In his second season in IndyCar, Rinus VeeKay busted out of the gates strong for Ed Carpenter Racing in 2021. After a difficult rookie season, plagued by lack of practice due to shorter race weekends during the pandemic leading to mixed results, VeeKay was ready to show the IndyCar world what he could do with the normal prep time given on a normal race weekend. VeeKay showed flashes of brilliance his rookie season, scoring three top 5 finishes and a pole position for Dale Coyne Racing, despite the lack of on track time.
2021 got off to a great start, scoring top 10 finishes in six of the first seven races of the season, including a win at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course and a front row start in the 105th Indy 500. After an 8th place finish in the 500, Rinus found himself 5th in the IndyCar points standings. Rumors swirled of the future for Rinus and Ed Carpenter Racing. Could Team Penske swoop up the young, clean shaving driver like they did Josef Newgarden?
Unfortunately, Rinus’s 2021 campaign was derailed in early June. While on a 75 mile cycling trip, VeeKay flipped over his handlebars and dislocated his collarbone. The injury would sideline VeeKay for the race at Road America. Oliver Askew would fill in, piloting the #21 Ed Carpenter Racing Chevy to a 12th place finish. VeeKay would return to the cockpit at Mid-Ohio.
That cycling accident changed the season for VeeKay. He would struggle the remainder of the season, finishing no higher than 16th in any race.. It was a frustrating change of pace for the entire team. In his return to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in August, VeeKay qualified inside the top 10, just missing out on the Fast 6. However, despite the fact this is VeeKay’s best track on the schedule, he could only muster a 24th place finish. The 2021 season couldn’t come to an end fast enough for VeeKay.
The only good news for Rinus in the latter half of the season was the announcement that he would return to Ed Carpenter Racing for the 2022 season. As a race winner, under the watchful eyes of Ed Carpenter and engineer Matt Barnes, the 2022 season is a year of getting back to the results the team shared at the start of the 2021 season. Keep in mind, VeeKay will be in his third year of IndyCar competition at the age of 21. With a one year deal at Ed Carpenter Racing and the possibility of rides being open at Team Penske and Andretti Autosport, this could be a career defying season for the young Dutchman.
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