The countdown for next year’s Indianapolis 500 is already on for Ed Carpenter Racing as yesterday’s 500-mile race left the team hungry for more. ECR expanded from its traditiona two-car lineup to three for the Indy 500, but Ed Carpenter, Conor Daly and Rinus VeeKay each faced their own set of struggles. Carpenter and VeeKay were able to take the checkered flag after early struggles while Daly’s race ended early.
On the very first of 200 laps, another competitor pushed up into Carpenter, causing him to brush the wall in between Turns 1 and 2. He brought the No. 20 U.S. Space Force Chevrolet into the pit lane for what would be lengthy repairs. After a front wing change and new right-side suspension pieces, Carpenter rejoined the race on Lap 14. He used 17 years of Indianapolis 500 experience to drive a clean race the rest of the day, collecting positions as other cars fell out. At the end of 500 miles, Carpenter had climbed up to 26th.
VeeKay qualified 4th, the fastest rookie in the field with the best qualifying result by a teenager in Indianapolis 500 history. Once the first round of stops had been completed, VeeKay had raced his way up to the 3rd position. However, he would be the next to face adversity. He lost control of the car coming in for his second pit stop, locking up his inside front and sliding into his No. 21 SONAX/Autogeek Chevrolet crew members. All seven over-the-wall team members rallied to complete the stop, but then the car stalled on exit. Once VeeKay served a stop-and-hold penalty for striking personnel, he was two laps down. VeeKay raced his way back up through the field, but he remained one lap behind the leaders. He would finish his debut Indianapolis 500 in the 20th position.
Daly would not escape disappointment, either. While he fought the balance of the car in the opening stints, the No. 47 U.S. Air Force Chevrolet crew worked to improve the car on each pit stop. Coming to a restart on Lap 91, the car got away from Daly and spun across the track coming out of Turn 4. He struck the inside wall, ending his day. He was credited with a 29th place finish.
Just a few miles north of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, the Ed Carpenter Racing team has returned to their race shop today to prepare the cars for this weekend’s doubleheader event at WWT Raceway. Carpenter and VeeKay will race on both Saturday, August 29 and Sunday, August 30. While the Indianapolis 500 was forced to run without spectators, WWT Raceway will welcome a limited number of fans for the Bommarito Automotive Group 500 Mega Weekend.
|ED CARPENTER, No. 20 U.S. Space Force Chevrolet, Finished 26th: “Not the day we were hoping for. Our day ended after one corner. I don’t know that I could have done anything different, it didn’t feel like that aggressive of a move on my part. Evidently, the other driver’s spotter cleared him, which is crazy to me. Is it 2021 yet? 2020 is being a tough year right now. I am happy everyone is okay, I know Spencer (Pigot) took a big lick. A couple of our crew guys got whacked in the pits too, so I am also thinking about them. I am terribly disappointed that we weren’t able to show better for the U.S. Space Force and the U.S. Air Force. We wanted to do so much more, but that’s racing sometimes.”|
|RINUS VEEKAY, No. 21 SONAX/Autogeek Chevrolet, Finished 20th: “Of course, everything was new to me and I didn’t want to take too much risk at the start. But we were running third! The team was doing an amazing job. The second pit stop, I came into the box and just hit the brakes a little too hard. I locked up my inside front and my biggest nightmare happened. I hit the crew guys, they work day and night for me so I feel terrible. I will make sure to apologize to everyone. I made one mistake, but it was a big one. Pit stops are something I’m not as familiar with yet, but that’s not an excuse. We had a great car. It got better and better and I was able to pass cars on the inside and the outside. I learned a lot, but not fully in a good way. I just want to thank the team for giving me such an amazing car, but I threw the race away. I feel bad that my teammates Ed and Conor had a tough race, too. There were a lot of bad crashes and I am glad Spencer (Pigot) is fine.”|
|CONOR DALY, No. 47 U.S. Air Force Chevrolet, Finished 29th: “I’m not entirely sure what happened. We were having a good run and it suddenly felt like my left front tire felt into a hole. It was very strange. I thought I had it saved and it was a shame to see Oliver (Askew) hit the wall as well. My mistake and I am just looking forward to Gateway now. I am so thankful for the U.S. Air Force. They are the most incredible partner I’ve ever had and I hate this for them.”|
|About Ed Carpenter RacingEd Carpenter Racing (ECR) first entered the NTT INDYCAR SERIES in 2012. The Indianapolis-based race team has proven its versatility by collecting seven wins across each type of track the series competes on – street and road courses, short ovals and speedways. ECR is led by IndyCar’s only team owner/driver, Ed Carpenter, three-time pole winner for the Indianapolis 500 (2013, 2014 and 2018). The 2020 season will see Indiana natives Carpenter and Conor Daly in the No. 20 Chevrolet as Carpenter will drive the ovals and Daly will take over for the road and street course events. Both will be entered in the Indianapolis 500 alongside Dutch teenager Rinus VeeKay, who will compete for the Rookie of the Year title as he races the No. 21 Chevrolet for the full season. More information on Ed Carpenter Racing may be found at http://www.edcarpenterracing.com/.|
TIL NEXT TIME, I AM STILL WORKING ON MY REDNECK!