Ed Carpenter Racing heads to IMS with sights set on a strong weekend

INDIANAPOLIS — The Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course is typically a track that lends a friendly hand to some drivers that aren’t typically accustomed to running at the front of the pack on a weekly basis.

Christian Lundgaard made his NTT INDYCAR Series debut here last August and qualified on the 2nd Row. Callum Ilott had a career best qualifying and race pace here in May. Romain Grosjean was runner-up in both races last year.

That bodes well for the Ed Carpenter Racing group who teeters on the brink of breakouts and has always ran well on this 2.439-mile layout.

The IMS Road Course is home to many of Rinus VeeKay’s career milestones at that. In just the second race of his rookie season in 2020, VeeKay recorded his first Top 5 finish on the road course. When the NTT INDYCAR SERIES returned in October of that year, VeeKay earned his first pole position, led the first laps of his career and earned his first podium finish. In May 2021, he joined the ranks of race winners when he scored his first victory. 

“Going back to the Racing Capital of the World is always awesome,” VeeKay said. “The Indy road course a place where I have had a lot of success. I had my first pole position, first-ever podium and eventually first-ever NTT INDYCAR SERIES win! I can’t wait to go for another podium or win at IMS!”

VeeKay has filled his third season with many accomplishments, including two recent 4th place finishes at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course and Race 1 of last weekend’s doubleheader at Iowa Speedway. In early May, he won his second career pole position and earned his first podium of 2022 with a third place at Barber Motorsports Park. A few weeks later, he qualified on the front row of the Indianapolis 500 for the second year in a row and started third. With his qualifying performance, he was the fastest Chevrolet-powered driver in the 33-car field for the third consecutive year. 

Conor Daly has also ran strong here too. The Indianapolis Motor Speedway is truly Conor Daly’s home track as he was born and raised in nearby Noblesville, Ind. When the NTT INDYCAR SERIES raced on the IMS road course mid-May, Daly had his most successful weekend with ECR to date. For the second year in a row, he advanced to the Firestone Fast 6 of the GMR Grand Prix. He started 4th, and after battling both wet and dry track conditions, he earned his first Top 5 finish of the season with a 5th place.

“I am definitely looking forward to the Gallagher Grand Prix,” he said. “We’ve been successful on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course in the past, finishing in the Top 5 there earlier this year was nice! We’d like to do that again and be on the podium this time. We know we have a strong car and we are excited to race back home again in Indiana!”

Daly’s first season as full-time driver of ECR’s No. 20 BitNile Chevrolet featured a stretch of solid results, beginning with the GMR Grand Prix. Two weeks after the road course race, Daly paced the Indianapolis 500 field for several laps before finishing a career-best 6th. Additional strong results followed the next three rounds at Detroit, Road America and Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course. Last week at Iowa, he qualified third for both races of the doubleheader event. 

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