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RACE PREVIEW: Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg

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FRIDAY, MARCH 8 – SUNDAY, MARCH 10, 2024

TRACKStreets of St. Petersburg
LOCATIONSt. Petersburg, Florida, USA
TRACK LAYOUT1.8-mile, 14-turn street circuit
RACE LENGTH100 laps/180 miles

PRACTICEFriday – 2:45-4 p.m. ET (Peacock Premium)
Saturday – 9:35-10:35 a.m. ET (Peacock Premium)
Sunday – 9:10-9:40 a.m. ET (Peacock Premium)
QUALIFYINGSaturday – 2-3:30 p.m. ET (Peacock Premium)
RACE: Sunday – 12:30 p.m. ET (NBC, 12 p.m. ET)

ED CARPENTER RACING

• The 2024 Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg will mark the beginning of Ed Carpenter Racing’s 13th season of NTT INDYCAR SERIES competition. Rinus VeeKay is the longest-tenured full-time driver in ECR’s history and will compete behind the wheel of the No. 21 for a fifth consecutive year. Danish rookie Christian Rasmussen will drive the No. 20 GuyCare Chevrolet in the 11 road and street course events, including St. Pete, on the heels of his 2023 INDY NXT championship (formerly Indy Lights). 

• ECR 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. As one of the most experienced drivers in the field, 2024 will be Carpenter’s 22nd season of Indy car competition. He solidified his status as a hometown favorite when he scored back-to-back pole positions for the Indianapolis 500 in 2013 and 2014, then again in 2018. Carpenter will race the No. 20 in the seven oval events as the team transitions back to a model it utilized for many years, splitting the car between the talents of two drivers.

• Day-to-day operations at ECR remain under the direction of team president Tim Broyles. Brent “Woody” Harvey works side-by-side with Broyles as team manager. Indianapolis 500-winning race engineer Eric Cowdin recently joined ECR as its new Director of Development while Matt Barnes leads as Chief Engineer. Jeff Grahn has been promoted to Chief Mechanic.

Pete Craik continues as lead engineer for the No. 20 while longtime team member Jimmie Johnson has moved up to crew chief. On the No. 21, Barnes serves as VeeKay’s lead engineer. Crew chief has been assigned to Austin Shepherd, who held the position on Carpenter’s No. 33 last year, the team’s previous ovals-only entry. Strategists will again be Harvey for VeeKay and Broyles for the No. 20 car, a position he has held since ECR’s first race in 2012.

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

CHRISTIAN RASMUSSEN, NO. 20 GUYCARE CHEVROLET

CHRISTIAN RASMUSSEN, No. 20 GuyCare Chevrolet: “I am very excited to get back to racing! The anticipation has been extra big this year with the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg being my debut in the NTT INDYCAR SERIES! This has been my dream for many years now and I can’t wait to get started with Ed Carpenter Racing and Team Chevy!”

OF NOTE: 

Christian Rasmussen will make his NTT INDYCAR SEASON debut in Sunday’s Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg. The 23-year-old Dane is Ed Carpenter Racing’s newest driver and will compete in all road and street course events in the No. 20 GuyCare Chevrolet. For the 108th Running of the Indianapolis 500, Rasmussen will transition to ECR’s third entry. His ascension to North America’s premier open-wheel series comes on the heels of his recent 2023 INDY NXT title, his third championship 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. 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. Clinics will open in select NTT INDYCAR SERIES race markets throughout the 2024 season. 

• Though Friday will be the first time Rasmussen takes to the track in an NTT INDYCAR SERIES car, he has ample experience in the streets of St. Petersburg. He has competed in at least one race on the downtown circuit for the past five years, earning a Top 5 finish in each category. In 2021, he stood atop the podium as he won in USF Pro 2000.

RINUS VEEKAY, NO. 21 ASKROI.COM CHEVROLET


RINUS VEEKAY, No. 21 askROI.COM Chevrolet: St. Pete is right around the corner! I am really excited to get the season going, it’s been a pretty quiet offseason for us with not many days of testing. We are ready to show the progress that we have made as a team and get started on the right foot! Of course, the car looks great in its new color thanks to askROI! Green has been a successful color for me, now to make that translate to the NTT INDYCAR SERIES!”

OF NOTE: 

Rinus VeeKay will begin his fifth season behind the wheel of the No. 21 Chevrolet this weekend in the streets of St. Petersburg. He has spent his entire NTT INDYCAR SERIES career with the Ed Carpenter Racing and remains the team’s longest-tenured full-time driver. 

• Raised in Hoofddorp, Netherlands, Rinus van Kalmthout began karting in 2009 at the age of 8. With sights set firmly on the pinnacle of North American open wheel racing, he transitioned to the Road to Indy in 2017 and launched his U.S. career driving as Rinus VeeKay. He joined ECR for the 2020 NTT INDYCAR SERIES season, following a rapid ascent through the RTI which included 16 wins and 36 podiums in 48 races. After being named 2020 Rookie of the Year, VeeKay became an NTT INDYCAR SERIES race winner in May of 2021 with a victory at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

• The No. 21 Chevrolet will feature askROI.com at select events, including the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg and 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.

•  A dedicated athlete, VeeKay devotes much of his off-track time to training. He recently became a newlywed, marrying his longtime girlfriend Carmen during the offseason. The couple resides in Fort Lauderdale, Florida with their new dog, Rosa.

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