Ed Carpenter Racing’s Rinus VeeKay has left Cancun, Mexico, where he’s been in quarantine, and is due to land in the United States where the Dutchman expects to participate in his first NTT IndyCar Series race on Saturday.
The 2019 Indy Lights runner-up will drive the No. 21 Chevy alongside team owner Ed Carpenter in the No. 20 Chevy on the 1.5-mile Texas Motor Speedway oval.
“I am incredibly relieved to be on my way to the U.S. at last,” the 19-year-old said in a release sent to the Dutch motor racing press. “In the past weeks, it was uncertain for a long time whether I would be able to travel to the U.S. in the first place. Therefore, I didn’t know whether I could take part in the opening race. Thankfully, I am now on my way.”
VeeKay, like Dale Coyne Racing’s Alex Palou, returned home to Europe after the St. Petersburg season-opener on March 16 was postponed. With strict border crossing restrictions in place for international drivers having been in effect since St. Petersburg, permission to enter the country was finally granted last week by the Department of Homeland Security, which expedited the travel for the Dutchman and the Spaniard.
“From the very moment it became clear that the IndyCar season would be getting underway on June 6th after all, I wanted to return straight away,” VeeKay said. “However, because of all the travel restrictions, that was impossible. After that, many people have spent weeks of working for me, including my father, my manager, my team, but also American lawyers, a senator and even people at the White House.
“Eventually, I flew to Mexico two weeks ago just to be sure, to go into quarantine there. My personal trainer Raun Grobben came with me, so I was able to train hard every day; but it was a bizarre situation because I didn’t know whether I would be able to enter the U.S. to race or not. Therefore, I am super happy to be able to go there now. I am fit and well-rested, and now will prepare for my first-ever IndyCar race together with the team.”
With VeeKay set to arrive in the U.S., all of IndyCar’s full-time drivers should be present for Saturday night’s Genesys 300 that airs live on NBC at 8:00 p.m. EDT.