Rinus VeeKay signs a multi-year extension to stay in IndyCar with Ed Carpenter Racing

Rinus VeeKay Extension Carpenter

Rinus VeeKay Extension Carpenter

Part of IndyCar’s summer slump happened on Thursday when Rinus VeeKay announced a multi-year extension with Ed Carpenter Racing.

The 21-year-old Dutchman said on Twitter he was staying in the No. 21 Chevrolet and contrary to recent contract deals in both IndyCar and Formula 1this was supported minutes later when ECR confirmed the news.

VeeKay, who was allowed to speak with other teams starting Monday this week, went free this season with a new agent. Rather than waiting to see how the situation at Chip Ganassi Racing with reigning IndyCar Champion Alex Palou resolves, VeeKay decided to stay where he is and not bet on the number 10 at Ganassi, which may open.

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IndyCar rookie Callum Illot did the same thing last week when he held a handshake deal with Junco’s Hollinger Racing to return next year – although the number 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 it’s an IndyCar or F1 seat.

“I’m really looking forward to continuing into my fourth year with Ed Carpenter Racing,” said VeeKay. “Ed Carpenter gave me the opportunity to drive for the team when I came out of Indy Lights and has had me show off my talents in an Indy car ever since.

“The continuity at ECR is great, hardly anything has changed during my time here and it’s very nice to always have the same circle around me.”

VeeKay was the 2020 IndyCar Rookie of the Year and last year earned his only career win on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway street circuit. He has since had the date of that landmark win tattooed on his bicep.

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

Team owner Ed Carpenter watched VeeKay’s progress on the Road to Indy, which included a championship, two second-place finishes in points standings, 16 wins and 36 podiums in just 48 races.

“I’m really excited to expand our relationship with Rinus, he’s an extremely versatile and talented driver,” said Carpenter. “It was 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 fight for championships. With the growth of Rinus and the support of BitNile and Todd Ault, we are poised for success.”

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

Its renewal comes amid a flurry of mad freelancers in both IndyCar and F1. Ganassi said it took up its option on Palou last month and hours later Palou said he would not be returning to the team. Minutes later, McLaren said it had signed Palou.

Just this week the F1 dominos began to fall as Fernando Alonso stunned 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 deal 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.

At IndyCar, several drivers are still trying to finalize their plans for 2023, including seven-time NASCAR Champion Jimmie Johnson. He would like to return from IndyCar for a third season but has yet to secure a funding commitment from sponsor Carvana.

Four-time Indianapolis 500 winner Helio Castroneves is also still working on his future and wants to return to Meyer-Shank Racing for a full season. The Brazilian said he wasn’t interested in managing Indy just for Shank and wanted a full year.

Castroneves is also trying to snag a spot in NASCAR’s season-opening Daytona 500.

Rinus VeeKay signs a multi-year extension to stay in IndyCar with Ed Carpenter Racing originally appeared on NBCSports.com

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