Tagliani takes us on a tour of Long Beach circuit

Leave a comment

IZOD IndyCar Series driver Alex Tagliani has a simple theory on why Turn 1 of the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach course seems to be every bit a spot for trouble as it is a spot for overtaking.

“I’m wondering if it’s not that big Firestone sign that becomes bigger and bigger, and all of a sudden you see all of these beautiful California girls on the bridge,” the Canadian racer muses while on a track walk of the 1.97-mile circuit. “You’re looking up and you get distracted, and for a fraction of a second — ‘Oh, Turn One is coming!’ And everybody’s in the fence.”

As you can probably figure, there’s a bit of humor involved in this particular track walk with the driver of the No. 98 Barracuda Racing Honda, who is fashioned as “The Amazing Alex Tagliani” (‘Feared by men, desired by women, loved by all,’ according to the intro) in an ongoing series of at-track vignettes.

But as his video from Barber Motorsports Park attests, even Tag seems to have his own fears — namely, giant bugs and unicycle-riding men that bear a striking resemblance to IndyCar’s old championship trophy.

You can catch Tagliani and the rest of IndyCar’s finest in the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach — today at 4 p.m. ET on NBC Sports Network and NBC Sports Live Extra for online and mobile devices.

Zach Veach splits with Andretti Autosport for rest of IndyCar season

Gregory Shamus/Getty Images
1 Comment

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.