USA’s Conor Daly scores Valencia victory in GP3

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After taking part in his first Indianapolis 500 last month, American young gun Conor Daly has netted his first victory this season in the GP3 series in Race 1 at Valencia, Spain.

“We got the job done! P1 in Valencia race 1. And yes I DID indeed do big smokey donuts after the checkered! I was a happy American,” tweeted Daly, who added the hashtag #yeehaw.

Daly claimed pole for Race 1 and led wire-to-wire, with ART Grand Prix teammate Facu Regalia coming home behind him in second (1.2 seconds back) to make a 1-2 finish for the outfit. However, he may be in trouble with race stewards, as Autosport passes along word that his post-race celebration of “driving the wrong direction after the checkered flag” was under review.

“It was hard to keep [Regalia] behind at the beginning but when we got to the halfway point, I was able to establish a bit of a gap for the rest of the race,” Daly said afterwards in a post-race press conference. “Our tires held up really well so I was happy with that. I thought at the start, I may have been pushing too hard, but I had to do that to keep in front of [Regalia].

“It was a tough game, but at the end, the tires were still there and very happy to have a strong pace all the way through.”

Daly followed up his win in Race 1 with an eighth-place effort in Race 2, which puts him second in the GP3 championship at four points off of leader Tio Ellinas (55-51). Ellinas finished sixth and fourth in the two races at Circuit Ricardo Tormo.

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.