By Christopher DeHarde, Staff Writer
The Road to Indy’s biggest rivalry over the last three seasons will continue in the 2020 NTT IndyCar Series.
Ed Carpenter Racing has announced that Rinus VeeKay (simplified version of van Kalmthout) will join the team as the full season driver of the No. 21 Chevrolet.
VeeKay’s rise through the Road to Indy mirrors that of his biggest rival, Oliver Askew. The pair raced against each other in USF2000 in 2017, Indy Pro 2000 in 2018 and Indy Lights in 2019. VeeKay won 16 races during those three years to Askew’s 15 and won the 2018 Indy Pro 2000 championship, finishing second to Askew in the other two Road to Indy campaigns.
“I’m so happy!” said VeeKay in a team statement. “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.”
The Dutch racer’s rise to the IndyCar Series comes at Spencer Pigot’s expense. The winningest driver on the Road to Indy, Pigot raced for Ed Carpenter Racing on a part-time basis in 2016 and 2017, partnering with the eponymous team owner as the road and street course driver of the team’s No. 20 entry. Pigot moved over to the No. 21 before the 2018 season, earning one podium, four top five finishes and 10 top-10 finishes in the last two IndyCar seasons.
VeeKay tested for Ed Carpenter Racing at Portland in August and at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course in October, having won on both tracks during his tenure in the Road to Indy.
“I have been following Rinus’s path through the Road to Indy, especially the past two years,” Carpenter said in a team statement. “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.”
Ed Carpenter Racing will announce the road and street course driver of the No. 20 entry at a later date. The 2020 NTT IndyCar Series begins on the streets of St. Petersburg, Florida on March 15th.