VeeKay insists he’s “loyal” to ECR, but exploring options for 2025 and beyond

VeeKay insists he’s “loyal” to ECR, but exploring options for 2025 and beyond

Count Rinus VeeKay among the shortlist of talented drivers in the IndyCar Series without definite plans for 2025.

The 23-year-old Dutchman is in the final year of his contract with Ed Carpenter Racing (ECR), the only team he has called home since jumping into North America’s premier open-wheel championship in 2020.

The early part of their relationship together appeared to show promise, with VeeKay scoring the sole career win on the Indianapolis Road Course in 2021, which was only his 19th start. Strong results, however, have been a struggle as a regression has been in play ever since.

Last year only featured two top-10s, including a best finish of sixth at Portland. While the flashes of improved pace – and VeeKay has taken on more of a leadership role – have been on display this year, it has still been tough sledding as the best result thus far was an eighth in the season-opening round on the Streets of St. Petersburg.  

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With VeeKay in the midst of a contract year, and this past week featuring one domino falling as Arrow McLaren announced a mutual parting of ways with Alexander Rossi and replacing him with current Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing driver Christian Lundgaard for 2025, the question was posed in a Friday media availability to Veekay on where things stand with him beyond this season.

“I’m going to be a free agent at the end of the year,” VeeKay said.  “I’m coming to the end of my contract.

“It’s always a bit interesting, I feel like I am off sequence with most of the field this year with driver contracts and when things open up.

“To me, nothing changes. I need to show pace and results. We haven’t really had the luck this year. I’m in the same situation I’ve been in for the last five seasons.  

“I want to show the best of myself. I always like to focus on driving. I’ve been in a few contract years, free agent years, I always feel like it makes me sharper because I really need to show myself.

“I really need to show what I’m capable of. It gives me another reason to focus more and really expect the most out of myself and the team.”

Rinus VeeKay, Ed Carpenter Racing Chevrolet

Rinus VeeKay, Ed Carpenter Racing Chevrolet

Photo by: Geoffrey M. Miller / Motorsport Images

Considering how long he has been with ECR, would he favor a change of scenery with a new opportunity versus returning and continuing to try and elevate the team from its current depths?

“I need to look it up,” VeeKay said. “I’m a loyal driver to the team.

“I think we’ve helped each other in both ways in both directions. Of course, I’m exploring what I can do within the team and what my options are for next year also.

“I need to look at the options on the outside to see if my career can progress at a quicker rate somehow; of course that’s what every driver would do. It feels late into the season with some dominos falling right now, but still it’s pretty early.

“All I can do right now is to show the best I can do with the car and that’ll help me (and) it’ll help the team. And later on I’ll see what the options are later this season.”

Rinus VeeKay, Ed Carpenter Racing Chevrolet

Rinus VeeKay, Ed Carpenter Racing Chevrolet

Photo by: Brett Farmer / Motorsport Images

VeeKay also acknowledged the gains made by the team this year, but noted how the results haven’t provided anything deserving to match the speed.

“I mean, we’ve had a lot better pace than last year, I feel like, with race pace,” VeeKay said. “We’ve just been so unlucky.

“We’ve had a lot of mechanicals. Last (race) weekend, we had a gearbox fail and the weekend before we had a left-front suspension fail at Road America. So, we’ve had something going on each time, which most of the time has been out of the team’s hands; racing cars break sometimes. So that’s been unlucky.

“I feel like this is really a halfway part of the season, usually you see drivers get worse throughout the season from this race on, especially with the hybrid… I think we have the pace and the knowledge right now to be around the top 10 more often and move up in the championship.”

While VeeKay currently sits 17th in the championship standings with two top-10s, the No. 21 entry he drives is 18th (with the No. 6 Arrow McLaren Chevrolet’s driver rotation results slotting it higher), which he noted is significantly lower than at any other point during his tenure with ECR.

“I think the car, the entry, is now 18th in the championship; that’s probably the worst we’ve ever been,” said VeeKay, who has a best championship finish of 12th (twice – 2021, 2022).

“Speed-wise we’re good, but results-wise, we really need to maximize these races.”

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