carpenter gave me the opportunity to drive for the team when I came out of Indy Lights and has let me showcase my talents in an Indy car ever since.

“The continuity at ECR is great, there have barely been any changes in my time here, and it’s very nice to have the same group of people around me all the time.”

VeeKay was the 2020 IndyCar rookie of the year and scored his only career victory last year on the road course at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. He’s since tattooed the date of that breakthrough victory on his bicep.

VeeKay has one pole this year, one podium finish, and is ranked 11th in the IndyCar standings headed into Sunday’s race in the downtown streets of Nashville. He’s twice qualified on the front row for the Indianapolis 500.

Team owner Ed Carpenter watched VeeKay progress through the Road to Indy, which included one championship, two runner-up finishes in the points standings, 16 wins and 36 podiums in just 48 races.

“I am so happy to be able to extend our relationship with Rinus, he is an extremely versatile and talented driver,” said Carpenter. “It has been and remains our hope to build our team to new heights with Rinus helping lead the charge. Our goals and expectations are to win races and to compete for championships. With Rinus’s growth and the support from BitNile and Todd Ault, we are primed for success.”

VeeKay becomes the longest-tenured, full-time driver in Ed Carpenter Racing’s 11-year history.

His extension comes amidst a flurry of crazed free agency in both IndyCar and F1. Ganassi said it picked up its option on Palou last month and then hours later Palou said he would not be returning to the team. Minutes after that, McLaren said it had signed Palou.

Just this week, the F1 dominoes began to fall when Fernando Alonso blindsided Alpine by signing with Aston Martin. The next day, Alpine said it was promoting reserve driver Oscar Piastri, only for the 21-year-old Australian to denounce the move.

Piastri is also believed to have a contract with McLaren, which gives McLaren far too many drivers for available seats. The Palou debacle is already in the court system; Piastri’s situation is less clear.

In IndyCar, several drivers are still attempting to finalize their 2023 plans, including seven-time NASCAR champion Jimmie Johnson. He’d like to return for a third season of IndyCar but has yet to secure a commitment on funding from sponsor Carvana.

Four-time Indianapolis 500 winner Helio Castroneves is also still working on his future and wants to return for a full season with Meyer-Shank Racing. The Brazilian said he’s not interested in running Indy only for Shank and wants a full year.

Castroneves is also attempting to get a seat in NASCAR’s season-opening Daytona 500.

Seattle Supercross by the numbers: Three riders separated by 17 points


Three riders remain locked in a tight battle with 17 points separating the leader Cooper Webb from third-place Chase Sexton and these are only a few Supercross numbers to consider entering Seattle.

Seattle Supercross numbers
Chase Sexton made a statement in Detroit with his second win of 2023. – Feld Motor Sports

For the fifth time in 10 rounds. Sexton, Webb, and Eli Tomac shared the podium in Detroit. Between them, the trio has taken 23 podiums, leaving only seven for the remainder of the field. Jason Anderson, Ken Roczen and Justin Barcia have two each with Aaron Plessinger scoring the other.

Webb and Tomac won the last four championships with two apiece in alternating years, but they were not one another’s primary rival for most of those seasons. On the average, however, the past four years show an incredible similarity with average points earned of 21.0 for Webb and 21.3 for Tomac. With five wins so far this season, Tomac (23 wins) leads Webb (19) in victories but Webb (43) edges Tomac (41) in podium finishes during this span.

Tomac has won two of the last three Seattle races and those two wins in this stadium are topped only by James Stewart. Fittingly, if Tomac gets a third win this week, he will tie Stewart for second on the all-time wins’ list. Tomac tied Ricky Carmichael for third with 48 wins at Oakland and took sole possession of that spot with his Daytona win.

Sexton still has a lot to say and after winning last week in Detroit, he is speaking up. The Supercross numbers are against him entering Seattle, however, because a points’ deficit this large after Round 10 has been erased only once. In 1983 David Bailey was 47 points behind Bob Hannah, and like Sexton he was also in third place. Bailey took the points’ lead with one race remaining.

The seven points Sexton was penalized last week for jumping in a red cross flag section in Detroit could prove extremely costly.

In fact, it has been a series of mistakes that has cost Sexton the most. In the last two weeks, he lost 10 points with a 10th-place finish to go with his penalty. Erase those, and all three riders hold their fate in their hands.

Plessinger’s heartbreak in Detroit is still fresh, but the upside of his run is that was his best of the season and could turn his fortunes around. Prior to that race, he led only seven laps in three mains. He was up front for 20 laps in Detroit with five of those being the fastest on the track.

Last week’s win by Hunter Lawrence tied him with his brother Jett Lawrence for 17th on the all-time wins’ list. With the focus shifting to 250 West for the next two rounds, Jett has a great opportunity to pull back ahead. The real test will be at the first East / West Showdown in East Rutherford, New Jersey on April 22.

Last Five Seattle Winners

2022: Eli Tomac
2019: Marvin Musquin
2018: Eli Tomac
2017: Marvin Musquin
2014: Ryan Villopoto

2022: Hunter Lawrence
2019: Dylan Ferrandis
2018: Aaron Plessinger
2017: Aaron Plessinger
2014: Cole Seely

By the Numbers

Anaheim 2
San Diego

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