The NTT INDYCAR SERIES will conclude a stretch of three back-to-back weekends on three different types of tracks with a return to World Wide Technology Raceway this weekend. Ed Carpenter and Rinus VeeKay will compete on the 1.25-mile oval just minutes outside of St. Louis in a one-day event on Saturday. As the 2021 season consists of only four oval races at three tracks, the Bommarito Automotive Group 500 will be Carpenter’s last race this year.
“I am really excited to get back to WWT Raceway,” Carpenter said this week via a team release. “We have had good results there in the past and I can’t wait to finish my driving season off on a high note.”
Carpenter’s 2020 weekend at WWT Raceway stood in stark contrast to 2019. Last year, he was collected in a multi-car incident on Lap 1 of Race 1. Despite the hard work by his team, the No. 20 did not handle the same in Race 2 as it did before he was hit and he finished 18th. However, in 2019, Carpenter ended his season in style. He worked his way through the entire field to earn a runner-up finish. Coming to the checkered flag, Carpenter trailed Takuma Sato to the line by only .0399 of a second.
Carpenter has also held the dual roles of owner and driver for 10 seasons at that. He founded his own team, Ed Carpenter Racing, prior to the 2012 NTT INDYCAR SERIES season. As he now competes exclusively in the oval races, the Bommarito Automotive Group 500 will mark the conclusion of his 19th year of Indy car competition.
ECR’s No. 20 U.S. Air Force Chevrolet entry is split between Conor Daly on the road and street courses and Carpenter on the ovals. Carpenter’s other events this year include the doubleheader at Texas Motor Speedway and the Indianapolis 500.
For his teammate this weekend, after two tough races, VeeKay is ready for redemption at a track he found success at in 2020.
“I can’t wait be back racing at WWT Raceway,” he said. “I had my best doubleheader there last season. I see this weekend it as an opportunity to end the streak of bad results that I have had the past few races.”
During VeeKay’s rookie campaign in 2020, the WWT Raceway weekend was the best of his career up to that point. In the doubleheader event, VeeKay started 14th in Race 1. He drove up to a 6th place finish, which was his highest finish on an oval until the next day. At the start of Race 2, VeeKay went four-wide down the backstretch and gained seven positions in the first lap. He continued a spirited charge through the field for the duration of the event, eventually climbing to 4th place.
He earned six Top 10 finishes in the first seven races of the this season, including his first career victory at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course in mid-May. One week later, the 20-year-old became the youngest front row starter in Indianapolis 500 history as he qualified 3rd. VeeKay added a podium finish on a street course to his list of accomplishments with a second-place finish in Race 1 of Chevrolet Detroit Grand Prix.