If it wasn’t already abundantly clear, Ed Carpenter would like to keep Rinus VeeKay for as long as the pole- and race-winning Dutchman wants to stay in the No. 21 Ed Carpenter Racing Chevy.
With a contract that expires at the end of the season and a few NTT IndyCar Series rivals showing interest in signing the 21-year-old, Carpenter says he’s approaching the matter with urgency.
“This is all happening way earlier than usual and I would prefer that we at least waited until we were done with Indy, but you can’t control those things,” Carpenter told RACER. “I don’t think it’s anything Rinus is doing to make it happen now; it’s just the way it has worked out. I don’t really have much of an update on the situation, but our intent is obvious in wanting to keep Rinus.”
As some IndyCar teams look to fill an additional seat that’s coming in 2023 or find a solution to replace a veteran who might be stepping away from full-time competition, VeeKay has risen to the top of the free agent market.
“As far as what that timeline is, I would like to get something done as soon as possible, obviously, but I don’t know how it’ll play out,” Carpenter said. “I’m sure we’ll know one way or the other before the year is over… I don’t expect that we’ll have it done in May or June with definitiveness.”
With ECR’s expansion to two full-time cars for VeeKay and Conor Daly this year and Carpenter’s move to a third Chevy-powered entry at all the ovals, he says he’s open to turning his car into another full-time effort if the right road course driver with a budget can be found. That topic, however, will take a backseat in the coming months.
“You know, it’s possible, and it’s still probably too early to know for sure if we’ll do that,” Carpenter said. “There’s a lot of factors that go into that from personnel to equipment and availability and the like. I would say, at this point, we will likely be more similar than different to what we’re doing now, but my priority is on the side of re-signing Rinus more so than figuring out how to make our third car full time or not.”