Mike Conway could star in Long Beach cameo for RLL

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While the rest of the IZOD IndyCar Series was off last weekend, Mike Conway was busy on FIA World Endurance Championship duty in Silverstone.

The Englishman made his WEC debut in an LMP2 class Oreca 03 Nissan for the G-Drive Racing team. He finished seventh in class.

Conway hasn’t started an IndyCar race since Baltimore of last year, where he actually qualified second for A.J. Foyt Racing but lost 10 spots for an unapproved engine change.

It’s been a rocky road in IndyCar since. Conway quit Foyt’s team after a pre-race test at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, Calif., citing his discomfort racing on ovals, and was never realistically in the frame for a full-time ride this year.

But, with Rahal Letterman Lanigan ramping up to a second full-time program and third car for selected races, Conway was the pick for Long Beach. He made a smooth pass on Ryan Briscoe two years ago to score a surprise, but popular, first series victory for Andretti Autosport.

Conway had an impressive day-plus of testing for RLL in the series’ official preseason test at Barber. He’s quick on the street courses and a dark horse Firestone Fast Six contender, if not podium contender, this weekend in the No. 17 blu e-Cigs entry for RLL.

“I got a little taste of working with Graham and James at the one-day Barber test we had,” Conway said. “It seemed pretty good with what we were all feeling with the car. We all had similar comments so I think that is good. It will be good to know that if I make a change (to the car) and like it or if Graham makes a change and he likes it then we will be able to transfer that to the other cars and it will make us all quicker.”

Zach Veach splits with Andretti Autosport for rest of IndyCar season

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Zach Veach will be leaving his Andretti Autosport ride with three races remaining in the season, choosing to explore options after the decision was made he wouldn’t return for 2021.

In a Wednesday release, Andretti Autosport said a replacement driver for the No. 26 Dallara-Honda would be named in the coming days. The NTT IndyCar Series will race Oct. 2-3 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course and then conclude the season Oct. 25 on the streets of St. Petersburg, Florida.

Veach was ranked 11th in the points standings through 11 races of his third season with Andretti. Since a fourth in the June 6 season opener at Texas Motor Speedway, he hadn’t finished higher than 14th.

“The decision was made that I will not be returning in 2021 with Andretti Autosport in the No. 26 Gainbridge car,” Veach said in the Andretti release. “This, along with knowing that limited testing exists for teams due to COVID, have led me to the decision to step out of the car for the remainder of the 2020 IndyCar season. I am doing this to allow the team to have time with other drivers as they prepare for 2021, and so that I can also explore my own 2021 options.

“This is the hardest decision I have ever made, but to me, racing is about family, and it is my belief that you take care of your family. Andretti Autosport is my family and I feel this is what is best to help us all reach the next step. I will forever be grateful to Michael and the team for all of their support over the years. I would not be where I am today if it wasn’t for a relationship that started many years ago with Road to Indy. I will also be forever grateful to Dan Towriss for his friendship and for the opportunity he and Gainbridge have given me.

“My love for this sport and the people involved is unmeasurable, and I look forward to continuing to be amongst the racing world and fans in 2021.”

Said team owner Michael Andretti: “We first welcomed Zach to the Andretti team back in his USF2000 days and have enjoyed watching him grow and evolve as a racer, and a person. His decision to allow us to use the last few races to explore our 2021 options shows the measure of his character.

“Zach has always placed team and family first, and we’re very happy to have had him as part of ours for so many years. We wish him the best in whatever 2021 may bring and will always consider him a friend.”

Andretti fields five full-time cars for Veach, Alexander Rossi, Ryan Hunter-Reay, Marco Andretti and Colton Herta.

It also has fielded James Hinchcliffe in three races this season.