2024 IndyCar form guide: Ed Carpenter Racing


No. 20 Chevy: Ed Carpenter (ovals, 30th in 2023 championship)/Christian Rasmussen (road and street courses, will do the Indy 500 in a third car, rookie)

No. 21 Chevy: Rinus VeeKay (14th in 2023 championship)

Progress continues

Ed Carpenter’s team hit the reboot button in June of 2023 when it split with Conor Daly, hired Ryan Hunter-Reay to help highlight its shortcomings, and bring the program closer to joining the top 10 upon its return in 2024.

The team also opted to drop its third car, an oval entry for Carpenter, and revert to its former practice of pairing the oval-loving team owner with a promising young talent to handle the road and street courses. That might be the best decision of the two. It was a wise move after Carpenter spent the last two seasons stuck in a miserably uncompetitive situation in the No. 33 Chevy; he’s back in the No. 20 this year and should regain his form.


Amid a season of fluctuating circumstances, Rinus VeeKay managed to split Andretti’s Romain Grosjean and RLL’s Graham Rahal in the drivers’ standings, which was remarkable. The 23-year-old Dutchman has come incredibly far in his career over the four years he’s been with ECR, and he’s poised for a breakout season if the team gives him a car that can fight among the Ganassis, Penskes, Andrettis, McLarens, and RLLs. In one of those teams, he’d be a lock to win at least once this year.

VeeKay has what it takes to make ECR a regular contender for strong results, but the clock is ticking for his team to deliver. More on that in a moment.

The new vet

VeeKay went to school with Hunter-Reay last year as the IndyCar champion turned his attention to ECR’s developing star and looked for areas where behavioral and leadership gains were needed. VeeKay was receptive and began modifying some of his approaches — adding more structure — thanks to Hunter-Reay’s example, and it’s showing.

VeeKay will take on more leadership responsibility this season. Joe Skibinski/IMS Photo

As ECR’s new veteran, VeeKay is embracing the role and making that mental shift to be the leader his team needs. Add in the fact that he and rookie teammate Rasmussen are the same age, and you also have a new dynamic where the pair have similar interests and life experiences to share. VeeKay is smiling most of the time when he’s at the track, and it should only increase as he ascends to a new level of stature and responsibility with ECR while becoming a friendly mentor for the first time with an incoming teammate.

Razz alert

Signing Christian Rasmussen, the reigning Indy NXT champion, was an inspired choice. The 23-year-old from Denmark reminds me of VeeKay when he graduated to IndyCar; rocket-fast and wise beyond his years.

‘Razz’ is the same guy but brings more experience and accomplishments to the team after winning the USF2000, USF Pro 2000, and NXT championships along with incorporating regular sports car endurance outings into his education a few years ago in LMP2. He’s already won once this year, taking the LMP2 class victory at IMSA’s Rolex 24 At Daytona, and has put in more miles than half the IndyCar field during their offseason.

With Linus Lundvist at Chip Ganassi Racing and Tom Blomqvist at Meyer Shank Racing, Rasmussen has some strong opposition for Rookie of the Year honors, and if all three were in the same team, we’d be treated to an epic battle, but Lundqvist should scoop that prize.

Rasmussen’s a rookie, but he’s done a ton of IndyCar testing miles over the winter, and brings a stellar pedigree in the junior series. Travis Hinkle/IMS Photo

Predicting how Rasmussen will fare against VeeKay is hard, and yet, I expect him to make a real impression — especially when we get into the back half of the season. He wasn’t the flashiest of NXT champions, and that’s fine. With ECR’s abundant need to do better, Rasmussen can help, but he shouldn’t draw a lot of scrutiny if he isn’t an immediate part of the solution.

Same but better

ECR’s race engineering group has been in place for five or six years, with Peter Craik assigned to the No. 20 and Matt Barnes — the team’s chief engineer — on the No. 21, and that will continue and benefit from the recent addition of Eric Cowdin from Ganassi.

Cowdin has accepted the role of director of development and instantly becomes the senior engineering presence in the team, thanks to his decades of experience and wins across many eras, including the Indy 500 with Tony Kanaan.

The only downside is he just started with the team, so his influences won’t be felt right away. He’ll look at the big-picture items, Barnes will handle the day-to-day engineering duties, and they should make the team faster.

ECR would also love to have some of Cowdin’s magic filter into its setups and overall engineering directions, and that’s entirely possible once he gets settled in. Everything ECR has done with drivers and engineers and downsizing its entry size will pay off. It’s just a matter of when and how much.

A big one for ECR with RVK

VeeKay should be one of the top free agents at the end of the season, and that will play a big role in ECR’s future. The Dutchman is still young and has only gotten better and faster with each season.

He’s also been stuck on the outskirts of the top 10 with a team that hasn’t been able free itself from its midfield residence. On the heels of championship finishes of 14th, 12th, 12th, and 14th, VeeKay’s either going to have better results presented to him by the team or leave at the end of the year for one that will. The time for patience is over.

Truth be told, there were two IndyCar teams who would have signed him to be in their cars this year, but ECR wouldn’t grant a release. So with the team determined to hold onto VeeKay for the last year of his contract, it has one more opportunity to make him a contender. There’s no realistic chance of that happening all at once, but if the team can put faster cars under VeeKay on a more consistent basis, he should be able to crack the top 10 in the final standings.

He loves the team, and if ECR can move up in the championship pecking order, that might be good enough to get him to stay and help continue the forward migration under a new contract.

Story originally appeared on Racer