Ed Carpenter learned to drive on tractors, but by the time he was eight years old he had moved to racecars. Carpenter began his career in quarter-midget and three-quarter midget competition at the club, regional and national levels. His midget debut came in 1999 at the 16th Street Speedway as part of the USAC Regional Series.
Through 2001, Carpenter found success while moving up through the USAC ranks, competing in the National Midget Car Series, Silver Crown and Sprint Car Series. In 2002, Carpenter joined the Menards Infiniti Pro Series (now the Firestone Indy Lights) and finished third in the point standings with 454 of a possible 455 laps completed.
Three weeks after he graduated from Butler University in May of 2003, Carpenter became a winner at Indianapolis Motor Speedway after claiming the inaugural Freedom 100. That win, coupled with six top-five finishes in seven races, gave Carpenter another third place finish in the Indy Lights championship.
2003 was also the beginning of Carpenter’s Verizon IndyCar Series career. His debut came at Chicagoland Speedway where he made history when he was the first driver to compete in an Indy Lights event and an IndyCar event in the same weekend. Carpenter’s rookie IndyCar season followed in 2004 with Red Bull Cheever Racing, finishing second in the Bombardier Rookie of the Year standings.
From 2005 to 2009, Carpenter drove full seasons for Vision Racing, collecting 26 top-10 finishes along the way. In 2010, he competed in four events for Panther Racing/Vision Racing. He earned his first career pole position at Kentucky Speedway, finishing second in the race for the second year in a row. Kentucky continued to be kind to Carpenter as he claimed his first IndyCar Series win the following year at the track, one of ten events he competed in as part of Sarah Fisher Racing.
A new team came to the IndyCar Series grid in 2012, Ed Carpenter Racing. Carpenter’s own team would feature himself as the driver and an association with Fuzzy’s Award Winning Vodka. He claimed his second season finale victory in a row with a last-lap pass at Auto Club Speedway. Throughout the season he finished 14 of 15 races, tied for the best finishing record in the IndyCar Series.
Carpenter and his team were able to claim the coveted pole position for the 2013 Indianapolis 500 with an average speed of 228.762 mph. He led 37 laps of that event, the most of any driver. In October, he nearly won his third consecutive season finale, finishing second at Auto Club Speedway. Carpenter placed fifth in the final IndyCar Series oval point standings.
For the 2014 season, Carpenter announced he would drive in the six oval events and hired Mike Conway to drive the Fuzzy’s Vodka car in the road and street course events. Carpenter finished in the top five of half of the races he competed in, including a win at Texas Motor Speedway. That victory was one of three Ed Carpenter Racing would record in 2014. Carpenter was the fastest qualifier for the Indianapolis 500 for the second year in a row, claiming another pole position with a four-lap average of 231.067 mph.
In 2015, Carpenter claimed top-ten finishes in two of the six oval races he competed in.