Tweets of support flow in for Jourdain from IndyCar community

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It’s hard not to feel for Michel Jourdain Jr. this Monday. Jourdain was the only driver who failed to qualify for this year’s Indianapolis 500, as he battled an ill-handling car all week for Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing.

Jourdain is one of the nicest, most genuine people in the IndyCar community, and he has been a great friend for many of the veterans from his full-time years spent in CART from 1996 through 2004.

He won twice in the 2003 CART series, driving for Bobby Rahal, and finished third in the championship, ahead of such luminaries as Sebastien Bourdais, Alex Tagliani, Oriol Servia, Jimmy Vasser, and then-rookie and current IndyCar champion Ryan Hunter-Reay.

Indy has bitten some of open-wheel racing’s most successful drivers in qualifying. Just since 2008, the year of open-wheel unification, race winners in CART or the IRL who have failed to qualify include Hunter-Reay, Mike Conway and Patrick Carpentier (2011), Paul Tracy and Jaques Lazier (2010), Tagliani and Buddy Lazier (2009) and Mario Dominguez and Max Papis (2008).

It was no surprise, then, that tweets of support flowed in for Jourdain throughout Sunday and into Monday from the veterans who raced against Jourdain in his full-time years and a year ago at Indy, when he made a comeback to the 500 after a 16-year hiatus.

  • Dario Franchitti (@dariofranchitti): Please spare a though for our friend @MichelJourdain who through no fault of his own missed the race toady.. Feel bad for him and his team
  • Sebastien Bourdais (@BourdaisonTrack): @MichelJourdain I feel for you bud. You didn’t deserve that. I hope to see you around soon and back next year.
  • Scott Dixon (@scottdixon9): @dariofranchitti @MichelJourdain feel really bummed for ya mate! Your a top man!
  • Ryan Hunter-Reay (@ryanhunterreay): Feeling for @MichelJourdain, keep your head up buddy. Not much you could’ve done. You’re only as fast as the horse you’re riding.
  • Graham Rahal (@grahamrahal): Good day for us, bad day for our team. Feeling for @MichelJourdain. His car simply wasnt right. I drove it w/ my setup and it was terrible.
  • Jimmy Vasser (@jimmyvasser): Well said RT @dariofranchitti: Please spare a though for our friend @MichelJourdain who through no fault of his own missed the race toady..

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.