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Friday, June 21, 2024

RACE PREVIEW – 108th Running of the Indianapolis 500

STARTING POSITIONS 
7th: RINUS VEEKAY No. 21 askROI.com Chevrolet
17th: ED CARPENTER No. 20 GuyCare Chevrolet
24th: CHRISTIAN RASMUSSEN No. 33 Chevrolet

RACE BROADCAST: Sunday, May 26 – 11 a.m. ET (NBC)
TRACK: Indianapolis Motor Speedway Oval
LOCATION: Speedway, Indiana, USA
TRACK LAYOUT: 2.5-mile oval

ED CARPENTER RACING

• The next time Ed Carpenter Racing’s three Chevrolet-powered NTT INDYCAR SERIES cars take to the famed Indianapolis Motor Speedway oval, it will be for the 108th Running of the Indianapolis 500. Following one of the greatest comeback stories in recent history, Rinus VeeKay will start 7th. Team owner Ed Carpenter will be competing in his 21st Indianapolis 500 on Sunday, which he will start from the middle of Row 6 in 17th. Rookie Christian Rasmussen will make his Indianapolis 500 debut from 24th, on the outside of Row 8. 

• ECR’s first season of NTT INDYCAR SERIES competition was 2012, making the 2024 Indianapolis 500 the team’s 13th. For 12 of those 13 years, ECR has had at least one car qualify in the first three rows. VeeKay has advanced to the second day of qualifications in each of his five attempts, bringing his average Indianapolis 500 starting position to an astonishing 3.8.

• The team is led by Carpenter, the only individual in the NTT INDYCAR SERIES who handles both the responsibility of driving the racecar and owning his own team. Day-to-day operations at ECR are under the direction of team president Tim Broyles. Brent “Woody” Harvey works side-by-side with Broyles as team manager. Veteran race engineer Eric Cowdin joined ECR prior to the 2024 season as Director of Development while Matt Barnes leads as Chief Engineer. Jeff Grahn is Chief Mechanic. 

• Cowdin will work with Carpenter for the Indianapolis 500 and engineer for the No. 20 while Jimmie Johnson is crew chief. Broyles remains strategist on the No. 20, a position he has held since ECR’s first race in 2012. On the No. 21, Barnes serves as VeeKay’s lead engineer while Harvey continues as strategist. Crew chief is assigned to Austin Shepherd, this year’s recipient of the Clint Brawner Mechanical Excellence Award. Pete Craik, the full-season engineer on the No. 20, has stayed with Rasmussen and is lead engineer for the No. 33. John Gentilozzi has returned to the team’s Indy 500 program to serve as Rasmussen’s strategist while Dave Arnold is crew chief. 

• Nearly a dozen of the team’s 50 full-time employees are original hires, including Broyles, Harvey, Barnes and Johnson.

ED CARPENTER, NO. 20 GUYCARE CHEVROLET

ED CARPENTER, No. 20 GuyCare Chevrolet, Starting 17th: “Getting excited for another chance to go out and win this race! It has been a bit of a different month with the way the weather and everything else has played out. All things considered, I feel really good. I have been happy and comfortable in the car. That’s the most important thing, whether you’re starting 1st or 17th – where I am starting from – is just being happy with what you’ve got and being comfortable. If I can stay comfortable all day and make steady progress, I am confident we will be a factor in the end.”

OF NOTE: 

In less than two days’ time, Ed Carpenter will make his 21st Indianapolis 500 start. The 43-year-old will roll off from the 17th position in the middle of Row 6. Last Saturday, his first four lap average of 232.017 mph slotted him safely into the field. Later in the afternoon, Carpenter returned to the 2.5-mile oval for another attempt but his original speed held. 

• The Indianapolis native solidified his status as a hometown favorite by winning the Indy 500 pole position in 2013 and 2014; in 2018, he became just the 10th driver to collect three or more Indy 500 poles in the century-plus history of the race. Some of his strongest finishes have come in recent years, including a runner-up finish after leading the most laps in 2018 and a 5th place in 2021.  

• Carpenter is the only individual in the 33-car field who handles both the responsibility of driving the racecar while owning and operating his own team. Even now as he competes exclusively on ovals, he has 24 top-ten finishes since starting his own team and led at least one race for 14 of 15 consecutive seasons. Last year, he competed in his 200th NTT INDYCAR SERIES race.

• The No. 20 Chevrolet will compete in the colors of GuyCare for the entirety of the 2024 NTT INDYCAR SERIES season. GuyCare clinics provide discreet and confidential care, ensuring men’s health and well-being through proven therapeutic interventions and wellness programs. After successfully opening their first clinic in Salt Lake City, GuyCare is now expanding its service offerings nationwide through the launch of a Telemedicine program. Additional clinics will open in select NTT INDYCAR SERIES race markets throughout the 2024 season. 

RINUS VEEKAY, NO. 21 ASKROI.COM CHEVROLET

RINUS VEEKAY, No. 21 askROI.com Chevrolet, Starting 7th: “I am so excited for the Indy 500! I always am. After the great team effort on qualifying weekend, I’m really excited to start towards the front of the pack but also have a great racecar. I have had so many different learning experiences, I am ready to get out there and race for the win. We don’t come here for anything less. Second means nothing at this place. We are going for the win and give it all we have.”

OF NOTE: 

Rinus VeeKay and the No. 21 askROI.com crew wrote a comeback story for the ages in last weekend’s Indianapolis 500 qualifications. VeeKay was the 4th car in the qualifying line on Saturday, a coveted early draw position, but crashed in Turn 3 of his opening lap. The No. 21 crew, with assistance from members of the Nos. 20 and 33, quickly went to work to repair the car. Under four hours later, VeeKay was able to make his first qualifying attempt of the day and sat 29th. The decision was made to withdraw VeeKay’s time and move him to Lane 1 of qualifying, giving him priority access to the 2.5-mile oval with only five minutes remaining. He put up a massive opening lap of 233.448 mph followed by three fast laps to secure the 11th position and lock the No. 21 into the Fast 12. On Sunday, another valiant four-lap run left him one spot away from the Fast 6 shootout and the 7th starting position.

•  The 2024 Indianapolis 500 will be VeeKay’s fifth and each of his four previous starts have included a historical milestone. By starting 4th in his first “500” in 2020, he recorded the best qualifying result by a teenager in Indy 500 history. In 2021, he became the youngest front row qualifier ever when he started 3rd and finished a career-best 8th. VeeKay was the fastest on Day 1 of qualifications in 2022 and set what was then the 4th-fastest 4-lap average speed. Records continued to be broken in 2023 and VeeKay’s four-lap average in the Firestone Fast 6 was the 3rd-fastest 4-lap average speed in history. He was also the fastest Chevrolet-powered driver in the field for the 4th consecutive year.

•  Born in Hoofddorp, Netherlands, Rinus van Kalmthout began karting in 2009 at the age of 8. With sights set firmly on the NTT INDYCAR SERIES, he transitioned to the Road to Indy in 2017 and launched his U.S. career driving as Rinus VeeKay. Now in his fifth season in the NTT INDYCAR SERIES, VeeKay has stepped into a veteran role as ECR’s senior full-time driver. He has spent his entire career behind the wheel of the No. 21 Chevrolet and is the longest tenured full-time driver in the team’s history.

•  The No. 21 Chevrolet will feature askROI.com at select events, including the 108th Running of the Indianapolis 500. askROI aims to redefine the boundaries of generative AI by providing tailored business solutions beyond the conventional scope, adapting to individuals’ or businesses’ specific data. askROI and ECR are actively exploring ways that the team can use AI to increase competitiveness.

CHRISTIAN RASMUSSEN, NO. 33 CHEVROLET

CHRISTIAN RASMUSSEN, No. 33 Ed Carpenter Racing Chevrolet, Starting 24th: “I’m excited! It’s been a good month, I have learned a lot about driving around here and qualifying around here. That ultimately all comes down to the race, which is the last thing we have ahead of us. I’m just super excited to get it started. We have a good racecar, we weren’t able to qualify as well as we had the pace to. Hopefully, we’re a bit faster than the people around us and are able to moe forward. It should be a good day!”

OF NOTE: 

•  Christian Rasmussen is a member of the 2024 Indianapolis 500 rookie class and will make his first start in the 500-mile classic this Sunday. Rasmussen has completed over 300 laps around the Indianapolis Motor Speedway oval this month, including two qualifications attempts. His first four-lap average of 231.682 mph locked him into the 33-car field. Anticipating more speed later int he afternoon, he returned to the track for another attempt but was unable to complete the run due to an issue. Rasmussen’s original four-lap average held and he will start from the outside of Row 8, in the 24th position. 

•  Rasmussen is ECR’s newest driver, joining the team after winning the 2023 INDY NXT championship. He competes in the road and street course events in the No. 20 GuyCare Chevrolet and has transitioned to the team’s third entry, the No. 33, for the Indianapolis 500. His ascension to North America’s premier open-wheel series comes after claiming three championships in the past four years. 

•  Rasmussen was only nine years old when he claimed his first karting championship in Denmark. He arrived in the United States in 2018 and began his road to INDYCAR the following year. He is only the second driver in history earn a championship in each open-wheel junior category that currently feeds the NTT INDYCAR SERIES – USF2000 (2020), USF Pro 2000 (2021) and INDY NXT (2023). 

•  The No. 33 will carry the iconic Riley wagon this weekend as ECR races for Riley Children’s Foundation. Riley Children’s Foundation is Indiana’s preeminent nonprofit dedicated to funding children’s healthcare and the founding organization that opened Riley Hospital for Children in 1924. ECR, a long-time supporter of Riley Children’s Foundation, has gifted prominent branding locations to the organization in recognition of their incredible work throughout the Indianapolis community and beyond. With the Riley wagon on Rasmussen’s No. 33, ECR hopes to inspire race fans worldwide to contribute to Riley Children’s Foundation initiatives and reward kids with the chance to thrive.

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