Born Rinus van Kalmthout, Rinus VeeKay hails from the North Holland province of the Netherlands and makes his NTT IndyCar Series debut in the 2020 IndyCar season, driving for Ed Carpenter Racing. VeeKay is also the only full-time driver at ECR – Ed Carpenter and Conor Daly are both running limited schedules.
No. 21 Ed Carpenter Racing (1st year)
VeeKay finished second in the 2019 Indy Lights championship. He won six races (a third of the season). Recorded four consecutive poles in the final four races of the season, winning three of those four events. Finished 21 points behind champion Oliver Askew, and led 250 laps, the most of any driver (109 more than Askew’s second-place 141).
Changes for 2020
Rinus VeeKay moves up to open-wheel racing’s premier series in the Western Hemisphere for 2020. He replaces Spencer Pigot in Ed Carpenter Racing’s No. 21.
My debut weekend. A nightmare. pic.twitter.com/AHSGgTux2m
— Rinus VeeKay (@rinusveekay) June 7, 2020
Strengths in 2020
Rookie seasons have strengths and weaknesses, but Rinus VeeKay can use the altered season to his advantage. He has several fellow full-time rookie drivers (Askew and Palou) to run with, and the familiarity of running with Askew might help VeeKay’s assimilation into the top division of IndyCar.
The breaks in the schedule—the month between the first and second races, particularly—will help VeeKay get adjusted to things and learn more about the cars.
Weaknesses in 2020
Rookie weaknesses will play a big part in Rinus VeeKay’s first season in the NTT IndyCar Series. His first race didn’t exactly go well, which would hurt any driver’s confidence, and inexperience will be a factor in his first season. The altered 2020 season and schedule breaks could also work to the Dutchman’s detriment, given his “normal” schedule in 2019 in Indy Lights and the general chaos of the pandemic’s effect on races.
Rinus VeeKay’s experience and success in Indy Lights should be of great help to him in 2020, as well the fact that he’s running a full season. He should be able to grab a top-10 finish here or there, and could play strategy the right way to snag a podium. Taking care of his equipment and learning the car at his own pace will be a positive for him as well.
Don’t expect too much from VeeKay or any other rookie in their first full seasons, but racing with the veterans of the series will help VeeKay’s introduction into the series tremendously.
The 2020 IndyCar season continues on Saturday, July 4 with the GMR Grand Prix at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. The race will air at 12:15 p.m. ET on NBC.