By: Tanner Watkins
November 20, 2019 | 7:30 AM
Riding the momentum of a runner-up finish in the 2019 Indy Lights championship, 19-year-old driver Rinus VeeKay has been signed by Ed Carpenter Racing to become a full-time participant in the NTT IndyCar Series.
“I have been following Rinus’s path through the Road to Indy, especially the past two years,” said Ed Carpenter, the team owner who has brought VeeKay under his wing.
“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.”
Additionally, the press release by Ed Carpenter Racing states that Carpenter himself will once again be in the No. 20 machine in the 2020 season – likely as an oval specialist.
For VeeKay, the Netherlands native racked up six wins and 14 podium results during the most recent Indy Lights season, which was preceded by a championship in Indy Pro 2000 and another runner-up finish in USF2000.
In 48 races as a Road to Indy driver, VeeKay has amassed an astounding 36 podium finishes. After getting his start in karting at the age of 8 to now being a full-time driver in the NTT IndyCar Series, VeeKay is more than excited to get the ball rolling with his new team.
“I’m so happy!” VeeKay said on Wednesday. “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.”
VeeKay continues: “I would like to thank Ed Carpenter and his partners for this great opportunity and trust. The number of available seats in the NTT IndyCar Series is very limited, so it’s a great honor that they have chosen me to join their team.”
VeeKay takes over for Spencer Pigot, who piloted ECR’s No. 21 machine over the last two years. In 34 starts, Pigot notched one podium (Iowa 2018) and had an average finish of 13.4. At this year’s Indianapolis 500, Pigot led four laps after qualifying third, but ended up with a 14th-place finish.
The European teenager VeeKay joins a crop of impressive young talent which has been accumulating in the NTT IndyCar Series recently, including drivers such as Colton Herta, Oliver Askew, Patricio O’Ward, and Felix Rosenqvist.
The 2020 NTT IndyCar Series season will kick-off of March 15 with the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg.
Header image by Road to Indy.